Male Pattern Baldness
Are You Suffering From Male Hair Loss?
It is estimated that 70% of men will experience male hair loss in their lifetime.
Men normally experience male pattern baldness (MPB) or male pattern hair loss (MPHL) – also known as Androgenetic Alopecia – when three main factors interact: Genetics, Age, and Hormones.
While genetics and ageing (and hormonal changes!) are inevitable, there are some factors that can be addressed to turn male pattern baldness around. At Terra Medical Clinic, obtaining the most effective male hair loss treatment solutions for your condition is just as important to us as it is for you. Among the most effective solutions provided at Terra Medical Clinic to solve baldness is through a technique called hair transplant. However, we aim to understand the exact type of hair loss that is occurring so that we are able to provide accurate solutions to suit your individual needs and budget. Get in touch with our trusted medical team in Singapore today to see if it is right for you!
Scroll to see different causes
of Male Pattern Baldness
The most common cause of hair loss in men, it is usually first detected when there is noticeable thinning of hair in the middle of the scalp along with a receding hairline (loss of hair starting from the front till the back).
To understand male pattern hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia, we can start by breaking the word down into its root words – “androgen” and “genetics”. As mentioned before, genetics and hormones play a large part in male pattern baldness.
“Androgen” is the hormonal part of balding, as it refers to male hormones (such as testosterone) that normally circulate in the bloodstream. These hormones are broken down by enzymes at various sites in the body, one of which is the hair follicles on the scalp. As these hormones are broken down around the hair follicles, di-hydrotestosterone (DHT) is released. DHT does two things: 1) It shortens the growth phase of the hair cycle, and 2) It causes hair follicles to become smaller (‘miniaturisation’). This results in hair follicles shrinking and the hair itself becoming shorter and finer until no new hairs grow, hence balding. The most susceptible hair follicles tend to be located in the front of the scalp, causing the classic receding hairline found in male pattern baldness.
“Genetics” refers to an inherited hair loss trait from the maternal, paternal, or both sides of the family tree. Certain people have a higher percentage or a higher chance of ‘balding genes’ being activated, and recent studies have shown that there are 63 genes that are associated with male pattern baldness! Despite there being no clear indication that your hair loss will start or progress similarly to your relatives, those with stronger genetic predisposition (meaning that more members of your family have male pattern hair loss) may start balding earlier than those with a weaker predisposition, who may only start balding in their 60s or 70s. There is currently no direct gene therapy to treat male hair loss, and most treatments will focus on the hair follicle or scalp. Most treatments will focus on modulating the interaction of the hair follicle with damaging internal environments such as hormones, poor blood flow, defective hair follicle cell signalling or inadequate nutrition.
At Terra, we understand that genetics is something that we can’t change. However, we focus on methods that are proven to be highly effective for male hair loss treatment by reducing the conversion of testosterone to DHT or addressing the scalp follicles through our Terra Scalpboosters, Regenera Activa Scalp Therapy, Low-Level Laser Light Therapy (LLLT), and many more.
The Norwood Hamilton Scale of Hair Loss
If you are experiencing balding, how would you know if your hair loss is due to androgenetic alopecia, or is a result of a separate scalp condition (like seborrheic dermatitis or areata alopecia)?
There are several factors of male pattern hair loss which can identify if you are experiencing androgenetic alopecia.
It can happen any time after puberty to late teens, but most often happens in the 20s to 30s and the rate of balding often increases as age progresses.
- Family History
If you have a strong family history of male hair loss, your risk of developing the condition is higher. There are studies showing that many of those who experience apparent balding also have had a father who experienced male pattern baldness.
- Hair Loss Pattern
By far the most common way to diagnose androgenetic alopecia, the first sign that indicates androgenetic alopecia is thinning of hair that was once thick and strong. As mentioned, DHT interferes with the hair growth cycle and makes hair follicles smaller (‘miniaturisation’), so hair also becomes more difficult to grow back. Once it does, it is often thinner and less pigmented, starting at the hairline (nearest to the forehead) or at the crown (middle of the scalp). As more and more hair follicles become smaller from DHT damage, it causes the thin hair that grows to fall out easily. This results in the classic M-shaped recession at the front of the scalp and balding. The same process happens in female pattern hair loss, just in different scalp areas.
The Norwood-Hamilton Scale shown illustrates the progression of male pattern baldness and the different patterns that are possible. Some men will experience hairline recession first, some may experience thinning around the crown, and some may have a combination of both. Not everyone experiences progression through all the stages of baldness as it depends strongly on genetics, and treatment may help to minimise progression.
- Scalp Conditions
Some scalp conditions can contribute to hair loss. For example, seborrheic dermatitis is a scalp condition that can be considered as a chronic form of eczema. When an overly oily scalp causes the overgrowth of Malassezia yeast, it results in an inflamed and itchy scalp with dandruff formation. A person may start scratching at the scalp, causing crusty scabs and damaging hair follicles in the process if this condition is left untreated. Alopecia areata is caused by an abnormal immune response – a stressful event like infections, chronic illness, or hormonal changes triggers a person’s immune system to attack the hair follicles resulting in patchy hair loss. For this condition, small injections of medication over the bald patch, or using tablet and intravenous medication usually helps.
- Telogen Effluvium from Chronic Stress
‘Telogen effluvium’ is the excessive shedding of telogen hair when the body is put under chronic stress. Telogen hairs are the hairs on our scalp which are in the ‘resting phase’ and ready to shed. At any one time, 8%-10% of the hairs on our scalp are in that shedding phase. When stress is prolonged, blood flow to the scalp and skin are reduced so that it can focus on your main organs like your heart due to survival mode, and stress hormones like cortisol can also damage hair follicles. This causes a higher percentage of hairs to be pushed into that telogen phase, hence causing increased hair loss. This is often reversible with stress management and scalp treatments.
- Use of External Supplements
Supplements like whey protein and creatine have been linked to hair loss, but not by direct mechanisms. Long-term use of these supplements may increase the levels of hormones which lead to hair loss such as di-hydrotestosterone (DHT), especially if the person taking it is already genetically predisposed to male pattern hair loss. BCAAs, or Branched Chain Amino Acids, are a trio of three essential amino acids which are commonly supplemented. When taken in excessive doses, they can cause a surge in testosterone levels which then increase the risk of greater DHT production in the hair follicles. Injections of performance-enhancing drugs like anabolic steroids may also cause hair loss because they are a synthetic version of testosterone. Again, the increase in testosterone and DHT production all contribute to male pattern hair loss.
- Poor Dietary or Product Choices
Long-term chronic dietary deficiencies without enough essential nutrients like proteins, zinc, and fatty acids can cause poor hair growth as well as brittle hair that breaks off easily. If a person is excessively dieting and is not ingesting enough calories to meet their daily requirements, the nutrients that they are taking in will go mainly to support the essential systems (like your heart, lungs, and organs) instead of hair, leading to hair loss. Poor product choices also cause hair loss because use of harsh shampoos or chemical treatments such as hair dyes can cause contact dermatitis of the scalp and increased skin sensitivity. Over time, if not addressed, the scalp becomes chronically inflamed and hair follicles are damaged.
- Other Medical Conditions
Systemic issues can have the unfortunate side effect of also causing hair loss. For example, thyroid conditions or autoimmune conditions like lupus can cause hair loss because of disruptions to hormones which causes poor development of the hair root, or lesions on the scalp which result in scarring of hair follicles. Some medications can also cause hair loss when taken long-term such as heparin or warfarin for heart conditions, cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins, or even blood pressure medications. Prescribed medications should not be stopped because of hair loss, but a discussion with your healthcare provider can help identify if there are alternatives to address these side effects.
At Terra Medical
Hair transplantation is considered the only permanent solution to hair loss, with an average 90% success rate. Not just reserved for the hair on your scalp, hair transplantation techniques can also be used for facial hair and to fill in scarred bald patches from traumatic injuries.
Terra Scalpboosters aim to ‘boost’ your scalp health by injecting a specially concocted cosmeceutical formulation paired with a superior cell-membrane activation technology to stimulate your hair follicles into growing faster, stronger, and healthier. Read on more to find out what it’s all about!
"Autologous Micrograft Transfer" treatment procedure offers a lot of great benefits, which makes this therapy an effective and safe one. One such benefit is that it has minimal downtime! Unlike hair transplant surgery where you may need to set aside 5-7 days before being able to continue most of your daily activities, you will be able to walk out the door right into the next thing on your schedule after a Autologous Micrograft Transfer treatment.
There have been many reviews and studies done on the safety and efficacy of low-level laser light therapy in men and women experiencing hair loss. When the wavelengths of light penetrate the scalp, it stimulates the stem cells that help to ‘communicate’ to the hair follicles for increasing hair growth. The low-level laser also increases blood flow and production of ATP, an energy-carrying molecule found in the cells of all living things, and metabolic processes in the cell to deliver more nutrients and oxygen which stimulate faster hair growth. We call this ‘activating’ the hair follicles.
Terra Medical offers array of hair supplements that are clinically proven to improve your hair health. Do ensure to consult our medical practioner if you’re unclear of which to take for optimal improvement.