The Basics Of Male Pattern Baldness: Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

Is your head feeling a little empty, literally? Whether you’ve just noticed your hair thinning, or you’ve been desperately attempting to salvage and cover up your bald spots for years, hair loss can be bothersome at best, and embarrassing at worst. 

What Male Pattern Baldness Looks Like

Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is the most common form of hair loss in men. Hair loss occurs over a period of time. 

  • It usually starts with thinning of the hair on your scalp.
  • It then evolves into a bald spot on the crown of your head and a receding hairline that resembles an “M” shape. 
  • If left untreated, it may eventually progress into partial or complete baldness.

Norwood Scale

The severity of male pattern baldness is often assessed using the Norwood Scale as shown below. 

Image credit: Medical News Today

How Much is Too Much Hair Loss?

If you’ve noticed some strands of hair lying around your floor or clogging up your bathroom drain, don’t panic or jump to conclusions immediately! It’s completely normal for you to shed some hair every day. In fact, a normal person may shed 50 to 100 strands of hair per day, and this number varies from person to person. However, if you are losing more than 100 strands of hair per day or 700 strands per week, you may want to get it checked out. 

You’re Not Alone in the Crowd

Male pattern baldness is a common phenomenon among men. In fact, a study in Singapore found that more than half of Singaporean men between 17 and 86 years of age suffer from male pattern baldness. Moreover, hair loss becomes more common with age, and about 69% of men experience some form of male pattern baldness by the time they hit their 36th birthday. 

Causes of Male Pattern Baldness

“Am I too stressed lately? Is my junk diet at blame? Or maybe I’m not eating enough nutrients?” Are these thoughts constantly running through your head as you try to pinpoint the cause of your hair loss? Well, you may be surprised to hear that the main culprit that’s stealing your hair aren’t any of those. Instead, let’s point your fingers in the right direction – unfavourable genetics and imbalanced hormones. 


Male pattern hair loss can be hereditary, and it can be inherited from either of your parents. Some men who are extremely lucky with their genes do not experience male pattern baldness. Besides deciding your likelihood of having male pattern baldness, your family history also decides how severe your hair loss is. 


Don’t go around lamenting about your genetics just yet! A bigger culprit may be at play – dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a male sex hormone that is usually responsible for male sex characteristics, such as the development of the male genitals, deepening of your voice, and growth of body hair. Simply put, DHT contributes to every male’s development during puberty. 

However, too much of anything isn’t going to do you any good. Excessive DHT can shrink your hair follicles, making them less conducive for supporting healthy hair growth. Furthermore, DHT messes with your hair growth cycle. Not only does this cause your hair to fall out faster, but it also causes new growing hair to be thinner and more brittle. 

Battling Hair Loss

We’re about to break to you some bad news and good news. Hold your breath – the bad news is, there’s no magical permanent cure for hair loss yet. Yikes, that sounds terrible. The good news? It’s still possible to reduce future hair loss. The sooner you act, the more hair you can preserve. After all, prevention is always better than cure, and it is more difficult to revive a hair follicle that is already “dead”. Next, let’s discuss the two most common hair loss medical treatments – minoxidil and finasteride. 


A popular choice among balding men is minoxidil, which usually comes in the form of a topical solution or lotion. Applying minoxidil to your scalp can help to slow down the progression of hair loss and restore some of your hair that you thought was gone forever. 


Another crowd-favourite treatment option is finasteride, which comes in the form of oral tablets. Finasteride reduces the level of DHT hormones, which is the main cause of male pattern baldness. This eventually helps to reduce hair loss and possibly regrow some of your hair. 

A combination of minoxidil and finasteride

A 2015 research revealed that using a combination of both minoxidil and finasteride is more effective than using either one alone. If you are unsure about your treatment options, don’t hesitate to connect with our doctors

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait 

We’re sorry to break this to you, but hair loss treatments aren’t magical and they don’t work overnight. Worse still, there might be an initial increase in hair loss, better known as “shedding”, when you first start on medical treatment. 

However, it’s important to remember that shedding is normal and will eventually go away by itself as your body adjusts to the treatment. It’s even a good sign that your treatment is working, as shedding indicates the start of a new hair growth cycle. During shedding, your older and more brittle hair will fall out, making way for new and stronger hair to grow. Normally, shedding lasts any time between 2 to 8 weeks, although this duration may vary across different individuals. If you’re lucky, you may not even experience it! 

It may take 4 months or longer to notice an improvement in hair density. Consistency is also key when it comes to hair loss treatment; your hair loss treatment is only effective if you maintain a regular treatment schedule. 

How We Can Help 

If you can’t decide on a treatment option, or if you find trudging to the clinic and waiting for your turn way too cumbersome and time-consuming, we’re here to help you. At Arx, you simply need to fill in a short questionnaire and connect with one of our friendly doctors online. You don’t even need to step out of your house – Arx promises to deliver your medications right to your doorstep in discreet packaging. 


  • Ho, C. H. (2021, May 5). Androgenetic Alopecia. StatPearls [Internet].
  • Tang, P. H., Chia, H. P., Cheong, L. L., & Koh, D. (2000). A Community Study of Male Androgenetic Alopecia in Bishan, Singapore. Singapore Medical Journal 2000, 41(5), 202–205.
  • Jewell, T. (2019, January 10). DHT: How It Causes Hair Loss and How to Slow It. Healthline.
  • British Association of Dermatologists. (2019). Male Pattern Hair Loss (Androgenetic Alopecia).
  • Chandrashekar, B. S., Nandhini, T., Vasanth, V., Sriram, R., & Navale, S. (2015). Topical minoxidil fortified with finasteride: An account of maintenance of hair density after replacing oral finasteride. Indian Dermatology Online Journal, 6(1), 17–20.

Tips for Healthier And Stronger Hair In Men

Getting strong and healthy hair isn’t tough at all; it can be achieved by tweaking your daily lifestyle. Discover new tips to help you fight against hair loss and maintain a voluminous and lustrous mane. 

You are What You Eat

Firstly, an improper diet can lead to a lack of nutrients, causing your hair to become brittle and fall out more easily. Here are some foods that will help you maintain a lush-looking head. 

1. Mediterranean diet

Research has shown that the Mediterranean diet decreases the risk of male pattern baldness, the most common form of hair loss among men. So, what’s in the Mediterranean diet? The most significant aspects of this diet are fresh vegetables and herbs. One easy-to-make dish that you can try is fresh salad. Simply toss into a bowl some fresh vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes, as well as fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, parsley or basil. Munching on these fresh vegetables and herbs at least 3 times a week has proven to reduce the risk of male pattern baldness. 

2. High-protein foods

Proteins do wonders for both building muscle and maintaining strong and healthy hair. In fact, every strand of your hair is 95% keratin, which is the hair protein. High-protein foods are ubiquitous and are most likely already part of your daily diet. 

These include: 

  • Eggs
  • Lean meat
  • Seafood
  • Tofu
  • Greek yoghurt

3. Iron-rich foods 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), iron deficiency is the most common form of deficiency in the world. Unfortunately, too little iron can lead to hair loss. Thankfully, hair loss that is due to iron deficiency is easily reversible. Replenish your body’s reservoir of iron with these iron-rich foods: 

  • Lean beef
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach 

You should also strive to consume more vitamin C as it helps your body absorb iron more efficiently. Foods rich in vitamin C include:

  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Melons
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli

4. Foods rich in omega-3 

You might have already heard of rumours about omega-3 and fish oil being great for your health. While many health benefits of omega-3 remain debatable till today, it has been scientifically established that omega-3 are beneficial for hair growth and hair loss prevention. 

Omega-3 works by supplying your hair follicles and skin with the nutrients and proteins that it needs. It also promotes blood circulation in your scalp, triggering hair growth. Furthermore, it helps prevent inflammation in your hair follicles, which is often a direct cause of hair loss.

Omega-3 fish oils can be easily bought off the shelves. Not so keen on those? The good news is that there are many other sources of omega-3 that you can incorporate into your daily diet. These include:

  • Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna
  • Egg yolks
  • Walnuts
  • Flax seeds

Scrutinise Your Hair Product Labels

The next time you use your hair care products, you might want to read the ingredient labels first. Some hair care products, ironically, aren’t that caring for your hair after all. If your hair care products contain any of the following ingredients, it’s time to ditch them and shop for a new one.

  • Sulfate
  • Parabens
  • Fragrance
  • PEG
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hexachlorophene
  • Phthalates 

Don’t Forget Your Hair Conditioner 

After shampooing your hair, remember to use a hair conditioner. Conditioners are essential for maintaining the moisture and natural oils of your hair, ultimately helping to keep the shine in your hair. 

Here’s how to use your shampoo and conditioner correctly.

While shampooing, it is more important to massage your scalp instead of completely focusing on the lengths of your hairWhen using a hair conditioner, it’s best to avoid the scalp and apply the conditioner only to the lengths of your hair.

Keep Your Hair on Your Head, Not on Your Comb

If you’ve just stepped out of your shower, resist the temptation to brush your hair immediately. That’s because brushing your hair when it is still wet can lead to significant damage and breakage. If you really need to brush your hair when it is still wet, switch to a brush that has its bristles spaced further apart.  

Stop Smoking

Has anyone ever nagged you to quit smoking? Well, brace yourself, as we’re about to nag you further. Many studies have shown that smoking is associated with male pattern baldness since tobacco damages your hair follicles. 

Smoking is also terrible for your general blood circulation as it causes plaque to build up in your blood vessels. Not only does this increase your risk of stroke and heart attack, but it also hinders the blood supply to your scalp, causing your hair follicles to be deprived of nutrients that are usually transported by blood. Moreover, a study in 2013 also discovered that smoking causes your grey hair to sprout out before you even turn 30 years old. 

Essentially, smoking is terrible for your health, including your hair’s health. Don’t smoke your hair and health away! For more information and support on quitting smoking, check out the smoking cessation programmes by the Health Promotion Board (HPB). 

Embrace It

Balding doesn’t necessarily make you less attractive. Don’t believe us? Dwayne Johnson, better known as “The Rock”, has literally been rocking the bald look. There’s a long list of bald celebrities that still look great and charming, including Pitbull, Howie Mandel and Bruce Willis. 

If you need more solid evidence on the attractiveness of baldness, a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania revealed that bald men were perceived to be more dominant, taller and stronger. Whatever it is, confidence is key to looking and feeling fabulous. Learn to love the way you look and don’t compare yourself with others!

How We Can Help

Arx offers hair loss treatments for men who are having signs of male pattern baldness. It’s simple, convenient and you don’t even need to leave your house. Ready to embark on your journey towards a fuller head of hair? Click here to find out more!


  •  Fortes, C., Mastroeni, S., Mannooranparampil, T., Abeni, D., & Panebianco, A. (2017). Mediterranean diet: fresh herbs and fresh vegetables decrease the risk of Androgenetic Alopecia in males. Archives of Dermatological Research, 310(1), 71–76.
  • World Health Organization. (2020, April 20). WHO guidance helps detect iron deficiency and protect brain development. World Health Organization. 
  •  Gavazzoni Dias, M. F. R. (2015). Hair cosmetics: An overview. International Journal of Trichology, 7(1), 2–15.
  • Su, L.H., & Chen, T. H. H. (2007). Association of Androgenetic Alopecia With Smoking and Its Prevalence Among Asian Men. Archives of Dermatology, 143(11), 1401–1406. 
  • Zayed, A. A., Shahait, A. D., Ayoub, M. N., & Yousef, A. M. (2013). Smokers′ hair: Does smoking cause premature hair graying? Indian Dermatology Online Journal, 4(2), 90–92. 
  • Mannes, A. E. (2012). Shorn Scalps and Perceptions of Male Dominance. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4(2), 198–205.