Male pattern baldness (MPB), scientifically known as Androgenetic Alopecia, affects 70 percent of men before they reach age 70. MPB is associated with a genetic predisposition to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) sensitivity. DHT is a derivative of testosterone and in prone men, it destroys hair follicles along the mid-anterior scalp and temples.
Although there are thousands of cures for male pattern baldness marketed on the internet, most of these are ineffective. Science has shown little connection between nutrition and MPB although deficiency of protein, zinc, and biotin is thought to contribute to some extent. The most effective and medically supported cures include:
Medication is currently the best way to fight male pattern baldness. There are only two medications that are approved by the FDA for the treatment of MPB. Finasteride, marketed as Propecia, is an oral drug that acts by blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT.
According to Men Fitness, Propecia causes some sexual side effects such as impotence and ejaculation problems. Yale.edu puts the percentage of affected users at just 2%. The American Hair Loss Association recommends Finasteride as the first medication to try for MPB. When taken daily, it reduces DHT by 60% and is effective in over 85% of men.
Note: For men who want to avoid the sexual side effects of Propecia, there is a new dietary protocol that acts like a “natural Finasteride” to block the conversion of testosterone into DHT. You can learn more about it at http://newspapercat.org.
The other FDA-approved drug is known as Minoxidil. This drug, sold as Rogaine, is applied topically and is believed to act by stimulating the follicles to produce hair. Both of these drugs are meant to be used indefinitely as discontinuation results in a reversal of the positive effects. Using both drugs together has been shown to increase efficiency.
Many natural and homemade medications purport to help with hair loss, but most have not been scrutinized closely enough by science to support these claims.
Hair transplantation has come a long way since it was first used in the 1950’s and 60’s. In the original method, hair was transplanted from the back and sides of the head to fill in bald spots. These hair “plugs” were made of multiple hair strands. However, this method left a corn-like appearance on the bald areas.
Today, Dr. George Cotsarelis, a Penn Medicine physician specializing in hair loss, tells Mensfitness.com, that surgeons use two methods: Follicular Unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE). FUT harvests a strip of scalp from the back of the head which is then moved to bald areas in groups of three or four hairs. This method generally leaves a thin scar.
FUE involves moving individual follicles and is now the most preferred method. However, it is more challenging and expensive.
Proper Lifestyle Management
According to WebMD, many studies link MPB to smoking, so quitting could help alleviate baldness. Stress is also known to accelerate male pattern baldness according to MedicalDaily.com. However, it has to be intense long-term stress, such as the loss of a loved one, rather than short term daily stress like being late for work. Stress leads to increased production of DHT in men. Proper stress management is therefore an important tool in fighting male pattern baldness.
Although not a “cure” in the strict sense of the word, some forms of disguise can help men who suffer from baldness feel comfortable with their hair loss. These include weaves, hairpieces, and changing hair styles. The US National Library of Medicine discourages the use of suturing hairpieces as these can lead to scars or infections of the scalp.
Possible Future Treatments
According to MedicalDaily.com, researchers are developing a revolutionary cure that ironically involves plucking hairs to stimulate new hair growth. Inducing trauma to heal trauma is one of the foundations of surgery, and it is the same principle on which this new treatment is based. The procedure, known as quorum sensing, has been shown to work in mice and may soon be a mainstream cure for MPB.
Another possible cure, as reported in the Telegraph, involves the use of stem cells to create dermal papillae cells that are vital to follicle formation. These are then transplanted back into human subjects. This may eventually be the best way to fight male pattern baldness, but for now the study is still in its infancy and could take decades to come to fruition.