Male Pattern Hair Loss

male-pattern-hair-lossMen can now arrest male pattern hair loss with powerful, safe prescription medication.

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What is male pattern hair loss?

This is a genetically determined pattern of baldness affecting men from their 20s onward. It is most commonly recognised between age 30 – 60. Being inherited, it requires the male hormone testosterone to occur in a man. Women, owing to differing hormonal profiles lose their hair in different patterns altogether, if at all.

What are the consequences of male pattern baldness?

Beginning at the hairline, the hair thins and recedes at the temples, continuing to the crown of the scalp. Depending on personal factors, some men feel quite distraught to observe this condition begin, once they understand that it is inexorable and that untreated, they will go bald like their affected older male relatives.

How is male pattern hair recognised?

Increased hair loss and thinning at the temples are the earliest signs.
Patchy hair loss in circles (a little like crop circles) is usually Alopecia areata or (more rarely nowadays) a severe fungal infection. Being different to Male pattern baldness, these diseases are treated completely differently.

Dermatologist can assess the shrinkage of the hair follicles under special magnification. The diagnosis is fairly evident to any educated observer. The Norwood Scale can be used to determine the extent of hair loss (see http://www.americanhairloss.org/men_hair_loss/the_norwood_scale.asp).

What causes male pattern hair loss?

Testosterone is converted in a number of body organs including scalp hair follicles into dihydroxytestosterone (DHT).

In genetically coded individuals there is an increased sensitivity to DHT which leads to shrinkage of hair follicles over time. As a result, the hairs growing in the affected follicles become finer and finally fail to re-grow, once they are shed normally.

What can be done about male pattern hair loss?

While the natural sensitivity to DHT cannot be easily altered, the conversion from testosterone to DHT can be reduced, especially by the drug Finasteride (Propecia). Surgical or accidental removal of the testicles will have the same effect, but understandably in a more dramatic fashion.

Minoxidil, a medicine created to lower blood pressure when applied as a cream (Regaine) has a definite effect to alter the scalp blood supply and helping male pattern hair loss. Its effectiveness is approximately half that of oral Finasteride.

Who is likely to get it?

Male pattern baldness is virtually always inherited. In theory it is more likely to pass via the maternal line but can be inherited via either or both parents. However other patterns of baldness eg from severe disease, stress or poor diet occur as well. These cause different patterns of baldness. Poor hair care/ hair dyes/ permanent wave chemicals etc can alter hair appearance, but will not cause male pattern baldness.

How common is male pattern hair loss?

The incidence is variously quoted as between 40 to 70% adult males developing this condition, with over 40% UK men losing hair by 35 and 66% by age 60. The vast majority (95%) of men going bald will do so from male pattern baldness.

How can we treat male pattern hair loss?

Many simply accept it and see it as part of their inheritance. “Some inherit money, others, baldness” Others wear a wig.

Surgery can be most helpful but is certainly not a cheap or easy option. Scalp reduction operations and hair follicle mini-transplants give a vastly better result than in the past. Topical creams such as Minoxidil and herbal applications, low level laser and scalp counter-irritant applications eg Rosemary oil have all been used with relatively mixed results in general. The mainstay of modern medical management of male pattern hair loss however is Finasteride (Propecia).

What does Finasteride (Propecia) do?

This decreases the shrinkage of hair follicles and associated hair loss.
This delays hair loss and encourages hair re-growth.
The effect is especially seen and clinically validated for hair loss on the crown but many patients report worthwhile improvements at the temples as well.

Can Finasteride (Propecia) CURE baldness?

No. It arrests the disease completely and dramatically improves the scalp hair in about 1/3. In another 1/3 it gives substantial improvement. In the remaining 1/3 little worthwhile benefit is seen. However overall, 90% men taking this medication will note some decrease in hair loss and or noticeable regrowth. The “2/3 VERY satisfied” result remains a constant figure for most prescribers, over many years of clinical use.

What are the side effects of Finasteride/ Propecia treatment?

While severe side effects are quite rare, nonetheless owing to its action on testosterone metabolism, some decrease in sex drive or erectile dysfunction may occur. In the vast majority of cases these side effects disappear on stopping the medication.
Like any drug it may cause a drug allergy rash and itching.
Rarely breast tenderness can occur.
Extremely rarely, prostate cancer may be linked to excessive dosage of this medication although in theory it should actually prevent it.
The overall message is that this is a safe medication and side effects are not common and mostly easily reversible.

What happens if I stop the medication?

The hair growth / regrowth caused by the treatment is lost.
In short, you would revert to the level of baldness you would have developed without the treatment.
You would however NOT be any worse off for having taken this treatment.

How long before benefit is seen?

The effect is not instant: only a wig works this way.
However the majority of patients note definite improvements between three to six months with continuing improvement occurring for up to two years.

What can the NHS offer me?

Minoxidil (Regaine) cream may be available via the NHS. At its best however, Regaine is no more than 1/2 as effective as Finasteride/ Propecia which is NOT available on NHS.

If you are a man suffering from hair loss you can buy Propecia hair loss treatments from us by completing an online assessment and ordering online. We will post your medicine to the address you indicate.

Please note that Propecia is not a suitable treatment for hair loss in women and is not available on the NHS.


Propecia will either stop hair loss or lead to hair regrowth in 9 out of 10 men.

Price List

Medication Strength per dose Pack size Price £
Propecia (Finasteride) 1mg 28 55
Propecia (Finasteride) 1mg 84 120