What's Up With Male Pattern Balding?

You've seen it in the movies, you've spotted it on TV. You've noticed it at the workplace and (if you're a man) you may even have seen it on yourself. It's that classic hairdo that never goes out of fashion: male pattern balding. What's up with this strange fact of mens' lives? Why does it happen? Can we stop it? And why does it have that weird shape?

First, if you're not sure what male pattern balding looks like, scan the room you're in or look at the TV. Chances are if you see ten men, you'll spot at least a couple sporting some stage of the male pattern balding hairdo. It begins with a bit of a receding hairline and some thin hair right on top. And as the pattern develops, the hairline heads back towards the increasing bald spot until the two become one.

So why does it happen? Male pattern balding is a result of the two H factors: heredity and hormones. Unfortunately, the exact cause is not clear, but we know it has to do with these two factors. Let's take a look at them both.

Heredity refers to the simple fact that if you're family has a history of hair loss, you'll probably be sporting some male pattern baldness at some point in your life. Obviously, this is a pretty common condition. In fact, by the time men are 30, a quarter of them have begun to lose their hair. By 60, two thirds of men have experienced hair loss.

The second factor is the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone, as all guys know, shows up during puberty and causes hair to start growing all over the place. Ironically, it is testosterone and its close relative DHT that stops hair from growing on the scalp. Follicles become smaller and smaller until the hair ceases to exist at all.

Is there anything you can do about it? Well, not really. Honestly, if there was a cure would half of the male population be sporting this silly hairstyle? Now there are some options that work for some people, but understand that none are a cure. Rogaine is a very well known hair regrowth treatment as is the prescription drug Propecia. You can also research hair transplants and hair pieces.

The simple fact, however, is that we don't understand male pattern balding, can't control it, and can't cure it. It doesn't cause any medical conditions and certainly won't kill you. At worst, it is a socially embarrassing condition. But only if you make it that. Losing your hair doesn't change you and your true friends will know that. Will women pay you less attention? Only the ones that you don't want a longterm relationship with anyway. So don't panic. Don't do anything silly like try a comb over. Embrace your new hair style and be confident that at least 25% of your peers are going through the same thing.

Ian Byrd has been losing his hair since he was 19! He runs a site devoted to Male Pattern Balding to keep you up to date on the causes, cures, and crazes of this fact of life.

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