Male hair loss can be treated if discovered early enough, even male pattern baldness, a Taipei dermatologist said.
The main cause of baldness in men is male pattern baldness, which is largely a congenital condition, Lin Sung-jan (林頌然), from National Taiwan University Hospital’s dermatology department, said on Tuesday.
The hair loss comes from follicles in the scalp, or other parts of the body, abnormally metabolizing androgen, Lin said.
The metabolized matter affects local follicles, which eventually inhibits the ability of follicles to grow hair and ultimately causes the follicle to wither, he said.
Hair begins to thin and grow shorter, and eventually less hair grows, Lin said.
A common symptom of male pattern baldness is a receding hairline, which often takes the form of an M- shaped indent in the hairline, he said.
More serious conditions involve loss of hair at the top of the scalp, with the bald patches eventually connecting, Lin said.
There are two kinds of treatment — one addresses the withering of hair follicles and attempts to revitalize them through follicle stimulating solutions, while the other involves prescription medication to help inhibit the metabolizing of androgen, he said.
The first method only treats the condition and not the cause, which means that hair loss would continue once a patient stops using a revitalizing solution, Lin said.
“The abnormal capacity of hair follicles to be able to metabolize androgen is only observed in another place — the prostate, and usually causes prostate hyperplasia,” he said.
The medication used to treat male pattern baldness was adapted from medication used to cure enlargement of the prostate, he said.
Baldness should be treated as early as possible, as the longer one takes to seek help, the less doctors can do, Lin said, adding that if one can easily tell that hair has thinned, then the patient has already lost 30 percent of their hair mass.
The age of patients seeking help has gradually fallen, and his youngest patient so far was a 15-year-old student, Lin said.
Frequent hair washing does not increase the rate of hair loss, as on average, 90 percent of a normal person’s hair mass is growing, with the rest either resting or in decline, he said.
It is normal for a person lose 120 to 150 strands of hair per day, he said.
“Washing one’s hair every two or three days is simply losing the combined amount of hair in one go,” he said.
A claim that including sesame in a person’s diet would prevent hair loss is dubious, as hair follicles are primarily made up of protein, Lin said.
Maintaining a balanced diet is crucial to maintaining hair growth.
Lin also cautioned against the belief that certain brands of shampoo are more effective or help condition hair, as the skin is a natural barrier against germs as well as the “nutrients” that hair products and shampoo claim to have.
“Washing one’s hair is simply a way to clean it,” the dermatologist added.
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