Dr. Devgan discusses options for treating male-patterned baldness

Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA) or Male Patterned Baldness (MPB) affects nearly 80% of men at some point in their lifetime. 

There are several methods of staving off baldness and/or treating it, each with varying degrees of efficacy. 

Since AGA has a strong genetic predisposition and is hormonally influenced, sound health is the first defense in preventing or stalling MPB. Eating a balanced diet, supplementing with vitamins such as biotin and folate, and leading a healthy lifestyle should be the first step.

The second step is be to implement the use of a topical agent such as minoxidil. This can help convert some hair follicles which were thinning into thicker strands which reduces the appearance of balding. Minoxidil is less effective if the area of baldness is large or if there has been persistent baldness for more than 5 years. So, this step should be started as early as possible for maximum efficacy. 

Third step is the addition of an oral prescription such as finasteride. FDA approved for treating hair loss, finasteride helps reduce DHT levels in the scalp and general systemic circulation, which can lead to regrowth of follicles that have begun to thin (or miniaturize) or even help stimulate latent follicles to regenerate. 

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections have arisen as an effective fourth step in treating AGA. PRP is derived from the patient’s own blood. Using autologous platelet rich plasma can enhance the body’s own capacity to repair and regenerate. Platelets contain over 800 proteins which target a slew of cells including stem cells, epithelial cells, and endothelial cells. More importantly, they have high concentrations of growth factors. One of these stimulates epidermal growth factor, the key to hair regrowth and preservation. PRP has been shown to increase diameter of individual hairs and terminal hair density. 

The final step available for treating AGA and MPB is hair transplantation. Using various techniques, a patient’s own healthy hair can be extracted and reinserted into an area where hair loss has occurred. This procedure can be expensive and there are certain risks including scarring and graft failure.