The Pattern of Male Baldness
August 28, 2020

The Pattern of Male Baldness

A research study at a University in Norfolk, Virginia found that 84% of men who experience hair loss diminish their body image satisfaction. They described feelings of helplessness, vulnerability, and jealousy in men with full, healthy hair. Men who started hair loss in their early twenties were more likely to have problems with low self-esteem.


Male baldness is due to a hormone imbalance. The medical term for male baldness is 'Androgenetic Alopecia'. This term will help you understand the factors that play a role in excessive male balding. Androgen refers to one of the many hormones which controls the appearance and development of male characteristics- one example is testosterone. Genetics relate to inheritance, i.e. the inheritance of genes either from the mother or from the father. Alopecia simply means hair loss. So it could be said that male baling occurs because of male hormones that are influenced by genetic inheritance.


DHT (Testosterone and 5- Alpha- Reductase) is a naturally occurring hormone which helps with sexual development. Genetic switches cause changes in the hair follicles of certain men after puberty- namely at androgen-specific receptor sites on the follicles that regulate healthy hair growth. As DHT levels increase as men age: binding to the follicular receptor sites increases. This leads to an imbalance in the biological processes of the more sensitive hair follicles. Slowly the follicles begin to break down as DHT builds up in the area, causing the hair to become thinner and shorter again and eventually become so thin and short that they are no longer visible.


The Hamilton-Norwood scheme divides androgenetic hair loss in men into different stages, which are assigned to seven levels. This schematic course classification was developed in 1951 by James Hamilton. O’Tar Norwood modified and expanded it in 1975.


Men lose their hair in different ways depending on their genetic makeup. With male balding, a retraction at the temples, a loss on the top of the head and a large-scale thinning of the hair can usually be observed. These patterns are identified on what's called the Norwood Scale, which classifies different types of hair loss.