Male Pattern Hair Loss – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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Progressive hair loss with a specific pattern is called pattern hair loss. The pattern of hair fall is unique in men in comparison to that of women.

Men have a recession at the temples, thinning, and a bald area on the crown (top of the head), which eventually results in complete baldness over the entire crown.  

The hair is mildly spared at the back of the head and above the ears.

Women usually experience thinning throughout the scalp, which is most visible on the crown.  

Pattern hair loss is rare in women, which affects less than 5% of women who become bald.

A combination of hormonal and hereditary factors causes pattern baldness. It is a usual type of hair loss in both men and women. Hereditary baldness is so widespread that it is viewed as an aspect of ageing. Both men and women will experience patterned hair loss at some point in their lives.  

What is male pattern hair loss?  

Male pattern baldness is a type of hair thinning and loss that affects adult men. It is also referred to as androgenic alopecia. In cases of male pattern baldness, the hairline above the temples experiences hair loss that progresses to a receding hairline.  

The top of the head then experiences hair loss, leaving behind a horseshoe-shaped pattern of hair. Male pattern baldness, though normally seen in older men, can also affect young adult men.

Hair loss results from the changes in the usual hair growth cycle. Most of the hair remains in the anagen phase, which is the growth phase, during the normal hair-growing cycle.  

This growing phase lasts about three to six years before falling out and new hair grows.

Male pattern baldness causes the hair in the affected parts of the scalp to grow for only a few weeks or months before it starts to fall out. This procedure causes bald spots.

Causes of male pattern balding  

Most often, male pattern hair loss is genetic and affects how some of the hair on the scalp reacts to specific male hormones.  

Additionally, this type of hair loss can also be due to,

Male pattern baldness is not often brought on by these conditions, but if they coexist with it, a person could have accelerated hair loss.

The hair-producing cells, or follicles, shrink and become less efficient and useful in males with genetic intolerance or sensitivity to DHT (dihydrotestosterone). This causes the hair to thin out and, if untreated, eventually stop growing completely, leading to baldness.

A small percentage of women experience male pattern hair loss due to high testosterone levels and genetic susceptibility.  

These women also experience acne, irregular menstruation and increased facial and body hair. Even though most women with PCOS do not have hair loss, these symptoms are typical of the condition.  

Hair growth cycle  

The natural cycle of hair growth replaces each hair follicle at a variable rate. Phases of activity and rest are alternated throughout hair growth.  

  • The anagen phase, which is the growth stage, lasts for three to six years. The follicle grows thick, highly pigmented hair at this stage as it is long and deep. Approximately 90% of scalp hairs are currently in the anagen phase.
  • The next stage, the catagen phase, is a short transition stage that lasts one to two weeks and comes after anagen. The base of the follicle shrinks during this time.  
  • The telogen phase occurs three months after the catagen phase, which is the resting period.  

The hair fibre is still retained by the shrinking follicle at this stage. When the anagen phase begins after the telogen phase, the old hair is forced out and shed to make space for the new hair to start growing in its place.

Symptoms of male pattern hair loss  

Male pattern baldness appears gradually and begins after puberty.

The hair gradually starts receding from the hairline and thinning hair at the temples. The person may finally get a bald patch on top of the head that gets bigger with time, and the hair on the crown (the top of the head) may also get thinner. If hair loss persists, the back and sides of the head may start to grow in a horseshoe pattern.

Normally, the hair on the brows, eyelashes, and sides and back of the hair doesn’t fall out due to male pattern baldness. Usually, other medical issues lead to hair loss in these places. Consult a doctor for extreme hair loss.

Diagnosis of male pattern hair loss  

Male pattern hair loss is diagnosed on the basis of the appearance and pattern of the hair loss.

Other medical disorders may also cause hair loss. This manifests as hair loss, shedding a lot of hair, having broken hair along with redness, scaling, pus or soreness.

A skin biopsy, blood testing, or other procedures can be required to identify other conditions that lead to hair loss.

The diagnosis of hair loss brought on by dietary or other diseases cannot be made with accuracy by hair analysis. But it might make chemicals like lead or arsenic visible.

Treatment of male pattern hair loss  

Several treatments can stop or minimise hair loss, promote partial regeneration, or even replace damaged hair, though there is no known cure for hair loss. Some men with extensive baldness may benefit from surgical hair transplantation.

Wearing a hairpiece, such as a wig or a toupee, is the easiest and safest treatment for male pattern baldness.  

There are also a few medical procedures that have been shown successful in treating male pattern baldness.

Medications for male pattern baldness include,

  • Minoxidil solution stimulates hair follicles. It is administered directly to the scalp. For most men, minoxidil delays hair loss and even helps grow new hair. Hair loss may return on stopping the medication.
  • Finasteride medication blocks the production of a particular type of testosterone that is associated with baldness. This slows hair loss. Finasteride performs slightly more effectively than minoxidil. When you stop using this medication, hair loss starts again.
  • Dutesteride is stronger than finasteride.  

The following treatments are being researched.

  • The scalp is injected with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to promote hair growth. This involves taking a blood sample and separating out the portion with a high platelet count. This is then injected into the bald spots over a period of time.
  • Hair transplants include taking microscopic plugs of hair from locations where hair is still growing and inserting them into balding areas. The procedure may be expensive and usually calls for several sessions.
  • Laser, headgear and light therapy help stimulate hair follicles.

Home remedies for male pattern hair loss  

  • Vitamins – Human bodies require vitamins to function efficiently, including our hair.
  • Protein-rich diet – Protein helps in healthy hair growth.
  • Maintain hydration – The body needs water to function. We need to drink enough water to maintain scalp hydration and healthy hair.
  • Biotin – Biotin hastens the hair regrowth process as they are essential for transforming food into energy. A biotin-rich diet promotes rapid hair renewal, which can be seen immediately.
  • Essential oils – Using essential oils to massage the scalp can stimulate hair growth. Pour 2-3 drops of essential oil into a carrier oil, then massage the head for 2–3 minutes for the greatest results. Wash the hair after 30 minutes of using it.
  • Garlic, onion, ginger juice – Apply one of these natural juices on the scalp 30 minutes before shampooing. This is an effective hair regrowth solution.
  • Regular exercise – Daily exercise can assist in maintaining hormonal balance and reduce stress, which impacts hair health.  
  • Reduce stress – Numerous health issues have excessive stress as one of their root causes. Many people struggle with hair loss issues as a result of high levels of stress. Therefore, yoga or meditation reduces tension and promotes hair growth.

Is male pattern baldness preventable?  

Male pattern baldness is genetically determined and hence cannot be prevented. However, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle will help achieve healthy hair.

Some male pattern baldness treatments are more effective when hair loss is minimal. Consulting a doctor or trichologist is advisable for any possible treatment options.

Dealing with male pattern hair loss  

Mild thinning  

Clinical studies have shown two medications to stop further hair loss and promote regrowth. Minoxidil and finasteride help with mild thinning. Any course of treatment should be based on a combination of both.

Moderate thinning

12.5% of minoxidil solution aims to grow hair in targeted regions where hair starts to thin. Laser treatment can also be an option in this situation.

Heavy thinning

A hair transplant is considered the best option for heavy thinning. Hairs from the back of the head are pulled out one at a time and grafted onto the scalp.  


Although male pattern baldness does not signify a medical condition, it might lower self-esteem or cause anxiety. Usually, hair loss is irreversible.  

Male pattern baldness can be seen in many men who must protect their heads from the sun. Regularly apply sunscreen to the head or wear a helmet to lower the risk of acquiring skin cancer.

Headcap and hair pieces are available for such individuals. Treatments and medications also help with heavy thinning and male pattern baldness.


Can male pattern hair loss be cured?  

There is no known cure for male pattern hair loss, but treatments are available. Treatment can stop further hair loss, and some men experience some hair growth. Men who begin treatment when they notice hair loss usually see the best outcomes.

What is normal male pattern hair loss?  

Male pattern baldness starts from the hairline. The hairline recedes with time, forming an “M” shape. The vertex, a circular region on the back of the head, frequently shrinks and grows with time.

Does high testosterone cause balding?

Hair loss is not directly attributed to testosterone by itself. Increasing DHT levels damages the hair follicles and accelerates male pattern hair loss symptoms, resulting in balding.

At what age do men start balding?  

Balding sometimes begins in the late teens or early twenties. It usually comes later. Most men over 50 years have visible signs of male pattern hair loss, such as significant thinning, a receding hairline, or balding.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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