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Home / Hair Loss

Hair Loss

Information, support and treatment for male pattern hair loss

Male pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in men. Occurring with increased age, half of all men will have started losing their hair by the time they reach the age of 50. A hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a byproduct of testosterone, is the main cause of male pattern baldness. In men with a sensitivity to DHT, the hormone causes hair follicles to shrink to the extent that they can no longer grow hair.

There are a number of treatments that can help. euroClinix offers the clinically proven male pattern hair loss treatment Propecia. Propecia contains the active ingredient finasteride, which prevents your hair follicles from shrinking by reducing the amount of DHT in the scalp. You can purchase Propecia online through a free, convenient and completely confidential online consultation.

Content reviewed on 26-03-21
Dr. Anand Abbot Independent Medical Advisor (GMC Reg: 4307024)

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What is male pattern baldness?

Male pattern baldness is a common form of hair loss that affects men. Also known as androgenic alopecia, or androgenetic alopecia, hair falls out gradually in a set pattern. It may begin with a receding hairline and thinning of the hair around the crown (top of the head) and temples, often in an 'M' or 'U' shape. Unlike other causes of hair loss, which can be due to lifestyle factors, male pattern baldness is related to age and family history. While it cannot be completely avoided, the severity of hair loss can be reduced with treatment.

What causes male pattern baldness?

Male pattern baldness is caused by an inherited sensitivity to a male sex hormones called androgens.

Androgens are responsible for the development of male characteristics, including hair growth. During male pattern baldness, an androgen called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) causes the hair follicle to shrink and produce shorter, finer strands of hair. This continues until no new hair grows in its place.

What are the symptoms of male pattern baldness?

Most men know when they are beginning to lose hair. The typical pattern starts at the hairline - it gradually recedes to form an 'M' shape, with the remaining hair becoming finer and shorter. The hair at the crown also begins to thin, and then eventually the top of the hairline meets the thinned crown, leaving a horseshoe pattern of hair around the sides of the head.

Hair loss and age

Hair loss is an expected part of the aging process, with only 1 in 5 men going unaffected by hair loss by the time they are in their 80s. However, it can start early, with one study finding that 16% of men aged 18-29 had lost a significant amount of hair.

Women also lose hair as they age, especially after the menopause, although it is less noticeable.

What are other types of hair loss?

In addition to male pattern baldness, there are many other types of hair loss. Hair may fall out due to nutritional deficiencies, tight hairstyles, medications, or a medical condition. Because some forms of hair loss can be a sign of something more serious, you should get in touch with your GP or a dermatologist if you are unsure of the cause.

Alopecia is the medical name given to hair loss from any part of the body. It does not refer to one kind of hair loss, but rather several different types, caused by different factors. Anybody can suffer from alopecia, at any age, regardless of their sex.

Different causes of hair loss include:

Telogen effluvium

Caused by increased hair shedding, telogen effluvium is one of the most common causes of hair loss and is usually temporary. It can involve thinning hair or bald patches. Telogen effluvium can be triggered from changes in hormone levels, different types of medications (such as birth control pills), stress, childbirth, medical conditions (such as a thyroid disorder), nutritional deficiencies (such as an iron deficiency), or sudden weight loss.

Female pattern hair loss

When androgenic alopecia happens in women, it is called female pattern baldness. However, it follows a different pattern, with women often experiencing a more general thinning of the hair throughout. It more commonly happens after the menopause.

Anagen effluvium

This is a type of rapid hair loss that can occur as a result of a medical treatment, such as cancer treatments. Chemotherapy targets fast-growing cells, which makes it effective at killing rapidly-producing cancer cells, but means that it can also negatively affect hair follicles. Radiation therapy can also lead to hair loss, but usually only in the area being treated.

Alopecia mucinosa

Not too much is known about this particular type of hair loss, but it occurs either on the scalp or face, and appears to leave small flat patches without hair. These patches are often covered in scaly, patchy skin. The cause is unknown, but a systemic disease may be the cause.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is a form of hair loss that is caused by an autoimmune disease, a type of condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, such as hair follicles. This results in hair falling out, and can prevent new hair from growing. It affects people of any age and can happen suddenly, resulting in temporary bald patches. It usually only affects scalp hair, but can affect other areas as well.

Alopecia totalis

As the name suggests, alopecia totalis is a complete loss of hair. It is thought to be a result of an autoimmune disorder.

Traction alopecia

Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss caused by hairstyles and techniques that damage or pull on the hair. Hairstyles that can cause traction alopecia include ponytails and braids - especially tight braids like cornrows. Headbands, hair extensions, weaves, and chemical hair treatments, such as relaxers, can also lead to traction alopecia. It is usually temporary, but can lead to permanent hair loss. You can reduce your risk of damaging your hair by using safe styling and hair care techniques.

Trichotillomania

This is a psychological condition that involves pulling out one's own hair. It results in patchy hair loss and bald spots. Over time, trichotillomania can result in permanent hair loss.

Is hair loss preventable?

It depends on the cause of hair loss, as many are not linked to preventable causes like lifestyle factors or diet. However, there are measures you can take to slow down its progression.

This includes clinically proven medications, such as finasteride, which has been shown to prevent further lost hair for as long as treatment is continued.

How can I support healthy hair growth?

While lifestyle treatments are unlikely to prevent or reduce hereditary forms of hair loss, you can keep your hair at its best by:

  • avoiding harsh styling products and excessive heat
  • using a soft hairbrush or wide-toothed comb
  • using warm rather than hot water when washing your hair
  • using a mild shampoo
  • following a healthy diet

What treatments are available for male pattern baldness?

You should speak to a specialist, such as a dermatologist or your GP to first determine the cause of your hair loss. They will be able to provide advice on which method will be most beneficial for you.

There are many essential oils, vitamins, and shampoos that are marketed as being able to restore hair, but there is limited data on their effectiveness.

The most common treatments for hair loss include:

Hair transplants

A hair transplant involves healthy hair follicles being removed and grafted into areas of the scalp affected by hair loss. While the procedure can be very effective, you may need multiple appointments to get the look you desire and there is no guarantee that it will work. The treatment can also be quite costly and recovery time may be long.

Minoxidil (Regaine)

Minoxidil is the active ingredient found in the topical over-the-counter hair loss treatment Regaine. Available as a foam, liquid, and a cream, it works by increasing blood flow to areas where hair has thinned. It works best on hair that has not completely stopped growing. Hair regrowth usually takes a few months when applied twice daily.

Finasteride (Propecia)

Finasteride is a prescription medication used for male pattern hair loss. It is available under the brand name Propecia. It is a clinically proven treatment that can help stop hair loss and can even promote new hair regrowth.

Taken once daily, Propecia targets the primary cause of male pattern baldness - the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT binds to hair follicles, causing hair to call out, but Finasteride prevents the body from converting testosterone to DHT. This means that there is less circulating DHT in the scalp. A study found that, after taking Propecia, 83% of men did not experience any further hair loss.

Is hair loss treatment available online?

You can purchase the prescription treatment Propecia online from euroClinix. To order online, you will need to fill in a quick and confidential online consultation form, which will then be checked over by one of our doctors. If they feel that this treatment is suitable for you, they will issue a prescription, and our UK pharmacy will dispatch the medication for next-day delivery.

Can I purchase hair loss treatment over-the-counter?

Treatments such as minoxidil are available over-the-counter, but oral medications containing finasteride (Propecia) are only available on prescription. You can complete a consultation for Propecia online through euroClinix. This will then be reviewed by a doctor, who will assess whether or not this medication is appropriate for you.

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