Losing hair from your scalp can be a distressing and demoralising experience. Hair loss can affect both men and women of all ages, but it’s most common in men over the age of 40. Some men are fine with letting their hair follow its natural course, while others spend considerable time and effort trying to cover up their hair loss. This can be through strategic hairstyles, hair pieces, medical treatments, and even surgery. 

If you are experiencing male pattern baldness and want to treat it, it’s important to have an understanding of how hair structure, hair growth, and hair loss are related. 

Hair Structure

Hair is made up of two structures, the hair follicle and the hair shaft. The hair follicle is where the hair grows from and is under the skin. The base of the follicle is called the papilla and the living part of your hair, called the bulb, is located at the bottom and surrounds the papilla. 

The hair bulb has cells that produce hair fibres and the pigment that gives it colour. The papilla provides nourishment from the bloodstream to produce new hair at the base of the bulb. Male sex hormones known as androgens can be found in the hair follicles. 

Next to the hair follicles are glands, the most important of which is the sebaceous gland. The sebaceous gland is responsible for making the natural oils that condition your hair and skin. 

The hair shaft is the part of the hair that you can see. It is made up of three different layers of keratin, a hardening protein. 

The medulla: the deepest layer of the shaft that’s only visible in very thick hair. 
The cortex: the middle layer of the hair shaft that gives hair strength and texture. 
The cuticle: a thin, colourless layer that protects the cortex layer. 

The Hair Growth Cycle

Hair growth follows three phases. 

  • The first is the Anagen phase which is the active growth phase that lasts 2-8 years.
  • The second is the Catagen phase, a transitional growth period that lasts 2-3 weeks.
  • The final stage is the Telogen phase that lasts 2-3 months. 

At the end of the telogen phase, the hair is shed and the cycle begins again with a new hair replacing it. Up to 90% of your hair is in the anagen phase at any given time. As long as new hairs continue to grow in the hair bulb, you shouldn’t have any noticeable hair loss. 

The Hair Growth Cycle and Male Pattern Baldness 

Male pattern baldness occurs when the hair follicles change how they function. Instead of following their normal hair growth cycle, they start to shrink in size and stay in the resting phase for longer. Because new hairs aren’t being created or created fast enough, the overall hair on the scalp becomes thinner.  

People are born with a certain amount of hair follicles on their bodies and scalps. This number is finite, meaning that the amount does not change during your lifetime. So if a hair follicle shrinks, becomes damaged, or closes shut, your body can’t just make a new hair follicle that works better. 

It’s believed that the follicle damage behind male pattern baldness is due to how follicles react to a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a form of testosterone that binds to receptors in the hair follicles and shrinks them. DHT can also cause the follicle to produce thinner hair with a shorter growth period. Eventually, the follicle will stop growing new hair altogether.

What Causes Changes in Hair Growth?

Changes in hair growth patterns can sometimes be temporary, especially if they’re due to an underlying condition that is then treated. In the case of male pattern baldness, hair loss is progressive and permanent. It’s almost always caused by genetics, including whether your family has a history of hair loss. 

Male pattern baldness usually starts as a receding hairline. The hair also starts to thin around the temples and crown. As it progresses, more of the scalp becomes bald, often leaving you with only a horseshoe shaped pattern of hair around the sides of your head. 

Hair Loss Treatment

There isn’t much you can do about genetics, but there are hair loss treatments that are effective at slowing the progression of hair loss. These treatments can even sometimes help you regrow some of the hair you’ve lost! This is because your hair follicles are still alive after they stop growing new hair. 

One of the most tried and true hair loss treatment products is Propecia, also known as Finasteride. Propecia tablets contain 1mg of an active ingredient called finasteride which stops hair loss by blocking DHT from building up in the hair follicles. Finasteride can sometimes even stimulate the follicles to start regrowing hair. 

Finasteride is most effective when taken at the first sign of hair loss. Once you stop taking it, hair loss will most likely resume. 

Hair Loss Treatment After Covid 

It’s not uncommon to lose hair after a fever or illness, including after getting Covid-19. Hair loss after a medical issue is different to hair loss caused by genetics so Finasteride won’t be effective in treating it. Hair loss after an illness usually starts 2-3 months after becoming sick and should resolve on its own after 6-9 months. It might be unpleasant, but if you give it some time your hair should go back to normal. 

Best Hair Loss Treatment for Women: Home Remedy 

Women can experience pattern baldness as well, however they should not take finasteride to treat it. Instead, try scalp massages to boost blood flow, add fish oil and vitamin D to your diet, and reduce stress. Your GP or a dermatologist may also be able to help. 

For the best hair regrowth and hair loss treatment for men, visit Pharmacy Planet. We can help you improve your hair’s health and appearance with medication we can have shipped directly to your door.