How to Treat Male Pattern Hair Loss

Three Methods:Exploring Treatment OptionsImproving Your Hair HealthUsing Natural Remedies

Male pattern baldness (also known as androgenic alopecia) is estimated to affect about 50 million men in the United States. It starts with hair loss above the temples generating the typical "M" shape. Over time, the loss of hair continues around the top of the head and sometimes claims the hair on the sides and rear of the head as well, leading to complete baldness. If you experience male pattern baldness and do not feel comfortable with your appearance, there are certain treatment options available.[1]

Method 1
Exploring Treatment Options

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    Understand how male pattern baldness works. Although androgenic alopecia is linked with the presence of male sex hormones (androgens), its exact cause is unknown.[2]
    • Male pattern baldness is caused by genetic predisposition and the main androgen believed to be associated with baldness is dihydrotestosterone (DHT).[3]
    • Increased level of DHT in hair follicles is believed to shorten the hair's growth cycle and delay growth of new hair.[4]
    • Over time, the hair follicles stop growing new hair; however, the follicles remain alive, suggesting that they may still be able to grow new hair.[5]
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    Try Minoxidil (Rogaine). Minoxidil is an FDA approved topical treatment to treat male pattern baldness. It is a solution that stimulates the hair follicles to grow and is applied directly onto your scalp.[6]
    • Minoxidil slows hair loss and some men experience growth of new hair. However, hair loss usually returns if the medication is stopped, so you must continue using minoxidil to continue to see results.
    • Adverse events associated with Minoxidil include itching, skin rash, acne, burning, inflammation, and swelling.[7]
    • Serious side effects that may indicate too much of the medication has absorbed to your body include blurred vision, chest pain, dizziness, fainting and irregular heartbeat.[8]
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    Ask your doctor if you should take finasteride. Finasteride (marketed under Propecia and Proscar) is an oral prescription pill and somewhat more effective than minoxidil. It works by binding to the enzyme that would otherwise convert free testosterone to DHT.[9]
    • Finasteride slows hair loss as long as you take it. However, as soon as you discontinue therapy, hair loss typically returns within a year.[10]
    • Side effects associated with finasteride include chills; cold sweats; confusion; dizziness; hives; swelling in the legs, arms and face; tingling; erectile dysfunction; decreased libido; and ejaculatory dysfunction; and weight gain.[11]
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    Get a hair transplant. During a hair transplant, tiny patches of hair are moved from one part of your scalp to the balding area. Hair transplants are usually done during several sessions and although they can be expensive, the results are effective and permanent. [12]
    • Before the procedure, you will receive local anesthesia to numb the scalp.
    • During the procedure, a small section of a hairy scalp is removed (donor area) and the remaining skin is stitched together. Then, small groups of hair are carefully separated out from the donor area and inserted into the bald area.[13]
    • Thousands of hairs may be transplanted during one session
    • Hair transplants can cause scarring and bleeding, and there is a risk of infection.

Method 2
Improving Your Hair Health

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    Eat hair-loss fighting power foods. Nutritional imbalances are often the cause for hair loss. Poor diet can lead to macronutrient (proteins, fats, carbohydrates) and micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) deficiencies which in turn can make your body unhealthy and cause hair loss. To support the health of your hair and your overall well-being, add some or all of the foods listed below to your diet:[14]
    • Eat red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (such as carrots, sweet potatoes, peppers, and cantaloupe) that are packed with vitamin A or beta carotene. Some research suggests that vitamin A promotes the growth and health of cells, including hair follicles.[15]
    • Promote healthy hair by eating fatty fish (such as salmon and sardines) that are packed with omega-3 fatty acids.[16]
    • Eat yogurt and other vitamin B5-rich foods that may increase blood flow to your scalp and consequently, promote hair growth.[17]
    • Make a salad with spinach that is packed with vitamin A, iron, folate, and vitamin C. This vitamin and mineral cocktail helps support healthy scalp and hair.[18]
    • Make sure you get enough protein by eating lean meat (such as chicken or turkey), low-fat dairy products, and protein-rich vegetables (such as beans). Hair is made of a protein molecule called keratin and thus, proper dietary protein is needed to nourish hair.[19]
    • Eat foods that contain vitamin B7 (also known as biotin), which may help promote hair grow. Foods to eat include eggs, fortified cereals, milk products and chicken.[20]
    • Eat zinc-rich foods, such as oysters, lobster and fortified cereals. Zinc deficiency can cause hair loss which is why you should ensure you are getting enough of this mineral from your daily diet.[21]
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    Drink lots of water. If your body isn't hydrated, your skin and hair cells won't be able to grow and flourish. To keep your hair healthy and growing, drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.[22]
    • Aim to get at least eight cups of water a day and more during exercise or hot weather.
    • Caffeinated drinks (such as coffee, tea, and sodas) are dehydrating and thus, drinking these can actually cause water imbalance. Try to stick to water and unsweetened teas and juices and limit your caffeine consumption to one to two drinks a day.
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    Eliminate stress in your life. Although androgenic alopecia is not reported to be stress related, stress can cause hair loss. In order to keep your hair healthy, avoid factors that trigger stress in your life. Three types of stress-related hair loss conditions are recognized:[23]
    • Telogen effluvium is a condition in which stress forces a large number of hair follicles to go into a resting phase and fall out within months.[24]
    • Trichotillomania is a stress-induced condition in which you have an irresistible urge to pull out hair and is often triggered by stress but can also result from tension, loneliness, boredom or frustration.[25]
    • Alopecia areata is a condition caused by the body's immune system attacking hair follicles, which results in hair loss.[26]
    • Unlike male pattern baldness, stress-induced hair loss is not necessarily permanent. If you control the stress, your hair might grow back.[27]
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    Get a physical exam. Some health conditions and diseases can cause hair loss that is not related to male pattern baldness. If you are losing hair, visit your doctor who can diagnose the cause of hair loss and rule out any underlying conditions.[28]
    • Hormonal imbalances and changes (such as during pregnancy, after childbirth or during menopause for women) and thyroid conditions can cause temporary hair loss.
    • Scalp infections, such as those caused by ringworm, can invade the hair and cause scaly patches and hair loss. Hair generally grows back when the infection is treated.
    • Other disorders, such as lichen planus and some types of lupus and sarcoidosis, may result in permanent loss.

Method 3
Using Natural Remedies

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    Try onion juice. Although more scientific studies are needed, onion juice may promote hair growth in patients who suffer from alopecia areata. According to a small study of 23 participants, applying crude onion juice to the scalp twice a day promoted hair regrowth within six weeks in 20 participants.[29]
    • Although this study was done in patient with alopecia areata, you may want to give it a try if you suffer from androgenic alopecia.
    • Extract onion juice by grating an onion and then straining the juice.
    • Apply onion juice to your scalp twice a day for 30 min, then wash off. Try this for at least six weeks to see if this natural method will help your hair loss.
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    Try scalp massage. Massaging your scalp will increase blood flow to the hair follicles, which can promote scalp health and strengthen your hair’s roots. However, this method has not been scientifically proven to reduce or prevent hair loss and you should try it with that in mind.
    • Use coconut or almond hair oil, or other oils such as olive, castor, or amla (Indian gooseberry) oil. Optionally, you can add a few drops of rosemary oil or lavender oil to make a mixture.
    • Apply the oil by lightly massaging it into your hair and scalp. If you are using coconut oil, do not try to melt the oil using a microwave, use your hands instead. Coconut oil does not need much heat to melt. Repeat at least twice a week for a minimum of two months to see some results.
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    Try fenugreek seed paste. Fenugreek (also called methi) seeds contain ingredients that may stimulate hair growth and enhance rebuilding of hair follicles.
    • Mix one cup of fenugreek seeds and water. Let it soak overnight.
    • Grind the mixture and make a paste that you then can apply to your hair.
    • Cover with a plastic bag or shower cap and let it sit for about 40 minutes. Rinse your hair and repeat every morning for a month.
    • As with the other natural therapies for hair loss, this method has not been scientifically proven to reduce or prevent hair loss and it might not work for you.
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    Try other home remedies. There are numerous other home or natural remedies you can try. However, keep in mind that these are not scientifically proven methods and might not work. Always consult your doctor if you have doubts about a home remedy.
    • Try aloe vera gel, which may help optimize your scalps pH and promote healthy hair growth. Massage aloe vera gel to the scalp and leave it on for an hour. Wash off and repeat three to four times a week.
    • Try licorice root paste, which has properties that may help soothe the scalp and help reduce irritation. Mix ground licorice root (1 tablespoon), saffron (quarter teaspoon) and a cup of milk. Apply the mixture on bald areas, cover and leave it on overnight. Rinse off in the morning and repeat once or twice a week.
    • Try Chinese hibiscus flower that may help promote hair growth, cure dandruff, and thicken hair. Mix flowers with coconut oil, heat until charred and strain to collect the oil. Apply to the scalp at bedtime and leave it on for overnight. In the morning, wash your hair and repeat a few times a week.
    • Other remedies you can also try include beetroot, flaxseeds or coconut milk.


  • You can maximize your results from minoxidil by dying your hair after two to three months of treatment. Minoxidil tends to create very fine hairs at first, and dying the hair increases the contrast between the hairs and the scalp, making the new hair growth area look denser. This is one common technique in before/after photos for hair loss treatments.
  • There are many different types of baldness, and they have different causes. Consult your doctor before trying out any at home treatments.
  • You may also want to try a toupee. Toupees are small wigs or artificial hairpieces that can be worn to cover the bald spot.


  • If you use any of the drugs mentioned above, make sure you investigate how to use them properly, and are aware of any potential side effects.
  • Never use any home or natural remedy if you are allergic to one of the ingredients.

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