Overcoming male pattern baldness is a controversial subject that has garnered much attention in recent years. Male pattern baldness is the hair bandit that robs both men and women of their precious locks one tiny hair at a time until ultimately thinning is detected, or that unwanted bald spot is noticed just before the big 40th birthday celebration. How to overcome male pattern baldness (AKA androgenic alopecia) has lead to a vast array of products designed to regrow those lost locks. It has also spurred a market for miracle hair regrowth products that can have you looking like a hairy caveman in just a few short weeks. But before we get into solutions we must first understand the condition itself.
Male pattern baldness is the 800 pound gorilla in the world of hair loss. It accounts for an estimated 90% of all hair loss cases and is caused by a destructive combination of genetics and hormones. If one of your parents has the condition you have a 50% chance of experiencing the same outcome. As far as the hormone component goes the culprit is an obscure hormone called dihydrotestosterone or DHT which is converted from testosterone in the body by the enzyme 5 alpha reductase type 2. If DHT levels are normal it is a useful hormone that regulates the hair replacement cycle but if too much DHT is produced hair loss will occur at varying rates depending on how high the levels are. Dihydrotestosterone basically strangles the hair by reducing blood flow to the scalp causing existing hair to atrophy and making it nearly impossible for new hair growth to occur. At this point many of you are saying “please stop it; I can’t stand any more bad news”! That’s my cue to move on to solutions.
The key to overcoming male pattern baldness and reducing hair loss over time is to recognize the condition early. Men should look for a receding hair line, thinning on the top of the head, and/or a bald spot on the crown. Women on the other hand will begin to notice generally thinning evenly distributed evenly over the entire scalp.
In order to overcome or slow male pattern baldness DHT must either be blocked or reduced. Once this is accomplished a hair growth stimulator should be applied to the scalp to accelerate new growth.
You will have a couple of choices in your quest to block DHT; Propecia (prescription) or natural solutions such as Saw Palmetto or Nettle. Each option takes a slightly different approach.
Propecia works by blocking 5 alpha reductase type 2, the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. Clinical studies have shown that only a very small percentage of men don’t benefit from this product though hair regrowth levels were unpredictable. Be aware that Propecia may come with some unwanted side effects, so ask your doctor about these before trying this product.
Saw Palmetto (men) and Nettle (men or women) block or reduce the DHT as it makes its way to your scalp. These herbs are best used with both hair nutrition (biotin, B12, B6) and a hair growth stimulator such as Minoxidil.
In summary, there are no easy permanent answers to overcoming male pattern baldness, especially if the condition has been chipping away at your hairline and ego for many years. Conversely, if you have recognized the condition early there are a number of excellent hair regrowth products that are effective at both reducing hair loss over time and promoting new hair growth. This is an avenue worth considering but keep in mind that each person is unique and results may vary. With this in mind if you are unsuccessful initially don’t hesitate to search for other options until you find the one that’s right for you.