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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Male Pattern Hair Loss?
Male pattern hair loss is also known as androgenetic alopecia. It is a common condition in which men experience thinning of hair on the scalp, often resulting in a receding hairline and/or balding on top of the head.
What will individuals with Male Pattern Hair Loss experience?
Men with Male Pattern Hair Loss experience thinning of hair on the scalp, often resulting in a receding hair line and/or balding on the top of the head.
What is the cause of Male Pattern Hair Loss?
Male pattern hair loss is thought to be an inherited condition, where individuals with a positive family history have a particular sensitivity to the effects of the hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) in some areas of the scalp. DHT shortens the growth phase of hair follicles and causes the hair follicles to miniaturise. This gradually leads to fewer and finer hairs.
Is hair loss inherited from the paternal or maternal source?
MPHL is generally influenced by heredity. A man can inherit this trait from either of his parents’ family. Not all causes of hair loss are hereditary. Do consult your doctor or dermatologist regarding the type of hair loss you are having for better understanding.
I'm losing hair and my self-confidence is going with it too. It is such a painful process. I'm willing to do anything to stop it. Please advise.
You should arrange for a consultation with a medical doctor or a dermatologist. The dermatologist will assess your condition; find out the reason for your hair loss and advise the most appropriate treatment. As there is treatment for most causes of hair loss, do not despair.
I was born with a naturally high-hairline. I've checked my baby photos, my pre-teens photos, as well as my teens photos, and my hairline seems to be consistent. How do I know whether I'm suffering from receding hairline or not? How would I know if I have male pattern hair loss?
Using old photos for comparison is definitely one of the ways you can check if your hairline has receded. Sometimes, your family or friends may also notice the change. Male pattern hair loss (MPHL) affects a few areas of the scalp. It most often starts at the frontal hairline - with a receding line as well as 2 dips on both sides on the forehead. The density of hairs on crown or top of the scalp can also slowly thin out over time.
My hair is getting thin. I can see that I have less hair than before. How can I prevent further hair loss?
There are many possible reasons for thinning of hair. These range from genetic tendency like androgenetic alopecia (also known as male or female pattern hair loss) to mental stress and preceding illness that is associated with high fever. It is therefore not possible to advise on how to prevent your hair loss just based on the information you have provided here. A consultation with a medical doctor or dermatologist is advised.
I am male aged 31 and am experiencing male pattern balding. Is there any lotion that I can apply to stimulate hair growth?
Yes, you can use a medication called minoxidil. Minoxidil comes in the form of a lotion or foam and can be used on the scalp twice a day. Minoxidil lotion can cause mild itch on the scalp in patients with sensitive scalp. Some people may feel that it makes the scalp oilier, but it is generally well tolerated. Minoxidil foam, on the other hand, may have less of these side effects.
Are there other options apart from applying lotions to slow down male pattern hair loss?
An oral medication called finasteride has been proven to be effective in the treatment of male pattern hair loss (MPHL). There are however side effects which one needs to know and it is best to talk to a dermatologist before starting these medications. Other treatment options include a light-emitting medical device that may thicken hair. Hair transplant surgery is also another option. A medical consultation will be necessary to determine which treatment option is the best and most appropriate for your severity/ stage of MPHL.
Do I need any doctor's prescription for purchasing finasteride? What are the chances of recovery for a 24-year-old male with type IIIv of the 7 stages of MPHL but with less severe hair loss in the vertex?
Yes, finasteride is a prescription medication as persons taking it will need to be monitored for side effects. Since most people experience cessation of progression of hair loss, the earlier you treat it, the better. Whether you will have mild regrowth, moderate regrowth or good regrowth cannot be reliably predicted. The vertex regrows quite well in stage IIIv, but the frontal recession may not regrow as well. Younger patients tend to respond better to treatment.
I am 56 yrs of age and have been losing hair from 10 years back and have been using minoxidil 5% for the last 6 years. I still have thin hair on top, but less and less. The scalp can also be seen. What can be done to prevent further loss and stimulate growth, although I think growth can be difficult at this stage and age.
There is still hope for you. You can take an oral medication which can stimulate new hairs to grow. However you will need to take this for a long period (at least a year) to get good results. The treatment also has to be continued. An alternative is to have a hair transplant. Please discuss these treatment options with your dermatologist who will be in a better position to advise you further after performing a hair examination.
I have been taking finasteride for years, but my hair still seems to get thinner and symptoms of receding hairline persist. Is there a better solution?
True failure of treatment can be due to many reasons. Adherence to treatment as instructed by your doctor, severity of MPHL when finasteride was initiated as well as differences in individual’s response to the same treatment may all contribute to the failure in treatment response. It is also important to have a good understanding of what finasteride can achieve. Finasteride retards the progression of MPHL. It does not cause regrowth of new hairs from totally bald scalp. Consult your doctor or dermatologist if you feel that finasteride is not working for you and explore other treatment options.
I have been taking finasteride and using minoxidil 5% lotion. I recently realised that minoxidil is not suitable for me as the scalp is inflammed after using it. What should I do?
You should stop the minoxidil 5% and see a doctor or a dermatologist for the treatment of your inflammed scalp. When the inflammation is resolved, you can ask doctor or dermatologist for other topical preparations which you may tolerate.
What is the cost of doing a hair transplant surgery? Are there any subsidies for hair transplant surgery like the use of Medisave, etc?
You will have to consult a dermatologist specialising in hair transplantation who will assess your situation and explain the cost. There are no subsidies and insurance will not cover hair transplant as it is considered a cosmetic treatment.
How about hair loss in women? Does MPHL affect women too?
Women suffer from female pattern hair loss (FPHL). The pattern of hair loss is different from that seen in MPHL. In FPHL, there is usually diffuse thinning of hairs on the crown of the head and minimal frontal or temporal hairline recession. As in MPHL, there is usually genetic predisposition in women who are affected. Whilst women tend to develop FPHL after menopause, the role of hormones in female pattern hair loss is not clear.
I have oily scalp and hair, as well as hair loss. I have read advertisements and watched TV programmes sponsored by hair care companies in which hair specialists pointed that the excessive oil on the scalp blocks the pores of the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. What is the best way to remove the oil clog and help regrowth of my hairs?
Many hair care companies cite oily scalp and blocked pores as the causes for hair loss. There is no scientific basis behind this claim. Excessive oil production and blocked pores can cause pimples, but they do not cause the loss of hair. Like having different types of skin, individuals can have different types of scalp. Some can be oily, while others are dry. For people with oilier scalp, it is best to use shampoos meant for oily hair. These will be more effective at removing the oil. He/she may also need to shampoo more frequently.


Need more information on male pattern hair loss? Click on the links below to download useful material.

Male Pattern Hair Loss, hair loss, bald, baldness, hairloss, hair loss men, losing hair, male pattern baldness

MPHL: What causes it, and what you can do about it.

NORWOOD-HAMILTON,pattern baldness, male baldness, hair loss for men, natural hair loss

THE NORWOOD-HAMILTON SCALE: Discover the different stages of male pattern hair loss

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Dermatological Society of Singapore
National Skin Centre, Singapore
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Term Brief description
An enzyme responsible for converting testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
The phase of the hair cycle, during which the hair grows. It is also known as the growth phase.
A male sex hormone.
Androgenetic alopecia
An inherited type of hair loss that is associated with the shrinkage of hair follicles and the shortening of the growth phase of the hair cycle. It is also known as Male Pattern Hair Loss (MPHL).
Bitemporal recession
Withdrawal of hair from its normal position around the temples of the head.
The phase of the hair cycle, during which growth stops and the hair follicle shortens. It is also known as the regression or intermediate phase.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
An androgen that is made from testosterone.
A substance that catalyses chemical changes in other substances.
An inherited unit of DNA that helps to control a particular characteristic of your body.
Growth phase
The phase of the hair cycle during which hair grows.
Hair cycle
The three different cyclic phases in the life of a hair: anagen (growth phase), catagen (regression phase) and telogen (resting phase).
Hair follicle(s)
A small sac in the skin from which hair grows.
Male Pattern Hair Loss (MPHL)
An inherited type of hair loss that is associated with the shrinkage of hair follicles and the shortening of the growth phase of the hair cycle. It is also known as androgenetic alopecia or hereditary hair loss.
The process by which hair follicles become smaller, following the action of dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Regression phase
The phase of the hair cycle during which growth stops and the hair follicle shortens.
Resting phase
The phase of the hair cycle during which the hair rests before it is shed.
The phase of the hair cycle, during which the hair rests before it is shed. It is also known as the resting phase.
The flat region on each side of the forehead.
Results of the examination of plucked hairs under a microscope.
Fine hair that lacks colour.
The highest point of the skull; the top of the head.