Male Pattern Baldness

What Is Male Pattern Baldness?

Male pattern baldness is the common type or cause of hair loss that develops in most men at some stage in their lives. On average it usually takes 15-25 years for the entire cycle to produce total baldness, however, some unfortunate men can be completely and utterly bald in fewer than five years.

It is a progressive, diffuse loss of scalp hair in men, dependant on the presence of the androgenic hormone testosterone, and is caused by a combination of genetic and hormonal factors. Also called alopecia hereditaria, androgenetic alopecia, male pattern alopecia, patterned alopecia.

Male Pattern Baldness (MPB) is believed to be hereditary and hair loss can be aggravated by hormonal imbalances. One aspect that is certainly apparent across all ages, gender and ethnic grouping is that hair loss diminishes confidence
and self-esteem in the individual.

The Hamilton-Norwood scale is a way of measuring male pattern baldness. It was introduced by Dr. James Hamilton in the 1950s and later revised and updated by Dr. O’Tar Norwood in the 1970s.

The main types of balding based on this scale are anterior (front) and vertex (back). The scale was produced after a survey across 1,000 white adult male subjects in various degrees of baldness.

Typically, the hair begins to recede or regress at the front above the temples, together with a noticeable thinning of the hair on top of the head. A bald patch gradually develops in the middle of the scalp. The receding front areas, and the bald patch on the top (the crown) gradually enlarge and converge together.

A rim of hair is often left around the back and sides of the scalp.

The specific stages of hair loss are illustrated below.


What are the facts about Male Pattern Baldness


It is important to note that not all cases are identical so an accurate system of measuring male pattern baldness is a difficult task. The gradual changes that occur in the scalp skin however, are the same whether describing male or female baldness. The Norwood scale provides one of the most accurate current classifications.

There are seven levels of loss in the Norwood scale:

1)    A normal head of hair, with no visible signs of hair loss.

2)   The hair is receding at the temples forming a widow’s peak.

3)   The temples recede more and the frontal hairline thins.

4)   The bald spot appears on the crown and the frontal area recedes further.

5)   The hair in the frontal area and the crow thin out further and start to join up.

6)   The final strip of hair which separates the crown from the frontal area disappears.

7)   The classic “horseshoe” look – hair no longer exists on the frontal area and the crown and existing hair recedes towards the neck and the ears.

An alternative…….

Norwood’s classification neglected to integrate disparities amongst different ethnic groups, displaying various patterns of hair loss.

“Alvi Armani Hair Loss Scale” is a new classification system developed by Dr. Antonio Armani. It represents the genetic pattern of baldness globally from various ethnic backgrounds and diverse groups displayed in one concise system.

Dr. Armani’s 5 different patterns of balding depict global diversity in receding patterns.

Pattern 1: Describes Norwood’s older classification. Hair loss from the front and back regions eventually converge in the middle.

Pattern 2: Frontal hair loss progresses towards the crown.

Pattern 3: Hair recedes from the crown progressing to the front hairline.

Pattern 4: (Ludwig’s Pattern) Centrally based balding, progressing outwards. Common with women, the pattern also targets a vast majority of men in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions.

Pattern 5: A crescent shape progressing around a small tuft of hair, commonly found in men of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Asian regions.

What stage do you think you are?


Who is affected by male pattern baldness?


Nearly all men experience some form of baldness by the time they reach their 60s, with well over half the male population experiencing hair loss by the age of 50. The age at which hair loss begins differs from individual to individual.

Many men in their twenties or early thirties can develop male pattern baldness and it is not uncommon to discover a 30 year old male with complete baldness.

Most affected sufferers desire some form of hair loss treatment or solution to their condition. Modern applications can prevent further hair loss often promote new growth.

Some women can develop a type of hair loss, mainly at the crown, which differs from male pattern baldness. Loss of hair in women is common after the menopause and is measured using the Ludwig Scale.


Physiological Aspects of Male Pattern Baldness


There are two key areas in understanding the emotional impact of hair loss:

1) The reaction and interaction of people to those suffering from hair loss. These are often influenced by the negative stereotypes of baldness and the importance we place on appearance.

2) The individual’s own perception of body image and self-esteem.

Unfortunately hair loss has historically been regarded by others as a negative trait, with countless unfavourable stereotyped images of bald man or woman being used to illustrate this.

For example;

  1. Monks would shave their heads to express religious submission, but also to deter the opposite sex buy appearing unattractive or undesirable.
  2. In the animal kingdom healthy hair/ fur is the most visible indication of good health of the individual, playing a vital role in the attraction of potential mates.
  3. Alopecia is often used in paintings and productions to convey evil. Certainly all of us can recount an evil character in a film that lacked hair; think James Bond movies!

A common social perception is that hair loss is a sign of age and weakness. However, due to the success of some bald Hollywood celebrities coupled with the power of equality and human rights, male pattern baldness does not carry the same negative stigma of old.

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