Baldness, also known as alopecia, is where one starts losing hair from the body and often on the head. This form of hair loss is often experienced by men and is commonly referred to as male pattern baldness. The causes of this hair loss are attributed to many factors. However, there are forms of baldness that are associated with autoimmune disorders like alopecia areata and alopecia totalis, which is the most extreme with the victim losing all hair on their head and body.
What Causes Balding?
As mentioned above, hair loss can be taken about by many different factors. These include fungal infections, aging, traumatic damage (where a person compulsively pulls their hair off), nutritional deficiencies, and / or chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Usually, it will take about 15 to 25 years before a person suffering from male pattern hair loss to go bald. However, there are men who go bald in less than five years.
The Standard Balding Process
Hair follicles, which are tiny pouches under the skin, are responsible for creating hair. Each follicle grows a hair for about 3 years. When the 3 years are over, the hair is shed and a new one is grown. In the case of male pattern hair loss, the affected scalp follicles gradually grow smaller. As they shrink, the new hair that grows from the follicle is thinner than the last one. At the same time, the follicle's hair growth cycle grows shorter and hairs are grown and shed in a less time frame than the previous ones. With time, all that is left is a very small follicle and only a thin hair stump that does not even make it out to the surface.
Signs And Symptoms Of Balding
The first symptom of baldness in a man, and in certain cases women, is the loss of hair in circular patterns, scarring, skin lesions and the growth of dandruff. As for people suffering from autoimmune disorders like alopecia areata, the first symptoms will be the loss of hair in unusual areas like above the ears, on their eyebrows, or at the backside of their head, places that male pattern baldness never affects. As for male pattern loss, the loss and thinning of hair starts at the temple and crown before completely thinning out or falling out.
Who Experiences Male Pattern Baldness?
Almost all men experience some form of hair loss by their 60's. However, the time or age at which hair loss starts is not constant. Research shows that out of every ten men, about three will start experiencing hair loss by the time they are 30 years. Interestingly, about half of all the men in their 50's exhibit some significant balding.
Can Balding Be Treated?
Male pattern hair loss is treatable. There are medications that will help balance out the hormones that affect hair growth. By using such medication, the patient's follicles are given a new lease of life and can easily grow back to their normal size; allowing for the normal growth of hair. Nonetheless, most of these medications will take some time before the results desired can be achieved.
If you are experiencing any form of hair loss, it is important that you visit your doctor or dermatologist for tests and for more advice on how to handle or work with the condition.