Stages of Balding

Androgenic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness, is the most common type of hair loss that develops in most men at some stage in their life. The condition is also referred to as androgenetic alopecia. In most males, it usually takes 15-25 years for them to go bald; however, some men go bald in fewer than five years.

The age that hair loss begins is variable to the individual, yet nearly all men have some hair loss by the time they are in their 50s. About three in ten men aged 30 years and five in ten men aged 50 years have significant balding.

At first, in typical men, the hair begins to thin (recede) at the temples. At the same time, the hair usually becomes thin on top of the head. A bald patch gradually develops in the middle of the scalp. The receding hairline and the bald patch on the top (the crown) gradually enlarge and join together, leaving a patch at the front at the front of the head. The patch at the front eventually thins as well. A rim of hair is often left around the back and sides of the scalp. In some men, this rim of hair also thins and leaves a completely bald scalp.

Hair is birthed in hair follicles which are like tiny pouches just under the skin's surface. Hair normally grows from each follicle for about three years. It is then shed and a new hair grows from the follicle. This cycle of hair growth continues throughout your lifetime.

The following is what is documented to occur in men as they gradually become bald:

  1. Affected hair follicles on the scalp become smaller than normal.
  2. As the follicle shrinks, each new hair is thinner than the previous one.
  3. Before falling out, each new hair grows for much less time than the normal three years or so.
  4. Eventually, all that remains is a much smaller hair follicle and a thin stump of hair that does not grow out to the skin surface.

Male hormones are the primary reason for baldness. The main male hormone, testosterone, can convert into another hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Hair follicles become sensitive to DHT which causes the follicles to shrink, ultimately to where the follicle no longer produces any additional hair. It is not fully clear why only the scalp hairs are affected and not other areas such as the beard and armpits.

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