Generic Hair Care information
What is male pattern hair loss? Why is it named so?
Hair loss in the middle age occurs mostly in men and is called androgenic alopecia because it is caused by the hormonal imbalance of androgenic hormones. Usually, this condition is manifested quite the same in all men who suffer from it – they lose hair forehead and vertex, preserving hair on the sides. Due to this peculiarity, this hair loss is also called pattern hair loss as the hair falls off in certain patterns.
What are the reasons for androgenic alopecia/pattern hair loss?
The action of androgens renders a direct impact on all processes of life-sustaining activity. The main representative of this group of sex hormones is testosterone. It is this hormone that gives the male skeleton characteristic masculine traits; is in charge of the increase in muscle and bone mass and enhanced hairiness.
However, on the growth of hair on the scalp, androgens with age begin to have not a stimulating, but, on the contrary, inhibitory effect. The testosterone, which has fallen into the radical cells of the hair located on the forehead and crown is transformed into dihydrotestosterone. Changes occur under the influence of a certain enzyme.
Dihydrotestosterone contributes to slowing down of the hair follicles functioning as men grow older. As a result, hair becomes thinner, break faster, and lose color. Their structure begins to resemble the structure of the hair covering the body, as a result - the head of a man loses his hair. And all these changes occur at a normal level of testosterone in the blood.
Why hair falls down from the crown?
The zonal alopecia with the predominant localization of hair loss on the crown is explained by the difference in the biochemical properties of the scalp in different places. The skin that covers the back of the head and temples contains aromatase at a higher concentration than in the skin covering the forehead and parietal area. This enzyme promotes the transformation of testosterone into estrone and estradiol. Their action is opposite to that of dihydrotestosterone. They do not inhibit but provoke the work of the follicles, so the hair on the sides of the head is more numerous.
Hereditary cause of androgenic alopecia. The conducted researches made it possible to establish the fact that a man prone to baldness can get this tendency from along a hereditary line. If the father suffered from androgenetic alopecia, the risk of developing this condition in his son is large enough. Scientists believe that in such men the number of receptors located in the roots of hair that are susceptible to dihydrotestosterone is much higher than in those men whose fathers did not suffer from alopecia. In addition, the fact of excessive activity of the enzyme causing the production of the hormone leading to hair loss is not excluded.
Early baldness among men. It is undeniable that a certain proportion of men lose their hair before others. There is an assumption that the age at which the process of alopecia manifests is based on genetics. In the absence of therapy, the once-begun process of alopecia will progress.
According to statistics, about 16% of men start losing hair under the age of 30. At 50 years of age, a significant degree of alopecia is observed in 50% of the male population. Almost 80% of men lose their hair by the age of 70.
How is the condition diagnosed?
There is no need to do any tests if the pattern hair loss is obvious when more than 50% of the hair in the specific areas is lost. However, if you have just started going bald, your doctor can appoint you certain tests for hormones that will show whether you have namely androgenic alopecia or not and the doctor would be able to prescribe you the correct hair care products.
The doctors who work with hair directly are called trichologists but you can go to a therapist or endocrinologist to get referrals for tests.
Treatment of androgenic alopecia in men
In order to stop the process of alopecia, as well as restore the already lost part of the hair, modern medicine offers to use two types of medications: Minoxidil, which is available in the form of foam or lotion. The product is to be applied to the scalp exposed to alopecia; Finasteride tablets.
The treatment of androgenic alopecia with Minoxidil
Initially, the drug was developed for the treatment of hypertension. It is still not possible to determine its exact mechanism of action on the hair follicles. Here we provide the information on the particularities of the medication use:
- The product should be used twice a day in the morning and in the evening. Foam or lotion is applied to the scalp in places that are prone to alopecia.
- After the start of therapy, patients often notice increased hair loss. This process is explained by the fact that the preparation prepares the hair follicles for renewal. After the old hair is removed, the follicles begin to develop substances responsible for the growth of new hair. The primary loss is completed after several months (sometimes weeks), after the start of using Minoxidil.
- The result of the therapy can be assessed for the first time between 4 months and 6 months of Minoxidil use. The pronounced effect will be noticeable after an annual course of the treatment.
- The percentage of the restoration of hair density is from 14.5% to 248.5%. These indicators are a comparative characteristic in comparison with the density of the hair cover before the start of therapy. Alopecia as a result of treatment with Minoxidil usually stops.
- The best and sustainable results are usually observed in men who started to use this treatment at the age of 40 and who started suffering from alopecia not more than ten years ago. In addition, the chance of complete hair restoration is higher in those men, the area of alopecia in whom does not exceed 100 mm in diameter.
- It is believed that even a long course of therapy with Minoxidil is safe. Very rarely administered treatment can lead to hypotension, tachycardia and water retention in the body. Similar phenomena are observed in people who are highly sensitive to this agent. Sometimes, Minoxidil causes accelerated growth of facial hair, but this problem is not significant for men.
Treatment of androgenic alopecia with Finasteride
The principle of the drug’s effect is based on inhibition of the functioning of the enzyme 5a-reductase. It is this enzyme that causes the transformation of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, which provokes alopecia. In addition to the treatment of alopecia, Finasteride is used in the treatment of prostate adenoma. However, this requires an increase in the dose of the drug.
- It is easier to use Finasteride than Minoxidil as it comes in a form of pills that should be taken once a day.
- The first results of the therapy can be observed within four months of the pills use. In one year, the effect will be even more noticeable. The maximum results are usually achieved after two years of uninterrupted use of the pills.
- According to the studies, Finasteride is more effective than Minoxidil – it stops the hair loss in 99% of men who use the pills regularly.
- To restore the hair in the bald areas in the significant amount is possible only in 2% of men. The insignificant hair growth is observed in 30% of men and the full restoring of the hair is observed in 16% of men.
- The maximum effect of the medication is obtained if the therapy was started when the baldness areas are still small.
- If the result was achieved, then to maintain it a constant intake of the drug is needed. If the therapeutic course is discontinued, then the restored hair will drop out after a maximum of a year.
- The medication use is rarely accompanied by any health issues.
- The partial lowering of libido and erectile dysfunctions mentioned in the side effects of the medication use rarely develop.
Combination of Finasteride and Minoxidil for the treatment of alopecia in men
The conducted studies indicate that it is possible to combine these two agents to treat alopecia. And the effect will be enhanced in the concurrent intake of Finasteride pills and Minoxidil applied externally.
The transition from Minoxidil to Finasteride
If a man needs to make a transition from Minoxidil to Finasteride tablets, then for half a year they have to use these two drugs in parallel. Six months later, one of the medicines is abandoned; while the other is continue to be used.
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