Male pattern baldness: getting to the root of the problem

Posted 3 October 2018 in Hair Loss, Men's Health

A man examines his receding hairline. Source: medicalimages.comMale pattern baldness, sometimes called genetic hair loss or alopecia androgenetica, affects or will affect as many as two thirds of all men at some point in their lifetime. For many, it is a source of embarrassment and upset and may even contribute to depression in some cases, as hair is often considered to be an important part of our identity, one of many ways in which we can express ourselves. (1)

What is male pattern baldness?

Male pattern baldness is the most commonly occurring type of hair loss in men. The first sign is often a bald spot forming on top of the scalp, with thinning of the hair at the temples (sides of the head). Usually a receding hairline will develop. It can sometimes result in complete baldness of the scalp, though this happens rarely, and if it does happen, it’s very gradually. The condition may occur in men of any age, but symptoms most commonly begin to appear in men in their thirties. (1)

Why does male pattern baldness happen?

Male pattern baldness is a genetic condition, meaning it runs in families. It’s commonly believed that the gene responsible is passed from mother to son, but it has been found that genes from either or both parents can contribute to male pattern baldness. (2)

It is believed that the genes involved code for hair follicles (the ‘roots’ from which individual hairs grow on the scalp) that are more sensitive to a hormone called dihydrotestosterone, which causes follicles to shrink and eventually stop working altogether. This translates to hairs becoming thinner and shorter until they are no longer produced. (2)

Can male pattern baldness be cured?

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for male pattern baldness. Thankfully, the progression of the condition can be slowed or stopped with the right treatment. A surgery known as a hair transplant can also be performed for more instant results, but this will still need aftercare with the right treatment. (1)

What treatment is available from Webmed Pharmacy for male pattern baldness?

Finasteride is an oral drug used to treat male pattern baldness. It works by lowering dihydrotestosterone levels, helping to slow the shrinkage of hair follicles, therefore promoting hair growth. It may take as long as six months for effects to show. If used after a hair transplant, it can help to maintain the hair. Finasteride needs to be taken daily long-term, otherwise the effects will be lost. It is available to purchase from Webmed Pharmacy as the branded product, Propecia, or the generic, Aindeem (Finasteride). Both the branded and generic products work in exactly the same way as they both have finasteride as the active ingredient at the same strength. The only difference is that the generic is considerably cheaper.

There will soon be a range of topical products available to purchase from Webmed Pharmacy which can be used alongside finasteride to optimise the effects. These products are recommended by Dr Mabroor Bhatty, one of the top surgeons in the field of hair transplant and cosmetics in the UK.

The first of these products is Tony Maleedy Juniper Scalp Therapy Shampoo. Composed of essential oils and moisture-binding compounds of natural origin, it works by deeply cleansing the scalp to remove scale (dead skin and oils); reducing the levels of a fungus which can live on the scalp and cause a number of irritating and uncomfortable conditions such as dandruff, spots and flaking of the scalp; and slowing down the life cycle of skin cells on the scalp, which reduces further build-up of scale. All of this promotes optimum health of the scalp and can strengthen hair follicles, reducing hair loss.

This shampoo should be used at least twice weekly to tackle hair loss, but ideally daily for six months, after which frequency can be reduced.

The next product is Tony Maleedy Juniper Scalp Therapy Conditioner, which can be used alone or alongside the shampoo. Containing four plant-derived organic oils and amino acids, it works by sealing moisture into the hair, preventing breakage and strengthening the hair. This in turn helps to protect against hair loss.

According to Dr Bhatty, Tony Maleedy products can be used both before a hair transplant to prepare the scalp, and afterwards to calm the scalp and promote the health of the scalp and hair.

The final products are Regaine for Men Extra Strength Foam and Solution. The active ingredient in Regaine is minoxidil 5%, and it works by improving blood flow to the scalp, which reinvigorates hair follicles, even reversing the shrinkage in some cases. This will result in thicker, longer, stronger hair growing from the follicles.

Regaine should be massaged into the scalp twice daily, preferably every twelve hours. The hair and scalp must be completely dry before application. It usually takes two to four months to take effect.

All of these products can be used alongside one another to combat hair loss and will be available to buy from Webmed Pharmacy as part of an online Hair Loss Clinic, with discounts applied when multiple products are purchased at the same time, or when longer ‘courses’ of treatment are purchased. Watch this space to make sure you know when Webmed’s Hair Loss Clinic gets up and running!

Author: Gabby Gallagher MPharm

Medically reviewed by: Superintendent pharmacist Margaret Hudson BSc(Hons)MRPharmS 03/10/18

References

  1. Men’s Health Forum. Hair loss FAQs [cited 20 September 2018]. Available at: https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/hair-loss-faqs

  2. Alopecia UK. Types of Alopecia [cited 20 September 2018]. Available at: https://www.alopecia.org.uk/Pages/FAQs/Category/types-of-alopecia

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