Dermatologist Treatment of Male Pattern Baldness (MPHL)
Pattern hair loss, known as male-pattern hair loss (MPHL) or male pattern baldness when it affects males and female-pattern hair loss(FPHL) when it affects females, is hair loss that primarily affects the top and front of the scalp. In males, the hair loss often presents as a receding hairline, while in females, it typically presents as a thinning of the hair.
- Male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, typically occurs later in life as a result of changing hormone levels.
- Hair loss can be psychologically distressing for men, and they may seek a variety of treatments.
- Other causes of hair loss include nutritional deficiencies, infections, and some psychological conditions.
- Treatments include medications, laser and light therapies, and hair transplantation.
The Causes of MPHL:
Male pattern hair loss is an inherited condition, caused by a genetically determined sensitivity to the effects of dihydrotestosterone, or DHT in some areas of the scalp. DHT is believed to shorten the growth, or anagen, phase of the hair cycle, from a usual duration of 3–6 years to just weeks or months
Most men feel like they have been dealt a bad hand when their hairline starts receding. In reality, it is very common and is most likely inherited from your family members. An easy way to guess if you will have to deal with male pattern baldness is by looking at your mother’s father. Since it is genetic and usually comes with the X chromosome this should be a fairly accurate way to predict the future of your hair (note: not 100% accurate as a bald grandson with a hairy grandfather on the mothers side will tell you).
Most white men develop some degree of baldness, according to their age and genetic makeup. Male pattern baldness affects up to half of all white men by the age of 50 years and up to 80 percent of men in the same group by the age of 70 years. Other ethnic groups, such as Chinese and Japanese, are less affected.
- Iron deficiency
- Excess vitamin A, possibly as a result of retinoid drugs
- Severe chronic illness, such as diabetes or lupus
- Use of anticoagulants, or blood thinners
- Telogen effluvium, a disturbance of the hair growth cycle
Treatments of Male Pattern Baldness:
Because so many things can cause hair loss, a dermatologist acts like a detective. A dermatologist may begin by asking questions. The dermatologist will want to know whether the hair loss happened suddenly or gradually. Knowing this helps to eliminate causes.
Just as there are many causes, there are many treatments for hair loss. Dermatologists recommend treating hair loss early. Early means before you lose a lot of hair. Hair loss is harder to treat when a person has a lot of hair loss.
One or more of the following treatments may be part of your treatment plan.
Treatment available without a prescription
- Minoxidil: This medicine is applied to the scalp. It can stop hairs from getting thinner and stimulate hair growth on the top of the scalp. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved minoxidil to treat hair loss. It is the only hair re-growth product approved for men and women. A dermatologist may combine minoxidil with another treatment.
- Laser devices: Brushes, combs, and other hand-held devices that emit laser light might stimulate hair growth. These devices might make hair look more youthful in some people. Because the FDA classifies these products as medical devices, the products do not undergo the rigorous testing that medicines undergo. The long-term effectiveness and safety for these devices are not known.
- Finasteride: The FDA approved this medicine to treat men with hair loss. It comes in pill form and helps slow hair loss in most (about 88%) men. It helps stimulate hair re-growth in many (about 66%) men. Finasteride works by stopping the body from making a male hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
- Corticosteroid: If your hair loss is caused by inflammation in your body, a dermatologist may inject a medicine called a corticosteroid into your scalp. This can help stop the inflammation that happens when a person has alopecia areata. A corticosteroid is different from an anabolic steroid.
The type of procedure that a dermatologist recommends will depend on how much hair you have lost. To achieve the best results, a dermatologist may use one or more of the following procedures:
- Hair transplantation: Skin on the scalp that has good hair growth is removed and transplanted to areas of the scalp that need hair.
- Scalp reduction: Bald scalp is surgically removed and hair-bearing scalp is brought closer together to reduce balding. Scalp reduction surgery can be performed alone or in conjunction with a hair transplant.
- Scalp expansion: Devices are inserted under the scalp for about 3 to 4 weeks to stretch the skin. This procedure may be performed before a scalp reduction to make the scalp more lax. It also can be performed solely to stretch hair-bearing areas, which reduces balding.
- Scalp flaps: A hair-bearing segment of scalp is surgically moved and placed where hair is needed.