Understanding Male Hair Loss
In many families, balding has become almost an expected occurrence as a man ages. Even though these men are expecting male hair loss, they don’t escape the emotional turmoil that this condition often causes.
The medical term for genetic male hair loss is “androgenetic alopecia”. For most men, the technical term falls far short of describing the condition. Understanding the cause of hair loss doesn’t guarantee cheerful acceptance, but it can go a long way in helping the victim to cope.
The cause of male hair loss in the vast majority of men is genetic, or a trait inherited from one’s parents. Basically, if one’s family is genetically predisposed to male hair loss, the hormones that developed masculine traits during puberty will begin working against oneself at some point, causing hair to thin and fall out. A certain gene causes the hair follicles to change after puberty, although hair loss may occur until much later. As a man matures, a form of testosterone called DHT begins to rise, and the already affected hair follicles to function less effectively. The hormone imbalance caused by the DHT causes the hair follicle to work less and less, causing the hair that grows there to grow thinner and eventually die and fall out.
This process is called “androgenetic alopecia” by the medical establishment, but many men have much more colorful names for it. Of course, anyone watching late night television knows that there are many hair loss remedies marketed to men and often women. Some medical treatments include the FDA approved Rogaine and Propecia, retail names for the drugs minoxidil and finesteride, respectively. Many companies market hair thickeners and gels, designed to help the hair remaining look thicker, but not providing a solution to the underlying problem.
Of course, there are many “natural” and herbal treatments that claim to regrow hair, some more effective than others. Billions of dollars are spent each year on these treatments. Many men choose hair replacement, plugs or reseeding and some even try a toupee.
Understanding male genetic hair loss is necessarily the first step to searching for a hair loss remedy or even one’s acceptance of baldness. The ultimate goal in either situation is to eliminate male hair loss as a cause of one’s emotional stress.