Male Pattern Baldness: Causes and Treatment

Dr. Prawin Shinde

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Prawin Shinde

General Physician

5 min read


While male patten baldness is usual among aged men, it can also impact teenagers. You can accept male baldness if it doesn’t bother you or go for certain male pattern baldness treatment procedures.

Key Takeaways

  • The medical term for male patten baldness is androgenic alopecia
  • The causes of male baldness include genetics, age and other health conditions
  • For male pattern baldness treatment, medications are most effective

Androgenic alopecia, usually known as male pattern baldness, is the usual hair loss that men suffer from after a certain age. It happens due to the alteration in hormone levels, which usually takes place in the later years of a man’s life. It is also the most common type of hair loss among men. As per research, male baldness affects half of men over the age of 50 [1].

Though it is quite normal and expected to experience male pattern baldness, it can still be an uneasy and distressing experience. Apart from aging, there can be other vital health conditions associated with pattern baldness. Read on to learn about the causes of male pattern baldness, those who are at high risk of getting the condition, as well as a male pattern baldness treatment. 

Male Pattern Baldness Causes

While male pattern baldness is usually a natural phenomenon of aging, there are certain factors that affect this condition. Take a look at them.  


It is important to note that each hair in your hair strand has a growth cycle. As you age, your hair follicle becomes weak and produces shorter and thinner hair. After a certain point of time, the growth cycle comes to a complete end, and no more hair develops on your scalp. 


The male sex hormone androgen plays a major role in regulating hair growth. Once the level of this hormone starts diminishing, it may increase the chance of getting male pattern baldness.  

Male Pattern Baldness Causes


If you have a history of male pattern baldness in your family, especially among the first and second-degree relatives, there are high chances of you getting it too.

Apart from these, you may get male pattern baldness if you have the following conditions: 

  • Thyroid disorders 
  • Lupus 
  • More than the usual quantity of vitamin A in the body 
  • Malnutrition 
  • An abnormal quantity of prostaglandin D2, a type of protein present in your scalp [2] 
  • Temporary hair loss caused by telogen effluvium 
  • Cancers 
  • Loss of iron 
  • Conditions where you have to consume blood thinners (like after undergoing cardiac valve replacement surgery)
Additional Read: Hair Care Tips

Risk of Getting Male Pattern Baldness

Though it is a common condition among older men, pattern baldness can also affect you in your teenage years. Individuals whose relatives from the maternal side have this condition are at higher risk. Apart from that, if you have any of the health conditions linked to male pattern baldness, you are also at high risk for the condition.

tips to prevent hair loss

Male Pattern Baldness Treatment Procedures 

While many men view pattern baldness as a natural course of getting older, some may suffer from mental health conditions like depression and low self-esteem due to it. For such individuals, accepting the change in their body and appearance may require the guidance of mental health experts. 

In terms of male pattern baldness treatment options, using shampoos such as zinc pyrithione (1%) and ketoconazole (2%) can be beneficial. Apart from that, there are two types of drugs to treat male pattern baldness as approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). 

1. Minoxidil 

Also known as Rogaine, this is an OTC medicine available at pharmacies as foam or lotion. It works as a topical treatment, and you need to apply it to your scalp. Originally used for reducing hypertension, this dug came to be known as beneficial for male pattern baldness treatment. However, note that results are not immediate and can take up to three to six months to become visible. So, it is important to make sure that you keep applying it without any gaps. Common side-effects of applying this medicine are as follows: 

  • Hives 
  • Contact dermatitis 
  • Rapid weight gain 
  • Irritation 
  • Sensitivity 
  • Inflammation 
  • Breathing difficulty

It may also have rare side effects like headache, lightheadedness, numbness in the face, blurred vision, chest pain, abnormal heart rate, and more. 

Additional Read: Home Remedies for Dry and Frizzy Hair

2. Finasteride 

Also known as Propecia, this is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, which you can use as an oral treatment. However, you need a doctor’s prescription to purchase this medication. It plays a key role in preventing dihydrotestosterone, a male hormone that helps reduce the hair follicles on your scalp. As a result, the drug can slow the impact of conditions leading to male pattern baldness. This drug also can take more than six months to be effective. Doctors may ask you to consume the 1mg tablet every day for three months or more to get a result. Make sure not to stop the medication, as that can lead to adverse effects.

Some probable side-effects of taking it are as follows: 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Stomach pain 
  • Tender or enlarged breast tissue 
  • Headache 
  • Sexual disorders such as loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, and more 
  • Inflammation in parts of your mouth 
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Skin rash 
  • Back pain

Note that dutasteride has the same properties as finasteride and can be beneficial for male pattern baldness treatment.

Keep in mind that in case none of the treatment procedures help, it is prudent to accept your look as it is, go for hair transplantation or choose a completely bald look. Undergoing this change may require the support of your near and dear ones, so let them know about your decision. You can also take the help of an experienced dermatologist to guide you through the process. You can opt for online doctor consultation to get more information about this or even for hair growth tips or ingrown hair treatment.

The easiest way to book a teleconsultation with a wide range of doctors is on the Bajaj Finserv Health app or website. Here you can book an appointment with a dermatologist or any other specialist, filtering the results based on the area you prefer, languages are known, highest degree, experience, and other crucial parameters. Just visit the website or download the app on your mobile to get comprehensive care for your health.

Published on 11 Aug 2022Last updated on 28 Dec 2022

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dr. Prawin Shinde

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Prawin Shinde

, MBBS 1 , Diploma in Medical Cosmetology and Aesthetic Medicine 2


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