All hair loss is described by the generic medical term alopecia. Although causes and triggers for male hair loss vary, many involve genetics, illness and some combination of environmental factors. The three most common types of male hair loss are androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium and alopecia areata.

Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also known as “male pattern” or “common pattern” baldness, is the most common form of male hair loss. The male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) shortens the growth phase of certain hair follicles on the scalp, causing them to become progressively smaller and eventually disappear in a process called “miniaturization.” Genetics ultimately determine which hair follicles are sensitive to DHT, but they often reside in the front, top and crown areas of the scalp, resulting in a pattern of hair loss in these areas. Stages of this type of hair loss can be measured by the Norwood-Hamilton scale.

Image of man looking at his hair loss

Treatments for androgenetic alopecia range from hair replacement surgery to non-surgical replacement systems such as customized hair pieces.

Telogen effluvium (TE) is the second most common form of hair loss in men. TE occurs when the number of hair follicles producing hair changes. Between 80% and 90% of the hair follicles on a human scalp are actively growing hair at any given time. The others are in telogen or a resting state. Men experiencing TE will have a large amount of hair follicles shift into the resting state, resulting in hair loss seen often as a diffuse thinning on the scalp. TE can develop in different ways and has a variety of triggers ranging from chronic stress to crash dieting to side effects of certain medications such as antidepressants.

Despite the many causes and triggers, TE is fully reversible. To treat TE, one must pinpoint the cause. If the hair loss remains or the cause cannot be identified, a direct hair growth stimulator may be employed to block TE from redeveloping.

Alopecia areata (AA) is believed by researchers to be an autoimmune disease where the inflammation targets the roots of the hair follicles deep in the skin. AA hair loss can affect men, women and children, and two in 100 people will be affected by AA at some point in their life. AA typically appears as circular bald patches on the scalp and while most people only get a few, others can have more extensive or even complete hair loss, affecting everything from the eyebrows to the beard to pubic hair.

Treatments for AA range, though not all are effective for everyone. Typically corticosteroids are the most common treatment option. Although AA hair loss can happen suddenly, the hair follicles are not completely destroyed and if the inflammation stops, they have the ability to regrow. To learn more about AA, visit the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.

Various hair replacement systems at Complete Image can be effective solutions for men experiencing hair loss.