If you are one of the two-in-three men who begin to lose their hair long before it starts to turn gray, you definitely want to keep reading. There are a lot of male pattern baldness solutions being offered out there, and we want to make sure you best understand all your options before you decide how to treat your hair loss.
And, if you’re a woman concerned about “female pattern baldness,” this information is for you as well. While hair loss tends to affect men and women differently, many of the solutions offered, as well as the risks and the results, apply to anyone seeking medically-approved solutions to their hair loss.
Human hair has three different growing cycles: anagen (growth), catagen (transition), and telogen (rest). Most of the time your hair is on your head — about 90 percent — that hair is in the growth phase. These phases last anywhere between two and eight years.
The transition phase lasts about two weeks, and it is during this time the hair follicle shrinks. The resting cycle lasts, on average, about three months. For most people, hair grows about six inches per year. So… why does hair stop growing … or coming back in? What causes pattern baldness?
When looking at both male and female pattern baldness there are some similarities as well as some key differences patients should understand as they consider treatment.
Androgenetic alopecia, colloquial known as “male pattern baldness,” begins relatively early, affecting about two-in-three men before the age of 35. However, many of these guys actually began losing their hair well before then. And that 66 percent increases as we age. The percentage of men over 50 with “significantly thinning” hair tops 85 percent.
Medical studies have determined male pattern baldness is related to the male hormone dihydrotestosterone. This hormone causes “old” hairs in the scalp to be replaced by shorter and thinner hairs in a predictable pattern, generally at the temples and on the crown of the head.
Other studies have found that another root cause of male pattern baldness is that the stem cells in our scalps can lose the ability to develop the sort of cells that become hair follicles.
Female pattern baldness is a more pervasive medical issue than many people realize. About 40 percent of women will experience significant hair loss before the age of 50, and about 55 percent will not reach the age of 80 with a full head of hair. In the vast majority of these women, the hair loss is hereditary, and it happens for similar reasons as it hair loss in men.
Normally, when a hair follicle is shed, that follicle is replaced by hair that is equal in size to the one before. However, for women with pattern baldness, the new hair tends to be finer and thinner. This happens because the follicles are shrinking. Eventually, those follicles will stop growing completely.
Because so many people are impacted by pattern baldness, it’s important that we help people understand two important facts:
While the medical terminology may be similar, men and women typically experience androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness) in different ways. Again, these are typical conditions. Your situation may be different.
Male pattern baldness commonly begins as a “receding hairline” or “bald spot,” and, often, it is a combination of the two. Women tend to experience thinning hair all over the scalp or in a number of spots, leading to decreased volume. Occasionally, this occurs in enough of a concentration to develop bald spots as well.
Along with these physical markers, hair loss can bring social and emotional difficulties as well. Personal stories of job changes, stalled careers, depression, lower self-esteem, self-consciousness and relationship troubles are common.
For many years, the options available to treat or hide hair loss came with their own social stigmas. People who wanted to slow or reverse hair loss and stay away from obvious hairpieces typically had limited viable options. There were ointments, creams and medications that never seemed to deliver. Surgery was expensive, and most surgical options came with discouraging drawbacks.
While there are multiple different versions of hair transplant surgery, every surgical option for reducing or relieving male and female pattern baldness, comes with distinct positives and negatives that must be carefully weighed before you commit. What each of these procedures have in common is that all surgeries come with inherent risks that must be considered before agreeing to these treatments. Some of these risks include: infection, pain, scarring, implant failure and improper healing.
Until recently, one of the biggest drawbacks to seeking hair loss treatments was being forced to weigh the various negatives, as well as the costs involved, against the desire not to be bald. Fortunately, there’s a proven treatment option that delivers results without challenging your risk tolerance for potentially troublesome side-effects.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy is a minimally-invasive treatment that offers proven results for patients dealing with male or female pattern baldness. PRP is a unique treatment option that causes patients to generate new cells, including follicle cells, leading to hair restoration.
Through PRP treatment, patients can regrow their own hair, naturally, without any of the side-effects common with surgical options. Plus, the cosmetic aspects are even better. The newly-grown hair blends completely with the rest of your hair, meaning, no linear scar and no growth lines.
Stem Cell Therapy is another proven non-surgical option for restoring hair lost to pattern baldness. Because the process utilizes the patient’s own stem cells to repair and regenerate damaged cells, stem cell treatment is safe and free of any surgical side-effects. When used to treat pattern baldness, stem cells repair or replace the damaged follicle cells that caused the hair loss. You regrow your own hair, safely and naturally.