Why Do Men Go Bald - Effective Treatments

Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, affects a significant portion of the male population. Studies show that nearly one in every two men will experience some degree of hair loss by the age of 50, with many noticing the first signs before they leave their 20s.

This article delves into the various reasons why men go bald, exploring the intricate interplay of genetics and hormones, as well as other contributing factors such as stress, diet, and medical conditions. We will also discuss the symptoms, progression, diagnostic methods, and the latest treatment options available.

Illustration showing the progression of male pattern baldness, with arrows indicating the stages from full hair to complete baldness and potential regrowth.

What is Male Pattern Baldness

Male pattern baldness, medically known as androgenetic alopecia, is the most common form of hair loss in men. This hereditary condition is characterized by a distinct pattern of hair thinning and loss that typically begins with a receding hairline and thinning at the crown. Over time, this can lead to partial or complete baldness, forming a "horseshoe" pattern around the sides and back of the head.

According to the American Hair Loss Association, male pattern baldness accounts for approximately 95% of hair loss in men. Hair loss affects a significant portion of the male population, with studies indicating that up to 50% of men will experience some degree of hair loss by the age of 50. The condition can begin as early as the late teens or early twenties, with about 25% of men noticing the first signs of hair loss before they turn 21.

The progression of hair loss typically follows a predictable pattern, classified using the Norwood scale, which identifies seven stages of hair loss severity. While some treatments can help slow the process or even promote new hair growth, this type of hair loss often results in permanent hair loss. Therefore, exploring effective hair loss treatments is crucial for managing the condition.

What could be the cause

The condition is influenced by a combination of genetic, hormonal, and lifestyle factors. Understanding these causes can help in managing and potentially mitigating the progression of hair loss.

Genetic Factors

The primary cause is genetic predisposition. This condition is inherited and involves a sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a byproduct of testosterone.

DHT binds to receptors in hair follicles, causing them to shrink. As the follicles become smaller, the hair strands they produce become finer and shorter. Eventually, these follicles may stop producing hair altogether. This hormonal influence explains why hair loss often accelerates during periods of hormonal change, such as puberty or aging.

The likelihood of experiencing hair loss increases with age. By the age of 50, approximately half of all men will exhibit some degree of baldness. The aging process affects hair growth cycles, leading to shorter growth phases and longer rest phases, which contributes to hair thinning and loss.

Immune System Conditions

Conditions like alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder, can also cause hair loss. The body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy follicles, leading to sudden hair loss in patches. While this condition is different from androgenetic alopecia, it highlights the role of the immune system in hair health.


High levels of stress and traumatic events can lead to hair loss conditions like telogen effluvium. In this condition, elevated cortisol levels from significant stress push hair follicles into a resting phase, causing widespread shedding a few months after the triggering event. Fortunately, this type of hair loss is usually temporary, with hair regrowth occurring once the stress is managed and cortisol levels stabilize.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Deficiencies in essential nutrients like iron, protein, and vitamin D can significantly impact hair health. Iron is vital for producing hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to the scalp, nourishing the hair roots. Protein serves as a fundamental building block, supporting the structure and strength of hair strands.

Make sure not to lose weight rapidly, because besides losing pounds, you might not be getting essential vitamins and minerals.


Certain medications can induce hair loss as a side effect. Drugs used for treating cancer (chemotherapy), acne (isotretinoin), fungal infections (voriconazole), and other conditions such as blood pressure (beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors), cholesterol (statins), and depression (antidepressants) can lead to temporary hair loss. Once the medication is discontinued, hair growth typically resumes.

Additional factors that can contribute to hair loss include surgical procedures, severe illnesses, and significant weight loss

Also, be cautious with the use of harmful hair products, such as certain dyes and shampoos that contain sulfates.

Symptoms and Patterns of Hair Loss

One of the earliest and most noticeable signs of male pattern baldness is a receding hairline. This typically starts at the temples and gradually moves backward, forming an "M" shape on the forehead. The recession continues over time, with the hairline pushing further back on the head.

Another common symptom is the thinning of hair at the crown of the head, also known as the vertex. Initially, the hair in this area may lose density and become sparse.

As the condition progresses, the thinning becomes more pronounced, often leading to a noticeable bald spot. The affected follicles in the crown area also succumb to the effects of DHT, resulting in shorter hair growth cycles and eventual cessation of hair production.

As male pattern baldness advances, the hair loss follows a predictable pattern that results in a horseshoe or "U" shape of remaining hair around the sides and back of the head. This pattern emerges as the hairline continues to recede and the thinning at the crown expands.

Eventually, the top of the head becomes mostly or completely bald, while the hair around the sides and back remains relatively intact. This pattern is characteristic of the advanced stages.

Norwood Classification System

To categorize the progression of male pattern baldness, the Norwood classification system is widely used. This system divides hair loss into seven stages, each representing different levels of severity and specific patterns of hair loss.

  1. Stage I: This stage shows minimal or no hair loss. There may be a slight recession of the hairline, but it is generally unnoticeable.
  2. Stage II: At this stage, the hairline begins to recede noticeably around the temples, forming an "M" shape. The recession is more pronounced compared to Stage I but still limited.
  3. Stage III: This stage is marked by deeper recession at the temples, creating a more prominent "M" shape. The frontal hairline recedes significantly, and some men may start to see thinning at the crown.
  4. Stage IV: Hair loss becomes more severe in this stage. The bald spot at the crown enlarges, and the recession at the temples continues. However, a band of hair still separates the bald areas at the front and the crown.
  5. Stage V: The bald areas at the crown and temples continue to expand, with the band of hair separating them becoming thinner. The pattern starts to resemble a horseshoe more closely.
  6. Stage VI: The band of hair separating the bald areas disappears, leading to a larger, continuous bald area covering the top of the head. The horseshoe pattern becomes more pronounced.
  7. Stage VII: This is the most advanced stage of male pattern baldness. Only a narrow band of hair remains around the sides and back of the head. The top of the head is completely bald, and the remaining hair may also be thin and sparse.

How to Diagnose Male Pattern Baldness

Diagnosing involves a comprehensive assessment of hair loss patterns and various medical examinations to determine the underlying causes and rule out other potential conditions.

The first step in diagnosing is a visual examination of the hair loss pattern. Doctors look for common signs such as a receding hairline, thinning at the crown, and the characteristic horseshoe pattern of remaining hair around the sides and back of the head. The Norwood classification system is often used to categorize the severity and stage of hair loss, ranging from minimal recession to advanced baldness.

Blood tests are conducted to identify any underlying health issues that could contribute to hair loss. These tests can detect hormonal imbalances, thyroid disorders, and nutritional deficiencies, such as low levels of iron, protein, and vitamin D, all of which can affect hair health.

A scalp biopsy involves taking a small sample of tissue to examine under a microscope. This test helps to differentiate this type from other conditions.

Combining these diagnostic methods provides a comprehensive understanding of the patient's hair loss condition, allowing for accurate diagnosis and the formulation of an effective treatment plan.

Early diagnosis and intervention can significantly slow the progression and improve the effectiveness of treatment options.

What Are Possible Treatments

Male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, can be managed and treated through a variety of methods, ranging from medications to surgical options and lifestyle changes. Below are some effective treatments available for addressing this common condition.


Minoxidil is an over-the-counter topical treatment that is applied directly to the skin on the head. It works by widening blood vessels, which increases blood flow. Consistent use of minoxidil can slow hair loss and promote regrowth in some men.

Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) is a prescription medication taken orally that works by reducing the levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. Lowering DHT levels helps to slow hair loss and, in some cases, regrow hair. It is one of the most effective treatments.

Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

LLLT is a non-invasive treatment that uses red light wavelengths to stimulate hair follicles. It improves blood flow to the scalp and increases cellular activity. LLLT devices, such as laser caps and combs, are available for home use and have shown promising results in clinical studies.

Illustration of a red light therapy cap stimulating hair follicles on the scalp to promote hair growth
Before treatment image showing a man's scalp with thinning hair before using the red light laser cap.


After treatment image showing a man's scalp with significantly reduced hair loss and improved hair density after using the red light laser cap.


Surgical Options

Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) involves removing a strip of skin from the back of the scalp where hair is still growing, dividing it into small grafts, and transplanting these grafts into bald areas. This method provides natural-looking results but requires a longer recovery time and can leave a linear scar.

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a minimally invasive procedure where individual hair follicles are extracted from the donor area and transplanted to the balding regions. This technique avoids the linear scar associated with FUT and has a shorter recovery period, though it can be more time-consuming.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy

PRP therapy involves drawing a small amount of the patient’s blood, processing it to concentrate the platelets, and injecting the PRP into the scalp. The Eclipse ProGen PRP™ System is an advanced method that enhances the body’s natural ability to regenerate hair.

Natural Preparations

Malus Domestica fruit cell culture extract, an apple stem cell extract, is renowned for its regenerative properties. Plant-Based collagen provides essential proteins that help reinforce hair fibers, while bamboo extract, contains natural silica that balances oil production. There are hair ampoules on the market that contain these ingredients.

Before and after comparison of a man using Nordic Biolabs hair ampoules over 120 days, showing significant hair regrowth and improvement.

Additionally, saw palmetto and ginseng are also beneficial for hair growth. By incorporating these powerful natural ingredients, hair treatments offer a comprehensive approach to promoting new hair growth and maintaining scalp health.

Preventing Hair Loss

Preventing hair loss, especially in its early stages, involves a combination of proactive strategies and lifestyle modifications. Recognizing the initial signs of hair thinning or a receding hairline and seeking treatment promptly can make a significant difference.

Regular medical check-ups are important for monitoring hair health and addressing any underlying conditions that may contribute to hair loss. These check-ups can help detect hormonal imbalances, thyroid issues, or nutritional deficiencies that need to be corrected.

Facing hair loss can be a daunting and emotional journey, but it's important to remember that countless men around the world share your experience, and there are more resources and treatments available today than ever before. Embrace the journey with confidence, and take proactive steps to manage your hair health.

Many men experience thinning hair and hair fall, but there are ways to prevent this condition and even help some hair grow back. Seek support from medical professionals, explore the latest treatments, and talk to your doctor about your options. Don't hesitate to lean on your loved ones for encouragement. Your hair does not define you—your strength, resilience, and spirit do. Stay informed, stay hopeful, and know that there are always options to help you look and feel your best. Bald men can thrive and find confidence in their appearance.