The Common Ways to Treat Male Pattern Baldness
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What is Male Pattern Baldness?
After doing endless research on Google, maybe you’ve even heard of the term before: androgenetic alopecia. Some hair care experts use it to refer to pattern baldness in males (and females), and there are all kinds of genetic and environmental factors that can causing the condition. With this condition, the hair’s growth cycle is weakened, and hair follicles shrink. Then you get shorter, thinner strands of hair. In time, the natural growth cycle of your hair ends, but there are new hair growth to replace and renew the cycle.
This form of hair loss can observe a well-defined pattern that starts from above the temples on your head. As the hairline recedes, it forms the characteristic ‘M’ shape, and the hair thins at the top of the head—the crown. Most of the time, androgenetic alopecia can lead to partial or complete baldness.
What causes Androgenetic Alopecia?
Most of the time, androgenetic alopecia genetically predetermined disorder due to an excessive response to androgens. Androgens constitutes a group of hormones that mainly influence the growth and development of the male reproductive system. One example you may be familiar is testosterone.
That’s why androgenetic hair loss can occur in early adolescence, because the regression of scalp hair, or baldness, can be influenced by androgens. There are studies that find that there are 16% of men between 18 and 29 year old can experience male pattern baldness. The prevalence of the condition increases with age: the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), has discovered that over 50 percent of all men over 50 year old will experience some extent of by male pattern baldness.
But there are medical conditions and medical treatments that can be serious causes for this condition: cancers, thyroid conditions, anabolic steroids, as well as some medications. Certain health conditions could cause baldness. When you have unexpected rashes, redness, pain, peeling of the scalp, hair breakage, patchy hair loss, or even an unusual pattern of hair loss accompanies the hair loss, you should go see a doctor, ASAP. Because you might need proper blood tests or a skin biopsy to diagnose the disorders behind the hair loss.
Treating Androgenetic Alopecia
1. Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar)
This is an oral medication that can slow down the male pattern of hair loss by blocking the male hormone that’s responsible for hair loss. This can only be use in men. Finasteride has been shown to be more effective than minoxidil, another common medication to treat hair loss (we’ll cover that in the next point!)
If you’re taking finasteride, you need to continuously do so. Its ability to slow down the this type of hair loss will only show when you take the medication. Most of the time, it takes three months to a year before you can see results. If not, you should speak to your doctor before you stop taking the medication.
The side effects of finasteride include itching, rash, hives, breast tenderness, breast growth, swelling of the face or lips, as well as depression. In rare cases, the effects of finasteride can cause breast cancer too. One of the other side effects of finasteride actually affects the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests used to screen for prostate cancer, leading to increased risk of undetected prostate cancer.
Minoxidil, or Rogaine, is a very common type of hair regrowth treatment, one of the more effective treatments too. (Psst, we use it for our Microneedling for Scalp treatments) This is a topical medication that you can apply on your scalp, and it slows hair loss while stimulates the hair follicles to grow new hair. It usually takes four months to a year to see visible results. Like finasteride, you hair loss returns when you stop applying minoxidil.
The possible side effects are irritation, dryness, a burning sensation, as well as the scaling of the scalp. There are more serious side effects as well, and you have to see the doctor if you experience weight gain, swelling of your face, hands, ankles, or abdomen, rapid heartbeats, chest pain, trouble breathing when your lie down, and laboured breathing.
3. Hair Transplants
This is the stuff of A-list celebs. But a hair transplant isn’t a breeze; it’s actually one of the most invasive and expensive hair loss treatment you can find. For hair transplantation, the hair from other areas of the scalp that still have active hair growth will be removed, so that it can be transplanted onto the thinning or balding areas on your scalp. Though you can look forward to natural-looking healthy hair that’s permanent.
While this may be a permanent solution, you’d need multiple hair transplants. Not to mention, you’ll risk scarring and infection on your scalp. Well, you know what they say about beauty and pain.
4. Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
Don’t be put off by this sci-fi sounding therapy. LLLT is a modern non-surgical hair loss treatment. It’s touted as one of the safer alternatives, because it’s non-invasive, painless, and have little to no side effects. There’s a 2014 study that showed that the LLLT appeared to be safe and effective for hair growth in both men and women. And a study in 2013 showed that LLLT help provided a 39 percent increase in hair growth over a period of 16 weeks for the 41 males ages 18 to 48 in the study.
The low-level laser usually emits from devices with diodes installed, and the devices can be in the form of salon hoods, overhead panels, bonnet or head caps, or otherhand-held devices. This FDA-approved laser treatment works by using laser light to stimulate cell growth by stimulating circulation around the hair follicles for hair growth.
To give you a better idea of what’s it like, let’s dive into Wellaholic’s very own LLLT treatment. Our friendly consultants will check for the areas of hair loss and make note of it. Then those areas are cleaned and disinfected with a little alcohol. If you opted for our signature HairGrow™ regime (highly recommended), the consultant will assist with the Microneedling for Scalp treatment first to maximise your hair growth.
Our consultant will then place the LLLT helmet. It only takes 20 minutes, which is perfect for a quick episode of the Netflix comedy you’re chasing. After it’s all done, our consultant will keep track of your hair regrowth too!
Yes, you heard that right. Microneedling isn’t just for doing facial treatments. After all, skin is skin. The skin that covers our scalp is also similar to the skin that covers our faces. And just like the skin on our faces, the scalp can also lose collagen with time, and that slows down the hair growth in the scalp hair follicles.
Microneedling for hair loss works by causing controlled ‘injuries’ on your scalp. Don’t panic! It won’t leave with you with a permanent scar on your scalp. At the most, you’ll just experience some minor bleeding and a little redness on your scalp. At Wellaholic, we combine Microneedling for Scalp with a topical 5% Minoxidil solution to compound the hair regrowth capabilities of the two hair loss treatments. And you can see the lush hair growth over a 12-week period. Wellaholic’s Microneedling for Scalp has proven to be especially effective for customers with androgenetic alopecia.