What is Hair Loss?
Hair loss can affect just your scalp or your entire body. It can be a result of hormonal changes, heredity, medications and some health conditions. Hair loss is most common in men, but women can experience it too. On the scalp, we all lose our hair at a rate of 50-100 hairs per day. Hair loss at a higher rate than 50-100 hairs per day is the point your hair follicles are beginning to shrink and eventually stop producing hair. Your hair then becomes thinner, you notice bald patches or your hairline begins to recede.
From a medical point of view, natural hair loss is nothing to be too worried about, it has no other potentially negative effects on your body, however it can impact the mental health of many men, leading to image issues and anxiety. In this instance many men choose to treat their hair loss with medication, concealers or surgery rather than letting it go its natural course.
What Causes Hair Loss?
Most of the time, the most common cause for going bald is male pattern baldness. Male pattern baldness is a hereditary condition, which affects roughly 39.23% of men in the UK (12.2million men) alone. It is referred to as “male pattern baldness” because it generally follows a similar pattern in all men, with the front thinning and receding, followed by the crown area. The hair at the back of the head tends to be resistant to the hormone responsible for male pattern baldness, meaning most men tend to retain that part.
Hair loss can also be caused by other factors such some types of alopecia, menopause, side-effects to medications and thyroid problems. In male pattern baldness however, the predominant reason the hair follicles shrink and stop production of hair is due to their sensitivity to the male sex hormone, Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). As touched on previously, the hair on the back of the head is not as sensitive to this hormone.
How Can I Treat Hair Loss?
Unfortunately, there is no ‘cure’ for male pattern baldness (MPB) as of yet, however there are many medications available to treat hereditary male pattern baldness.
Minoxidil (Regaine) is a pain free, over the counter (no prescription needed), topical application treatment for balding that can be used by both men and women. It comes as a foam preparation and can be rubbed into your scalp on a daily basis. Minoxidil helps to improve blood flow to the hair follicle, in doing so increases the size of the hair follicle. It may cause you to shed hair initially, but this is a good sign as it means it is stimulating hair follicles that were going dormant back to life again.
Finasteride (Propecia) is another option for treating hair loss. Finasteride is a prescription only medication that is licensed for use in the UK for hair loss in men. Finasteride works by lowering the levels of DHT. If taken daily and patients are compliant with their dosing, the medication will stop the hair follicle from shrinking and has shown to help regrow and thicken hair in the crown area in 86% of men whom were compliant and took it daily.
Cloud Pharmacy offers both of these effective treatments for male pattern baldness and can be ordered via our online doctor service.