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Why Is Pattern Baldness More Common In Men?

  • 5th July 2022
  • 6 min read
Anne Kremer
Medically reviewed by Dr. Anne Kremer - GMC No. 7152333 on 5th July 2022
Next review due on 5th July 2023

What is male pattern baldness?

Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is the most common form of hair loss. The telltale sign of male pattern baldness can be seen in a receding hairline and a thinning of the hair around the crown. 

How much an individual is affected by male pattern baldness will vary from person to person, with some people only experiencing thinning, while others will go completely bald in the affected areas. The radius of affected hair can also vary considerably; with some men losing all the hair on the top of their head, while others will retain the familiar ‘horseshoe’ pattern of hair.


How many men experience male pattern baldness in the UK?

As many as 6.5 million men in the UK suffer from male pattern baldness. In fact, by the age of 60, most men will have experienced some form of hair loss. But it’s not just in older age that men can be affected, as male pattern baldness can manifest in men as early as the late teenage years.

While some men embrace their hair loss, going bald can be a highly emotionally distressing time for others — especially when it happens at a young age.


Why is pattern baldness more common in men?

Pattern baldness isn’t exclusive to just men, women can have it too. Permanent hair loss affects roughly 70% of men and 40% of women. Although both men and women can suffer from hair loss, however, it’s seen almost twice as frequently in men.

The main reason for this is due to a by-product of testosterone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). As testosterone is produced in much higher quantities in men than women, DHT is found more frequently in men, which leads to a higher chance of developing hair loss.


What causes male pattern baldness?


A common cause of male pattern baldness is through your genetics. Those with a family history of baldness can affect the likelihood of developing male pattern baldness. It is believed that men with more first and second-degree relatives who are balding have a huge chance of being affected by hair loss themselves.


We’ve mentioned DHT contributing to hair loss, but what exactly does it do to cause baldness?

DHT is an androgen: a sex hormone that contributes to the development of what is thought to be “male” characteristics, such as body hair. When flowing freely through your bloodstream, DHT can link to the hair follicle receptors on your scalp. This can cause them to shrink, making them less able to support a healthy head of hair.

Hair follicles go through a growth cycle of roughly two to six years. During this time, the same individual hair will grow from a follicle, even if cut or shaved. Once the cycle is over, the hair will fall out naturally and new hair will take its place. 

High levels of DHT, however, can cause the growth cycle to shrink. Not only can this lead to thinner or more brittle hair, but it can cause hair to grow back more slowly, or not at all.


Can you prevent male pattern baldness?

As androgenic alopecia is directly linked to an individual’s genetics, it can’t be prevented. Thankfully, however, it can still be treated and its progression can be slowed down.

Medication, diet and lifestyle changes can all help to prevent hair loss. The key is to start treatments as early as possible. As people age, the rate of hair growth slows, making it more difficult to treat in later life. If you start to see the signs of hair loss or thinning, consult your doctor early to see what can be done.


Can I get a hair transplant with male pattern baldness?

Hair transplants are a permanent hair loss solution that is suitable for people with male pattern baldness. The procedure involves extracting hair from a donor area — the hair around the back and sides of your head that don’t thin — and transplanting it to the balding areas. The transplanted follicles will then heal and grow like normal hair.

There are two main methods of hair transplants, FUE Hair extraction (Follicular Unit Extraction) and FUT Hair transplantation (Follicular Unit Transfer). A patient will be recommended for a particular surgery based on their individual circumstances, as each procedure has its own method of hair follicle extraction — meaning one transplant may be more suitable for a patient than the other.


Celebrities who have experienced hair loss

Hair loss affects many of us, and it’s only natural to feel deflated or self-conscious when noticing the first signs of baldness. The good news is that there are options available to you — and if you want a little confidence boost, remember that hair loss can affect anyone.

That’s right, Hollywood movie stars, professional athletes and even royalty aren’t immune to male pattern baldness. In fact, here are some celebrities that have, or still do, suffer from hair loss:

  • Charlie Sheen
  • Prince William
  • Ben Affleck
  • Matthew McConaughey
  • Robert Pattinson
  • Jude Law
  • John Travolta
  • Daniel Craig
  • Nicholas Cage


Getting help with your male pattern baldness

If you suffer from male pattern baldness and are looking for a permanent solution, speak to our hair transplantation experts at FUE Clinics. Whether you’re still in the early stages or have experienced hair loss for years, a free consultation with one of our specialists will give you the opportunity to speak to an industry expert who can guide you through your options.

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