Skip to content

Hair Loss Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Male Pattern Baldness Causes

Androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness (MPB) is responsible for the vast majority of hair loss in men. While there are many possible reasons people lose hair, including serious diseases, reaction to certain medications, and, in rare cases, extremely stressful events, most hair loss in men can be blamed on heredity.

What male pattern baldness sufferers inherit are hair follicles with a genetic sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Hair follicles sensitive to DHT begin to miniaturize, shortening the lifespan of each hair follicle affected. Eventually, these affected follicles stop producing cosmetically acceptable hair.

Recommended Related to Hair Loss

Hair Problems

It can be long and wavy, short and straight, frizzy and unmanageable, or smooth and shiny. Hair comes in many different lengths, styles, colors, and textures. Yet just about everyone -- no matter what kind of hair they have -- falls prey to at least one hair problem at some point in life. This article covers some of the most common hair dilemmas, from hair loss to greasy hair.

Read the Hair Problems article > >

Male pattern baldness is generally characterized with the onset of a receding hairline and thinning crown. Hair in these areas including the temples and mid-anterior scalp appear to be the most sensitive to DHT. This pattern eventually progresses into more apparent baldness throughout the entire top of the scalp, leaving only a rim or "horseshoe" pattern of hair remaining in the more advanced stages of MPB. For some men, even this remaining rim of hair can be affected by DHT.

What Is DHT?

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a derivative or by-product of testosterone. Testosterone converts to DHT with the aid of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. While the entire genetic process of MPB is not completely understood, scientists do know that DHT shrinks hair follicles, and that when DHT is suppressed, hair follicles continue to thrive.

Hair follicles that are sensitive to DHT must be exposed to the hormone for a prolonged period of time for the affected follicle to complete the miniaturization process. Today, with proper intervention, this process can be slowed or even stopped if caught early enough.

What male pattern baldness sufferers inherit are hair follicles with a genetic sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a derivative or by-product of testosterone.

Published on March 1, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from the American Hair Loss Association

Today on WebMD

hair in hairbrush
Ways to go about it naturally.
Young woman with thick curly hair
Causes and solutions.
 
man with thinning hair
How to keep the hair you have.
Closeup of Hairbrush with Hair Loss
Understand the basics.
 
Mens Hair Loss When To Start Treatment
Article
A Dermatologist Talks About Hair Loss
Article
 
Rogaine And Propecia For Hair Loss
Article
Woman looking at thinning hair in hand mirror
Video
 
Balding man in mirror
Slideshow
Close up of comb in woman's hair
Quiz
 
Young woman with thick curly hair
Slideshow
hair problems
Slideshow