Your friends probably won’t give you a straight answer. Your barber might make the occasional "umm" when he’s back there and your other half might try and bring it up over dinner.
When you first discover (and admit to yourself) your hair isn’t what it used to be, it’s easy to be surprised and likely a bit upset. We don’t blame you. It can be a shock.
But it doesn’t have to be a big deal. There are things you can do and treatments that actually work. Remember, we’ve got your back. We’ll help you understand what male pattern baldness is, what causes baldness, how to treat it and how to prevent going bald.
No comb-overs here.
Male pattern baldness (MPB) is the most common type of baldness in men. It’s a type of baldness in which hair thins and is lost in a typical pattern. It usually only affects the head, and no hair is lost elsewhere on the body.
Unfortunately, MPB is common. Around 50% of all men experience it by age 50. It can happen as early as your teens and twenties though, so keep an eye out for it, even if you’re young.
With MPB, hair thins and is lost in a typical pattern. If your hair is thinning and being lost in this way, you most likely have MPB.
Hair is usually lost first at the hairline at the front of the head, and especially at the corners. This is what’s known as a receding hairline. It often creates an M-shape in the hairline too, as hair recedes faster at the corners than in the centre.
This may happen as a second step, or at the same time as the hairline recedes, or it can even be the first sign. Hair thins and starts to be lost around the crown at the top and the back of the head.
Over time hair loss usually increases. It happens at different speeds in different people, but typically the hairline recedes further, and the bald patch spreads over the top of the head. Less hair is lost around the sides and the very back of the head, tempting some men to opt for the comb-over, where hair is grown long at the sides and back, and then combed over the top of the head to cover up any baldness.
Hair loss often stops at this point, leaving a few wisps on top, with hair at the side and back. In some men it goes all the way though until all the hair is lost from the head.
There are three main causes, and they’re related:
Male pattern baldness is mainly caused by a sensitivity to a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a type of testosterone. It causes the hair follicles in your scalp (the holes which hair grows out of) to shrink. As the follicles shrink, the hairs have less time to grow and they become shorter and thinner over time. Eventually the follicles shrink so much they can’t grow hair at all. There’s a myth that men with more testosterone are more likely to go bald, but it’s not true. It’s how sensitive the follicles are to DHT which causes the baldness, not how much of it there is.
How sensitive the hair follicles on your head are to DHT is partly caused by your genes - MPB tends to run in the family. If your dad, older brothers, uncles, and grandfathers had MPB, then you may have inherited the genes that contribute to it too.
You’re more likely to get MPB as you get older, but it’s not fully understood why. It may simply be that it takes time for hair follicles to shrink, so although MPB might start in your teens, the effect only becomes visible years later.
Male pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in men, but there are others too, like:
With these causes, the hair is usually lost quickly, rather than gradually thinning over time. The hair typically returns too, once these causes are dealt with. That isn’t the case with MPB though. Hair won’t return or grow thicker again unless some very specific actions are taken.
It’s never good when you first realise you’re going bald. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the road for your hair. While male pattern baldness used to be irreversible, now you don’t have to accept it. Treatments like finasteride, can halt and even reverse it.
So, avoid the fake cures and the scams, talk to an expert, and stick to the scientifically proven treatments from FromMars.