Hair Care

Androgenic Alopecia (Pattern Baldness)

Written by Dr. Archana and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

 
Image: Androgenic Alopecia (Pattern Baldness)

Male pattern hair loss is more common in many people and is called androgenic alopecia. Usually, it begins around the temples and on the top of the head. It is M-shaped at first to reach around the head and insides. The complete scalp can be involved at times. Generally, it is associated with sex hormone imbalance, especially androgens, and is genetic. The main culprit is dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which when increased, can cause shortening of hair growth cycle and also delay in new hair growth. No new hair follicle will be formed but a clue for us is follicles are still alive which can be considered for treatment to grow back the dormant follicles.

Type of Baldness

  1. Male pattern - periphery.
  2. Female pattern - central.
  3. Alopecia areata - with bald spots, an autoimmune disease.
  4. Scarring alopecia – with scars due to infection or radiation
  5. Toxic alopecia- due to medications like hypertensive medication, blood thinners, chemotherapy, etc.

Causes of Male Baldness

  1. Hormonal imbalance.
  2. Injury or burns.
  3. Scalp infections like ringworm.
  4. Aging.
  5. Insufficient protein intake.
  6. Iron deficiency.
  7. Radiation or chemotherapy.
  8. Other drug usages.
  9. Psychological disorders - Trichotillomania – pulling out hair due to psychiatric disorder.
  10. Different hairstyles and hair treatments.
  11. Use of hair procedures including coloring.
  12. Handling hair roughly while brushing.
  13. Some medical conditions like lichen planus, celiac disease, psoriasis, syphilis, lupus, sarcoidosis, etc.
  14. Telogen effluvium where all the follicles go to resting phase and become dormant.

Medical Treatment Options

  • Minoxidil (Rogaine, Lipogaine, Kirkland) - It is available as 2 % solution or 5 % foams which can be applied to the scalp and is FDA approved. It is directly applied to the scalp and it slows hair loss and grows new hair, but you should continue the treatment for a long time. Adverse effects can happen but are negligible.
  • Finasteride (Propecia or Proscar) - They are oral preparations which bind to the enzyme and block DHT which slows down the growth of hair follicle. Thus, it slows hair loss, but has some side effects like chills and rigors, erectile dysfunction, etc.
  • Antifungal shampoos like Nizoral are also helpful.
  • Dutasteride (Avodart), which is a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor, inhibits DHT and helps in slowing hair loss.
  • Topical Spironolactone (Aldactone) can also be used.
  • Derma roller plastic can be tried to massage the scalp.
  • Prevent insulin resistance.
  • Stimulate hair follicle growth by laser therapy; low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is done to stimulate the growth of the follicle.
  • JAK inhibitor Tofacitinib is new in the market and is used in alopecia areata.
  • Stem cells can also be implanted which can grow as hair.
  • Fibroblast growth factor can also help in hair growth.
  • Hair follicle engineering is a new concept in hair growth field and their procedures are quite expensive.
  • Quorum sensing is a new concept and is still under the evolutionary stage.
  • Leech therapy is also helpful for baldness and it improves the circulation which causes hair to grow.
  • Acupuncture has also gained an advantage as it improves circulation and activating trigger points stimulate hair follicle growth.
  • Hair transplant is the last option and several hair follicles can be moved from one area to the bald area. There are two types of procedures - follicle unit transplant and follicle unit extraction. It is very effective and a permanent solution which can be done under local anesthesia.

Home Remedies for Male Baldness

1. Eat energy-rich foods such as orange, avocado, carrot, yogurt, sweet potato, pepper, fatty-fish like salmon having omega 3 fatty acids, spinach (vitamin A, iron, and folate), lean beans, green leafy vegetables, iron-fortified grains, eggs, lean meat like chicken and turkey, Biotin (vitamin B7) containing foods like onion, sweet potato, eggs, fortified cereals, chicken, oats, nuts and zinc-containing foods like oysters, lobsters and fortified cereals.

2. Drink a lot of water.

3. Drink green tea.

4. Do not drink a lot of caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and soda.

5. Eliminate stress.

6. Apply onion juice extract to the scalp and leave it for 30 minutes and wash it.

7. Saw palmetto is a plant of berry and can be applied topically.

8. Hibiscus and Bhringraj (Eclipta Alba/ false daisy) are also helpful if the extract is applied to the scalp or put in an oil and used.

9. Scalp massage is one of the best methods to improve circulation and cause hair follicle growth. Many oils are best applied to the scalp and are very effective. Essential oils like thyme, rosemary oil, cedarwood oil, and lavender are the best. You can even use peppermint oil, pumpkin seed oil, coconut oil, castor oil, almond oil, olive oil, amla (Indian gooseberry) oil and all are found to benefit hair growth.

10. Fenugreek seed (methi) paste can be directly applied for 40 minutes and left and washed. You can mix with water or milk.

11. Aloe vera gel also improves hair growth if applied.

12. Licorice root paste can be applied with water or saffron and milk and applied.

13. Coffee, honey, and olive oil can be mixed and applied.

14. Chinese hibiscus flower can be put to coconut or olive oil to charr it and collect oil and apply.

15. Beetroot, flax seeds, and coconut milk all are tried in this aspect.

16. Mustard oil and henna leaves is the best combination.

17. Beer, honey, and boiled wheat along with banana and egg yolk can be a great combination for hair pack tried with good results.

18. Stop smoking since it can cause reduced hair growth of a follicle.

Conclusion

I hope this detailed article about androgenic alopecia will give you both medical treatment options and home remedies which can be put into practice without any fear of side effects.

For more information consult a hair loss specialist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/dermatologist/hair-loss

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018

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