Alopecia is the medical name for loss of hair from the head or body. Alopecia can mean baldness but it can also refer to various other types of hair loss. In men, the most common form of alopecia is male pattern baldness. This typically begins with a receding hairline and hair thinning on the crown.
Most men get some degree of baldness by the time they reach their 60s. However, the age the hair loss starts is variable. About three in ten 30 year-olds, and half of 50 year-olds are quite bald. For men who are comfortable with how they look, male pattern baldness is not a problem that needs treatment. But some men are negatively affected by baldness, particularly when it gives the impression that they are older than their true age.
Hormonal differences and genetic predisposition determine who is likely to get male pattern baldness. As the disease progresses, the hairline gradually recedes, and eventually the hair becomes finer, shorter, and thinner, creating a horseshoe pattern of hair around the sides of the head.
Known to science as androgenetic alopecia male pattern baldness is responsible for most hair loss in men. There are other possible reasons why people lose hair, including serious diseases, reaction to medications, and even stressful events. But in most cases, hair loss in men can be blamed on heredity. Today, with proper intervention, this process can be slowed or even stopped if caught early enough
There are two medications approved to treat male pattern baldness:
Propecia (also known as Finasteride or Proscar) is a pill that interferes with the production of a certain male hormone linked to baldness. It slows hair loss. It works a bit better than minoxidil. Hair loss returns when you stop using this medicine.
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a solution that you apply directly to the scalp to stimulate the hair follicles. It slows hair loss for many men, and some men grow new hair. Hair loss returns when you stop using this medicine.
Other options include hair transplants created by removing plugs of hair from areas where the hair is continuing to grow and placing them in areas that are balding. This can cause minor scarring and possibly, infection. The procedure usually requires multiple sessions and may be expensive.
Click here to learn about the benefits of Propecia (finasteride).