Hair: curly, thick, long, thin, gray, brown - all types of hair does different things for different people. But what about those who don’t have any? Or those who are in the process of losing it?
Some men accept their balding scalps graciously and as a matter of course. Some even speed up the process, figuring if they’ve lost most of their hair, they may as well shave off the rest. Others fight it every step of the way, from growing it long and combing it over, to poofing it up as much as they can, to give the illusion of more hair. And, of course, there are the men who spend money on hair pieces, plugs, surgery and many different kinds of potions guaranteed to help regrow your hair.
But what is male pattern baldness?
Everyone who has hair loses it every day. You can see that in the hairbrush in your bathroom or on the shower floor after you’ve washed your hair. It’s estimated that we lose about 10,000 strands every day - after it’s been in your head for about five years or so.
Again, for most of us, the hairs are replaced and the cycle continues. For men with male pattern baldness, this doesn’t happen. The hairs fall out and aren’t replaced, which causes a gradual loss of overall hair. Usually, it begins at the temple (receding hairline) or at the very top (crown) of the head.
Doctors don’t know exactly why men lose hair in this manner, but it is genetic as it isn’t common in women. Testosterone, the “male” hormone, does play a role by combing with an enzyme, which then weakens the hair.
It’s important to understand that male pattern baldness isn’t the same thing as the baldness experienced by people who have an illness that causes hair loss, called alopecia. As well, hair loss from other causes, like chemotherapy, are much more sudden, with clumps of hair coming out.
If you’re concerned about your hair loss, the best thing you can do is speak with your doctor to be sure that it is simply male pattern baldness and if so, to see if there is anything that can be done.