Hair Restoration for Men
By the time men reach middle age, almost 50 percent experience some degree of hair thinning. It's completely normal. For some men, a balding scalp is embarrassing and shakes his self-confidence. In other cases, hair loss can happen in unattractive patterns and prematurely age a man. Whatever the reason, if a man wants to change his appearance with hair restoration, the methods available today are safe, effective and advanced.
Causes of Androgenetic Alopecia in Men
Male-pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, is the most common type of hair loss in men. It is caused by the regulation of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Male-pattern baldness progresses with age, and its patterns and progression are influenced by genetics.
Our hair has three stages: anagen (growth) phase, catagen (degredation) phase and telogen (resting) phase. The growth phase lasts two to eight years, and then the hair goes into a short transitional phase (catagen), which lasts two to three weeks, where the blood supply to the hair is cut off and growth stops. The telogen phase lasts about two months, while the hair rests. When the anagen phase re-starts, it pushes the dead hair out. Humans typically lose 50 to 100 hairs from their heads a day.
When a man experiences hair loss, it happens during the anagen phase. DHT slows hair growth, which reduces the follicle size and makes the hair finer and, eventually, stop growing.
DHT causes male hair loss by reducing the growth phase and causing the hair follicles to shrink, which makes hairs very thin and, eventually, stop appearing. The photo on the left shows hair follicles that have not been affected by androgenetic alopecia. The hairs are thicker, and the follicles are more densely populated. The photo on the right shows thinning hair caused by androgenetic alopecia. The hairs are thinner, and the follicles appear to be farther apart.
Classes of Male-Pattern Baldness
The Norwood-Hamilton Scale of male pattern baldness identifies seven general patterns of male pattern baldness, and it depicts receding hairlines, thinning at the crown, and the various stages and combinations of hair thinning in men. The onset and trends are hard to predict, but most experts agree that the earlier hair thinning appears, the more severe it is likely to be.
Three areas of the scalp are sensitive to DHT: facial hairline, top of head and crown.
- Class I is not considered to be balding. From a top view, some recession at the upper brow is seen; this is typically an adolescent hairline.
- Class II is also not considered to be balding, although some recession above the upper brow and at the temples is seen.
- Class III has deeper recession at the temple and is the first stage of male hair loss.
- Class III Vertex is Class III with some thinning at the crown.
- Class IV is further recession of the hairline and thinning at the crown with a solid band of hair that separates the crown and frontal scalp.
- Class V shows a narrowing of the solid band of hair between the crown and frontal scalp.
- Class VI occurs when the band of hair between the crown and frontal scalp disappear. The crown and top of the scalp are bald, but the sides are full and have a high profile.
- Class VII is extensive hair loss with only a "wreath" of hair around the mid scalp and back.
- Class A indicates a more apparent linear thinning of the hair, rather than the "widow's peak" pattern in the other classes. This class is less common.
Types of Hair Loss in Men
Male-pattern baldness is referred to as either diffuse patterned or unpatterned alopecia, and the distinction between the two is important because it helps determine whether the man-or woman-would be a candidate for hair transplant surgery.
Diffuse-pattern alopecia is the most common pattern of hair loss in men and shows up as diffuse thinning in the top, crown and front with a stable "wreath" zone above the ears and around the back of the head. Men who have diffuse-pattern androgenetic alopecia are good candidates for hair transplant surgery because they have a stable area of permanent hair that will hide surgical scars.
Diffuse unpattern alopecia is less common in men and occurs when a man has diffuse hair loss all over his head, with no stable area. Men with this condition are not candidates for surgical hair transplant because the stability of the donor hair is uncertain, and as the hair continues to thin, the scars from the donor site will become visible.
Hair Restoration for Men
If you are a man who has experienced an abnormal amount of hair in the shower or on your pillow, or you've changed your hairstyle to hid thinning hair, you are one of 35 million men in the United States who are affected by some degree of male pattern baldness, according to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery. Androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, is the most common cause. It is hereditary-from mom and/or dad-and is caused by dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a substance found in men that shrinks hair follicles until the no longer produce hair.
Hair restoration for men who have experienced thinning of the hair and want to change their appearances to restore a more youthful look have options.
- Surgical hair restoration: Hair restoration surgery is the only permanent method for hair restoration, which is the biggest advantage of this method.
- Medical hair restoration: Two medical solutions are available: minoxidil and Propecia. These are safe and effective methods for hair restoration, but they work only as long as the man takes them and follows the usage directions. Propecia is available by prescription only and requires management by a physician. Minoxilid is available over the counter, and physician management is not required but it is recommended.
- Cosmetic: Hairpieces and hair weaves have come a long way in the last 50 years. However, they can be uncomfortable, appear unnatural, require careful maintenance and over a long time can be expensive.
If you are a man who is considering hair restoration surgery, read the pages of this website and use our physician locator to find one near you. Schedule a consultation, and go to it with a list of questions. Ask to see the surgeon's portfolio of before and after photos. Hair restoration surgery is designed to be a permanent solution to help restore your self-confidence and a more youthful look.