What is Androgenetic alopecia? (Male)
Androgenetic alopecia is hair loss or thinning amongst males. It is known as Androgenetic alopecia when it is caused by hormones (androgens) and genetics, hence ‘Androgenetic’. It is also known as male pattern balding, or male pattern baldness.
The result is a receding hairline and/or hair loss on the top and front of the head.
What causes Androgenetic alopecia? (Male)
Androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern balding is caused by a genetic condition which produces a sensitivity to the effects of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) in some areas of the scalp.
In more detail, Androgenetic alopecia causes the follicles to become sensitive to the androgens that exist within the male body. Within the follicles are androgen receptors and the androgens tell the androgen receptors to produce less hair. The follicles contain the enzyme 5 alpha-reductase and when the hormone (normally testosterone) binds to the androgen receptor, it triggers 5-alpha reductase subsequently converting the testosterone into DHT. It is the DHT which damages the hair production.
Hair growing cycles are shortened by DHT thus resulting in fewer and finer hairs. This process is known as hair miniaturisation.
What are the symptoms of Androgenetic alopecia? (Male)
Men lose their hair or go bald in a very predictable pattern. Hair on the vertex (top of the head) begins to thin and there may be bilateral temporal recession (loss of hair at the corners of the frontal hair line). This gradually progresses with the hair in this region becoming thinner and thinner and can in some instances, eventually lead to complete baldness on the top of the scalp.
How do you treat Androgenetic alopecia? (Male)
There are male hair loss treatments available, including Finasteride and topical Minoxidil, which can either arrest or reverse the process of miniaturisation. This means that the process of male pattern baldness/hair loss in most cases, is stopped and in many patients (but not all patients) re-growth of hair can be achieved.