With over 70% of men suffering from male pattern baldness (MPB) before the age of 35, many products advertise as solutions for this condition. Since men and women associate a full head of hair as a symbol of youth, power, strength, and sexual appeal, many men are willing to sacrifice to achieve luminous locks. However, before trying the treatment options available, you need to understand why MPB occurs.
Why Does It Happen?
Individuals who suffer from male pattern baldness have a genetic sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is toxic to men with this sensitivity, absorbing nutrients that would normally cause the hair follicles to grow. This process shortens the growth period, commonly stopping hair development along the temples and middle of the scalp. Scientists continue to explore other potential causes, such as thyroid problems, low iron, or low protein. Once you establish the reason for hair loss, you open the door to multiple treatment options.
One treatment for hair loss is a topical solution called Minoxidil, which is more widely known as Rogaine. Approved by the FDA, Rogaine acts as a type of “fertilizer” for hair follicles, slowing hereditary hair loss or stopping it completely. Many individuals report results within about four months. However, for a greater chance at success, some doctors recommend combining regular use of Rogaine with the prescription medication Finasteride.
Finasteride – A Prescription for Hair Restoration
Finasteride, also known as Propecia, prevents up to 70% of testosterone from converting to DHT to continue hair growth. Finasteride has some side effects, including the risk of erectile dysfunction and depression. Many individuals see results in three to twelve months; however, stopping the treatment puts you at risk for losing the hair you gained in the process as well as losing the rest of your hair. For a more permanent solution, a physician may recommend a hair transplant.
Choosing the right doctor is the most important aspect of a hair transplant. Technology advances have improved the look of transplants, imbedding up to five hairs per follicle to replicate a full head of hair. This option is very expensive, costing patients up to $15,000. Not everyone qualifies for a transplant so a physical examination is required to determine if you are a candidate.
Whether you choose to invest in one of the many treatments for your baldness or do nothing at all, the choice is yours. All of the methods available have their benefits and risks in the name of a healthy head of hair. Even if you choose to shave it all off, make the decision to do what makes you feel your most confident and embrace the new you.