Most men who have hair loss are experiencing common genetic thinning based on their family history. Did you know there are other reasons why men can also lose hair? The following are the top 5 reasons why men can experience hair loss. Interestingly, one of them – scarring hair loss – is actually on the rise.
Read on to discover why men lose their hair and decide if you need to seek help from your local dermatologist.
AGA (Androgenetic Alopecia)
This is the most common type of hair loss experienced by men. The medical term for it is androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also referred to as “male pattern baldness.” It is due to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which acts on genetically sensitive hair follicles causing them to miniaturize over each growth cycle. This results in shorter, smaller, finer hairs. Over time, this “miniaturization” process leads to the appearance of thinning or balding.
This type of hair loss can be treated with medication and/or surgery depending upon the age of the patient and the extent of the hair loss. The most effective medication for AGA is oral Finasteride which blocks the formation of DHT and prevents the cycle of miniaturization. Surgical hair restoration can be performed by one of two methods – either Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) using a strip or Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) where follicles are removed one-by-one from the back of the scalp.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition where the body produces antibodies against its own hair follicles. It is characterized by the sudden appearance of circular patches of bald spots on the scalp, beard, eyelashes, or other parts of the body. Treatment consists of topical or injectable steroid medication.
Telogen effluvium is a condition where hair is shifted into its resting phase and then several months later is shed. This can be caused by several medications and many different medical conditions or intense psychologic and physical stressors. Interestingly, women’s hair is more likely to experience stress-related shedding compared to men. Fortunately, telogen effluvium is usually reversible once the stressor resolves and specific medical treatment is not needed. Full resolution can take up to 1-2 years.
Trichotillomania is a compulsive disorder characterized by pulling of one’s hair. While the scalp is the most common location, patients may also pluck their eyebrows or eyelashes compulsively. It results in patchy areas of hair loss with broken hairs of varying lengths. Patients suspected of having trichotillomania should be sent for psychiatric evaluation.
Lichen Planopilaris (LPP)
Lichen Planopilaris (LPP) is a type of scarring hair loss that is caused by inflammation that affects the hair follicles. It shows up as localized scaly, red patches that eventually results in scarring and hair loss. Symptoms of itch or tingling may be present. This incidence of this condition has been increasing lately and is now more readily recognized by dermatologists. It is important to treat this condition so that scarring can be prevented. Treatment includes oral and topical steroids, and both oral and topical anti-inflammatory medications to slow the process and halt further progression of hair loss.
It is important that patients who experience hair loss have a consultation with a dermatologist to make sure that the diagnosis is correct and the treatment appropriate.
Dr. Christine Shaver, Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration, NYC.