Also known as androgenic or androgenetic alopecia, male pattern baldness arises due to hormones and heredity. Each hair is present in a tiny cavity known as a follicle, when this follicle shrinks the hair starts thinning. Then eventually this follicle doesn't grow any hair, even though it is capable of growing new hair. It is not a medical disorder, but it may affect a person's self esteem.
The exact causes of this type of baldness is not known, but it has been linked to a various hereditary factors. Pattern baldness starts with a receding hairline where the hair on the crown of the head gradually thins out and then vanishes. The gene responsible for the conversion of vast amounts of testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone) may cause this condition. DHT is extremely harmful for the hair follicles, and causes hair fall. Damaged hair follicles do not grow hair, and lead to gradual and permanent pattern baldness.
Stem Cell for Baldness
A recent study carried out on bald men by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has shown that, follicle stem cells present in the hair follicles of bald men can regenerate hair follicles when stimulated. Stem cells are cells that can be transformed into any type of cell. These cells are under intense research to cure several conditions, and baldness is one of them. The difference in the stem cells present in men who are bald and those who are not is that, the former are not changing to the subsequent level where they become progenitor cells and then to hair follicles. What is stopping the development of these stem cells is yet to be determined.
Studies conducted on mice showed that, stem cells can be transformed into the progenitor cells and then into hair follicles. It can be done by creating a wound in an area and then forcing the stem cells to develop via embryonic cellular pathway. This is based on the fact that stem cells can either transform into skin cells or hair follicle cells in a wounded area. However, they usually become skin cells so that the wound can be healed. A study conducted on mice showed that, a network of proteins known as Wnt causes the stem cells to turn into hair follicles.
Lack of Wnt proteins result in the transformation of stem cells into skin. In simple terms, if Wnt is present in human bodies, it can force the transformation of stem cells into hair follicles, thereby presenting an effective cure for pattern baldness. Researchers expect to find Wnt in human bodies too, so that it can be transferred in the follicle stem cells which can develop into mature hair follicles. Though this may take time, there is definitely some hope for balding men.
Apart from this method there are some other remedies also that can prevent and cure male pattern baldness. These include consumption of saw palmetto and green tea (two natural DHT blockers), massaging the scalp regularly to stimulate hair growth from the follicles, undergoing surgical treatments such as hair transplant, and non-surgical treatments such as photobiotherapy (where hair follicles are activated by using a cold laser beam to make the hair thicker and stronger). A skin-colored film with synthetic hair is also available nowadays which makes the scalp look thick and well covered with hair. The film is ventilated and comfortable, and is also water, chemical, and heat resistant which makes it a great choice for men.
If it is a hereditary condition ensure that you follow the aforementioned preventive remedies to keep it at bay.
Disclaimer: This MenWit article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.