Why Do Men Go Bald?

7 min
Pattern Baldness often begins with a receding hairline or a bald spot on the top of the head. As men age, the likelihood of experiencing male pattern baldness increases. Research has linked male pattern baldness to male sex hormones called androgens, which regulate hair growth. During this condition, the hair growth cycle weakens, leading to shorter and finer strands of hair.
male pattern baldness causes

Genetic Factors Contributing to Baldness

When hair loss is caused by your genetics, it occurs in a predictable pattern often referred to as male pattern baldness (MPB). It starts as an m-shaped recession at the front of your scalp and often begins in your 20s or 30s. Studies looking at twins estimate that genetics account for about 80 percent of male pattern baldness.

Genetic Factors

  • Polygenic Nature: The genetic component of male pattern baldness still isn’t well understood, but it’s thought to be polygenic, meaning it involves more than one gene.
  • Chromosomes and Baldness: Baldness is strongly associated with the AR gene found on the “X” chromosome. A large study of European ancestry found that people with this gene had more than twice the risk of developing MPB than those without it. However, this isn’t the only gene involved. Research has identified 63 genes that may play a role in male pattern baldness, with only six of them found on the “X” chromosome.
  • Father’s Influence: More than 80 percent of people experiencing noticeable balding had a father who also lost their hair.

Hormonal Influences on Hair Loss

Hormonal changes play a significant role in hair loss. Let’s explore how different hormonal shifts can impact hair growth:

  1. Age and Hormonal Influences:

Male pattern baldness affects most men at some point:

  • Approximately 25% of men who have hereditary male pattern baldness start losing their hair before the age of 21.
  • By the age of 35, approximately 66% of men will have experienced some degree of hair loss.
  • By the age of 50, approximately 85% of men will have significantly thinner hair.
  1. Thyroid Hormones:

Fluctuations in thyroid hormones can lead to hair loss. An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) or an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle, resulting in increased shedding and thinner hair.

  1. Estrogen and Progesterone Levels:

Changes in estrogen and progesterone levels can also affect hair health. For instance, during pregnancy, elevated estrogen levels often lead to thicker, fuller hair. However, after childbirth, when hormone levels drop, some women experience temporary hair loss.

  1. Androgen Levels:

Androgens, including testosterone, play a crucial role in hair loss. The conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) harms hair follicles. Male pattern baldness (MPB) and female pattern baldness (FPB) are associated with androgenetic alopecia. In men, MPB starts with a receding hairline, while women often experience hair loss after menopause.

  1. Weight Changes and Hormonal Imbalances:

Weight fluctuations have a significant impact on hormone levels, which affect the development cycle of hair. Significant weight swings, whether from quick loss or increase, might disturb the sensitive hormonal balance required for good hair development. Rapid weight loss, for example, can cause stress on the body, resulting in hormonal alterations that may lead to excessive hair shedding. Conversely, abrupt weight gain can cause hormonal imbalances, resulting in similar hair loss patterns. As a result, keeping a stable weight through balanced eating and lifestyle behaviors is critical for promoting optimum hormone control and good hair development.

Lifestyle and Environmental Factors

Environmental factors, in addition to lifestyle, may play a major role in the occurrence of baldness in men. Here are the most important points that explain this:

  1. Environmental factors:

  • Pollution and Dust:

Air pollution and exposure to dust particles can damage hair follicles over time. These pollutants may weaken hair strands and contribute to hair loss.

  • UV Radiation:

Sun exposure can harm your hair. UV radiation can weaken hair proteins, leading to brittle and thinning hair. Wearing a hat or using protective hair products can help.

  1. Lifestyle and daily habits:

  • Chronic stress can disrupt the hair growth cycle. High stress levels may lead to increased hair shedding.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle choices, including poor diet, lack of exercise, and inadequate sleep, can affect overall health, including hair health.

Medical Conditions Linked to Male Pattern Baldness

According to some studies, male pattern baldness has been associated with certain medical conditions:

  1. Coronary Heart Disease:

Some studies suggest a link between male pattern baldness and an increased risk of coronary heart disease. However, the exact mechanism remains unclear.

  1. Enlarged Prostate or Prostate Cancer:

Research indicates a potential association between male pattern baldness and an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia) or even prostate cancer. The underlying reasons are still being investigated.

  1. Diabetes:

Male pattern baldness has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes. It’s essential to manage both conditions effectively.

  1. Obesity:

Obesity may contribute to male pattern baldness. Maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle can positively impact hair health.

  1. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension):

Some studies suggest a connection between male pattern baldness and hypertension. Regular blood pressure monitoring is crucial.

Preventive Measures and Hair Loss Treatments

Preventive measures and some treatments may play an important role in avoiding, treating or reducing hair loss:

  1. Lifestyle Changes:

  • Healthy Diet: Ensure a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Foods containing biotin, vitamin D, and iron are beneficial for hair health.
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water to keep your scalp and hair hydrated.
  • Stress Management: Chronic stress can worsen hair loss. Practice relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga.
  • Regular Exercise: Physical activity improves blood circulation, which benefits hair follicles.
  1. Hair Care Practices:

  • Gentle Handling: Avoid aggressive brushing or combing. Use a wide-toothed comb to prevent hair breakage.
  • Avoid Heat Styling: Excessive heat damages hair. Limit the use of hair dryers, straighteners, and curling irons.
  • Choose Mild Shampoos: Use sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners. Avoid harsh chemicals.
  1. Medications:

  • Minoxidil (Rogaine): An over-the-counter topical solution that promotes hair growth. Apply it directly to the scalp.
  • Finasteride (Propecia): A prescription medication that inhibits DHT production. Consult a doctor before using it.
  1. Hair Transplants and Procedures:

  • Hair Transplant Surgery: Involves moving hair follicles from donor areas to balding regions.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP): A non-surgical treatment that uses your blood’s growth factors to stimulate hair growth.
  1. Wigs and Hairstyles:

  • Wigs: High-quality wigs can provide a natural appearance.
  • Hairstyles: Opt for styles that minimize the appearance of thinning hair.
  1. Consult a Dermatologist:

Seek professional advice early. A dermatologist can recommend personalized treatments based on your specific condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the symptoms of hair loss?

Hair loss varies based on the type and cause. People may experience gradual thinning, bald patches, or excessive shedding during activities like washing or brushing. Other signs include receding hairlines in men, thinning hairlines in women, changes in hair texture, and scalp itching or irritation. It can affect both the scalp and the body.

  1. How can I prevent hair loss?

  • Eat a healthy diet with sufficient calories, protein, and iron.
  • Cope with stress effectively.
  • Manage thyroid disease or other medical conditions.
  • Avoid hairstyles that pull hair tightly.
  • During chemotherapy, consider using a cooling cap.
  1. What lifestyle changes can help preserve hair?

  • Balanced diet: Nutrients promoting hair health.
  • Avoid excessive heat styling.
  • Protect your scalp from the sun.
  • Manage stress levels.
  1. What treatments are available for hair loss?

  • Medication: Over-the-counter topical solutions like minoxidil.
  • Hair transplants.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments.
  1. How can I care for my hair to prevent loss?


  • Use a wide-toothed comb to prevent pulling.
  • Minimize twisting, pulling, and rubbing.
  • Avoid harsh treatments (curling irons, straighteners, hot-oil treatments).
  1. Is hair loss treatable?

Hair loss is often treatable, typically depending on the underlying cause, with various options available. Common treatments, especially for androgenic alopecia (male and female pattern hair loss), may include medications like minoxidil, topical treatments, hair transplant surgery, and lifestyle changes. Early intervention and consistent treatment adherence are key factors contributing to successful outcomes. It’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice and a tailored treatment plan.

Popup image

Thank you for joining!