What to Expect When Experiencing Male Pattern Baldness

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Male pattern baldness is by no means a rare occurrence. The majority of men will deal with male pattern baldness in their lives. That’s why it’s important to understand the condition and know what to expect. By nature, male pattern baldness typically follows a predictable pattern of hair loss. Hence why it’s called “pattern” baldness. Men most often experience receding hairlines and thinning at the crown.

Although the loss pattern is fairly predictable, the rate at which individuals lose their hair varies from person to person. Some may see a slow progression over many years, perhaps not even noticing it initially. Others may have more rapid hair loss, with handfuls of hair coming out in the shower. This already difficult experience can be even more challenging if you’re not expecting it. To help you prepare, here are some things you can expect when experiencing male pattern baldness.

8 Early Signs of Male Pattern Baldness - Fashionably Male

Progressive Hair Loss

Several factors influence the severity of hair loss progression, and dihydrotestosterone is among the most common. DHT is an androgen hormone derived from testosterone that tends to bind to hair follicles on the scalp. Hair follicles with a genetic sensitivity to DHT will then experience miniaturization, causing them to shrink over time. Hair follicle miniaturization can be a major contributing factor to visible hair loss associated with male pattern baldness.

Lack of blood flow to the scalp is another major contributing factor. Your blood is your body’s method of carrying oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to your hair follicles. So maintaining adequate blood flow to your scalp is crucial for hair health. DHT production and insufficient blood flow become increasingly common causes of balding as you age. You can prepare for aging by comparing finasteride vs. minoxidil treatments and using the best one for you ahead of time.

Receding Hairline

The pattern that male baldness most commonly follows is relatively predictable. One of the earliest significant signs of its progression is a receding hairline. The hair just above your temples begins to thin, typically leaving a “V” or “M” shaped hairline. This hairline then starts to move up and backward as time goes on.

In most cases, the hairline recession is symmetrical, meaning both sides of the hairline will exhibit the same shape. However, the degree and rate of recession can vary from person to person. It’s important to note that a receding hairline does not necessarily indicate the onset of male pattern baldness. A change in the hairline is a natural thing to experience as you age. However, if the hairline continues to recede and other significant signs develop, it likely indicates the condition.

Balding Crown

A thinning crown is usually the sign that confirms a receding hairline is connected to male pattern baldness. The height is the area at the top and back of your head. At this stage, you may even notice a bald spot. Over time, this rounded bald spot may become more pronounced, leading to an increasingly visible scalp area.

In some cases, the thinning crown can merge with the receding hairline, resulting in more extensive loss across the top of the scalp. Merging is often a result of progressed miniaturization of your hair follicles. However, there is a chance that most crown thinning will be limited to the front and top of your head.

Persistent Hair on Sides and Back

As mentioned previously, one major contributing factor that causes male pattern baldness is the presence of DHT in the scalp. As DHT binds to hair follicles, it shrinks them, thinning and pushing back your hairline. However, DHT primarily affects the hair on the front and top of your head for several reasons.

Firstly, hair follicles on the front and top of your head have different anatomy and genetic programming than those on the back and sides. Structurally, the hair follicles on the back and sides have longer growth and a shorter resting phase. This allows them to maintain the framework of their shafts for longer. Additionally, these back and side follicles are genetically more resistant to DHT. For both reasons, the hair follicles from these regions are often considered a “donor area” for hair transplants.

During this procedure, a surgeon removes follicles from these DHT-resistant areas and implants them in balding and thinning areas. This surgery is often a last resort for many men combatting hair loss, but it’s often seen as a permanent way to restore hair. It can also be a great way to boost your confidence if hair loss has affected your self-image.

Progression Can Have a Psychological Impact

Your hair thinning and loss may stop at the back and sides of your head, or you may become completely bald. Either way, hair loss can have a significant emotional and psychological impact. Even if you’re generally confident, you can expect it will affect your body image and self-esteem, however minor.

That said, remember that your hair’s fullness does not affect your character. As you experience hair loss, finding healthy coping methods is important. This may mean leaning into meaningful and fulfilling activities and nurturing the relationships in your life. Or it may mean seeking counseling or therapy when necessary. Find what works best for you and use it to help you navigate this experience.

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