5 Common Types Of Male Hair Loss
Millions of people across the world will experience some form of hair loss within their lifetime. Balding or hair thinning is an especially common problem for men, who have a 4 in 7 chance of inheriting genetic baldness. An estimated 25% of men in the U.S. will start experiencing hair loss by age 30, with that number increasing to 50% by age 50 (source).
These are the most common types of hair loss:
Pattern hair loss
Androgenic alopecia, commonly referred to as male pattern baldness, is the hair thinning that occurs commonly with age. It has a strong genetic component from both the mother or father’s side and can start even in a person’s twenties.
Treatment options are somewhat limited for this type of hair loss. That said, minoxidil (Rogaine) 5% foam or solution has the most data supporting it. A less effective alternative is the androgen-blocking medication spironolactone for use in women, or finasteride (Propecia) used in both men and women. If advanced enough, hair transplants may be a good option to provide long-term results.
Hair loss as a direct result of a medical issue (most commonly thyroid, anemia and hormone related) can be either sudden or insidious, and presents as increased hair shedding often leaving generalized thinning over the entire scalp. The medical abnormalities can often be detected with simple blood work and can then be corrected with medications or supplements. The hair loss may take months or even a year to fully recover.
Stress-related hair loss
Telogen effluvium (stress-induced hair loss) presents with any significant stress on the body (a common cause for women is after childbirth). These stressors include high fever, crash diet/sudden weight loss, medication change, significant surgery or significant emotional stress (such as divorce or death of a family member).
This also presents with increased shedding and generalized thinning over the entire scalp. Once there has been a full recovery from the stressor, the hair loss may again take months or even a year to reverse.
Autoimmune hair loss
Alopecia areata is the most unique presentation of hair loss with the often sudden appearance of round or coin-shaped patches of baldness anywhere on the scalp (or less often in the eyebrow or beard areas).
Alopecia areata often occurs in the younger population. Alopecia areata is known to be a very unpredictable condition, with hair falling out and growing back at any time and seemingly without a pattern.
This type of hair loss is typically treatable with steroid injections into the bald areas. Very rarely, though, all scalp or body hair is lost (which is rapid in onset and difficult to reverse).
Chronic tension hair loss
Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss that occurs from a chronic tension on the hair follicle from a tight hairstyle worn over many years. The typical presentation is a recession of the frontal and temporal hairlines. This hair loss often occurs in the African-American population as a result of braiding or tight extensions. Removing the tension on the hair follicle will stop the progression of damage, but this hair loss tends to be permanent in nature.