Below is a photo of a 31 year old Norwood 6 patient. The patient noticed hair loss at an early age but never used maximal medical therapy. The patient’s father also suffers from male pattern baldness as a class 6. The first signs of androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness) in men will be seen between ages 17 to 25. Hairs affected by dihydrotestosterone (DHT) will grow thinner and lighter in appearance. Eventually the hair stops growing and the balding pattern can continue. DHT shortens the anagen phase (actively growing phase) of hair cycles so the each hair grows shorter during each cycle. Men who have a family history of hair loss will usually notice hair loss before men who don’t have a family history of hair loss. Individuals with darker hair usually notice hair loss sooner that individuals with lighter hair.
A good way to find out if you are at risk for male pattern baldness is to take a trip to a hair specialist for an examination. Densities on various regions of the scalp can be measured over a span of 1 year or so to evaluate the rate of recession. During the evaluation, you may also discuss a regimen of hair loss products to help you maintain your existing hair. Also, there is a new genetic test to determine your risk for male pattern baldness. The test is called Hair DX and it looks for a genetic marker on the X chromosome. Men who carry a specific androgen receptor gene variant are at a 60% risk of going bald by the age of 40 according to several studies. Men who carry the less common genetic variant of the same androgen receptor gene have a greater than 85% chance of not going bald before the age of 40. It has been determined that 95% of bald men carry the high risk variant in studies to date. Hair DX is currently offered at our clinic for men who wish to know if they are at high risk for MPB (male pattern baldness).