Frederick Watkins, M.D., F.A.C.S. Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Hair Loss For Men

Male Pattern Baldness

Hair loss is more common than previously thought. Millions of men and women suffer from some degree of hair loss throughout their lifetime.

The average growth rate of healthy hair follicles on the scalp is half an inch per month. Hair grows naturally for several years then may fall out and is replaced by new hair. It is common and normal to notice hair strands coming out while combing, shampooing, or toweling the scalp. Because of the natural cycle of hair growth, it is normal to shed some hair each day. However, if the amount of hair loss is excessive, it might be a problem.

Natural Hair Growth

About 90 percent of the hair is growing at any one time, and the growth phase lasts between two and six years.
  • Ten percent of the hair is in a resting phase that lasts two to three months, and at the end of its resting stage the hair is shed.
  • When a hair is shed, a new hair from the same follicle replaces it and the growing cycle starts again.
  • Scalp hair grows about one-half inch per month, but as people age their rate of hair growth slows.
  • Scalp hair grows about one-half inch per month, but as people age their rate of hair growth slows.

How Hair Grows

The hair follicle is a part of the skin that grows hair by attaching old cells together. Attached to the follicle is a sebaceous gland, a tiny sebum-producing gland found everywhere on the human body except the palms, soles and lips. Attached to the follicle is a tiny bundle of muscle fiber called the arrector pili responsible for causing the follicle to become more perpendicular to the surface of the skin, and causing the follicle to protrude lightly above the surrounding skin (piloerection). This process results in goose bumps. Stem cells are located at the junction of the arrector and the follicle and are principally responsible for the ongoing hair production during a process known as the Anagen stage.

What Causes Hair Loss?

There are several reasons for hair loss among which are thyroid gland disorders, heredity, hormones, excessive stress, chemotherapy, certain prescription drugs and dehydration.

Hair loss is the appearance of thinning hair or bald patches on the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, or on areas of the body that previously had hair, such as the arms or legs. On average, everyone naturally loses 50-100 of their 100,000 scalp hairs per day. Abnormal hair loss is caused when hair falls out at an accelerated rate, or when over time, hairs are not replaced as quickly as they fall out.

Hair loss can happen to men, women, infants and children in all socioeconomic strata and geographic areas. Genetic hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) is the most common type of hair loss. Also known as male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness, it affects around 80 million people in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Hair loss can gradually build over weeks or months, or it can occur abruptly, such as when it occurs with telogen effluvium (sudden hair loss due to a stressful physical event). Hair loss can also be due to other hair disorders, such as alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own hair, or trichotillomania, a psychological disorder in which people pull out their own hair

The conversion of the hormone testosterone to DHT triggers a change in the genetically predisposed hair follicles at the front and top of the head. The genetic code of the hair cells determines how it will respond to the conversion. These follicles actually slow down production of the new hair until, over time, they stop producing completely and the hair follicle lies dormant. When the existing hair falls out, no new hair grows in that particular follicle to replace the lost strand.

If you have noticed hair loss, the best thing to do is to get a professional evaluation to determine the cause. Once the cause of the hair loss is identified, your doctor might recommend Minoxidil (Rogaine®) which is the most common and popular topical over the counter treatment. Rogaine® can be used by both men and women. In addition to Rogaine® there is Finasteride (Propecia®), which is an oral medication that can help prevent hair loss in men. Finasteride (Propecia), is only approved for men. It is commonly understood that Rogaine® and Propecia do a better job at maintaining current hair and reducing the rate of hair loss rather then re-growing new hair.

In addition to over the counter and prescription medication such as Rogaine® and Propecia®, other cosmetic options available include, Laser Hair Therapy, Wigs, Hair Weaves, and Hair Transplants.

Hair Transplants

Hair transplant surgery is based on the principle of donor dominance, which means that hair from healthy donor sites will take root and grow normally when transplanted into balding, recipient sites. Hair transplantation involves:

Removing small strips of hair-bearing scalp from the back and sides of the head, known as the “donor region,” which contains hair that will grow throughout a lifetime.

Repairing the donor region, usually resulting in a very narrow, pencil thin scar which is hidden by overlying hair.
Harvesting strips of hair-bearing scalp and dividing into grafts for placement in the balding areas.

The amount of coverage varies depending on the extent of baldness and the specific procedure performed. Within one month, much of the transplanted hair is shed. About four months later, hair starts to grow and continues to grow at a normal rate. To schedule a free one on one consultation, please fill out the online consultation form or give us a call at 888.793.4769.

Why Do We Lose Hair?

The Primary Causes Of Hair Loss Include:

Genetics – Hair loss is inherited through a gene from either your mother or father. If your father is bald, you may have a 50% chance of following in his footsteps. Even though there are many wives tales about knowing who will lose their hair, it is only a probable chance that it will happen.

Illness – Accelerated hair loss can be caused by chronic mental illness, any disease associated with high fever, chronic course of relative debilitation, post-pregnancy, oral contraceptives, drugs and nutrition.

Stress – Accelerated hair loss can be linked to stress. Stress due to illness, death in the family, or hardships in life can cause hair loss.

Age – Baldness occurs when the normal growth stage begins to slow.

Sex – Though predominately associated with men, hair loss is a physiological event in both men and women. Hair loss is most commonly called Male Patterned Alopecia or Male Patterned Baldness.

Why Consider Hair Transplants

Hair is a significant component of personal appearance in our society. As such, hair loss can deeply affect your self-image and self-esteem. There are several different types of treatments for hair loss ranging from lifestyle changes to medications and surgery, and more are being researched every day. Fortunately in many cases, lost hair can be replaced with new hair growth with treatment or on its own in time.

Thinning hair, or balding. Its a dilemma that men have been facing for centuries. The mystery remains, why do some men retain most of their hair, even through old age, while others begin to lose it while still in their youth?

We can either look at it as a part of life, and accept the aesthetic and emotional changes that will occur with hair loss, or we can decide to do something about it. Take the next step and call us at 888.793.4769

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