Understanding Male Pattern Baldness

If you’re experiencing male pattern baldness (Androgenic Alopecia), you’re not alone. Pattern baldness is the most common form of hair loss for men, typically caused by some combination of genetics and hormonal factors.

Hair Shaft & Follicle

Causes of Male Pattern Baldness

Each hair on your body sits in a hair follicle. Male pattern baldness usually begins when certain hair follicles start shrinking over time, making hair finer, shorter and weaker. Eventually, those brittle follicles stop producing new hair altogether, resulting in hair thinning and pattern baldness.

Symptoms of Male Pattern Baldness

Although male pattern baldness can usually be traced at the hairline, it can take many different forms on the head.

For instance, as your hairline gradually recedes with time, it may begin forming an “M” shape on your head starting at your widow’s peak. As additional follicles begin to weaken and more hair fall out, that “M” shape may eventually transform into an inverted “U” shape on both sides of your head, leaving little hair on top of your head and some on the sides.

Alternately, other men may experience balding only on top of their head, while still maintaining a healthy overall hairline. In any case of pattern baldness, the underlying causes are often the same.

How Do You Know If You Have Male Pattern Baldness?

For the most part, male pattern baldness can be determined by examining the appearance and pattern of hair loss using the Norwood Scale.

Male pattern baldness can also be identified by one of the following symptoms:

  • Patches of hair loss
  • Shedding of hair
  • Hair breakage
  • Hair loss with scaling, pain, or redness

In cases where the usual patterns do not exist or are not easily identifiable, undergoing a skin biopsy or other diagnostic procedure may be needed to understand the root cause of your hair loss, and to know if male pattern baldness is the culprit.

norwood scale

The Norwood Scale

How Can Male Pattern Baldness Be Treated?

Luckily, today there are enough options for patients to choose from to help manage their hair loss, and avoid the emotional trauma, psychological stress, and loss of self-esteem that often comes with it. And, of course, if you are perfectly comfortable with the gradual changes in your appearance as your hair loss progresses, you can embrace your state of baldness!

There are a multitude of treatment options available today aimed at treating male pattern baldness, but it’s important to understand what these treatments promise and how they work.

There are two main types of hair loss solutions. One works by slowing down the progression of hair loss and the other helps regrow hair. Unfortunately there is no cure for hereditary hair loss. The only permanent way to get your hair restored remains to be surgical hair restoration (hair transplantation).

This does not mean that medications and solutions are not effective. They work best for people in early stages of hair loss and to complement hair transplantation. Here are some of the more common remedies for pattern baldness:

  • Topical solutions: Topicals can be applied directly to your scalp to revitalize hair follicles that are shrunken due to male pattern hair loss and regrow hair. Depending on the condition and severity of hair loss, some people are able to regrow new hair, but continued use of the topical solution is necessary to maintain sustained results over time. The most common solution is Minoxodil, which is the main active ingredient in Rogaine®.
  • Oral medications: Certain prescription pills can help curb the production of the male hormone (Dihydrotestosterone or DHT) responsible for pattern baldness. Much like the topical solutions, continued use is necessary to maintain any results yielded from the medication Today, Propecia is the most common drug used to treat male pattern baldness.
  • Hair replacement: Many cosmetic solutions— like hair systems, wigs, toupees, and weaves— do not involve a surgical procedure. These solutions typically require some maintenance, and often come down to factors including one’s lifestyle, willingness to continue ongoing replacement maintenance and costs. The main benefit of cosmetic hair replacement is the full-head-of-hair results one can get immediately post application.
  • Hair transplantation surgery: As performed by Bosley, this procedure involves taking hair follicles from one part of your head where there is healthy growing hair, and transferring them to the areas affected by baldness where hair is needed.

Typically, the area where the hair is transferred from can be found on the back of your head. That’s because the hair found in these areas of your scalp are known to be resistant to the hormone Dihydrotestosterone (or DHT) ─ the main culprit in male pattern baldness. The logicbehind hair transplant surgery is that these DHT-resistant hairs, when transferred to balding or thinning areas, will continue to thrive and grow naturally as they would have in the donor area. And that’s why hair transplant surgery is often viewed as a permanent solution to hair loss.

Good hair transplantations are virtually undetectable. Bosley is known for permanent and natural-looking results, having perfected the art and science of hair restoration for more than 40 years.

To help determine which treatment option is best for your male pattern hair loss, you may want to take the first step by consulting with your physician or contacting Bosley to explore the various treatments options available to you, including permanent hair restoration. Schedule your free Bosley consultation now to learn which hair loss treatment options are best for you.


Learn More:

Why Hair Transplantation

Choosing a Hair Transplant Physician

Bosley Interactive Photo Gallery

The Basics of Hair Transplantation

Hair transplantation has been around for over seventy years, with the early form of it being performed in 1939. Today, we have come a very long way from the technique used then and in the 70s and 80s. In recent years, as the science of transplantation has evolved, hair transplantation procedures have become even mainstream, hair transplantation results are so natural looking, they are nearly impossible to detect.

The popularity of hair transplantation in the past decade can be attributed in large part to the advances in medical research and the innovation of hair restoration technology and techniques. Dr. L.Lee Bosley, a pioneer in the art and science of hair restoration, has always instilled the significance of artistry and skill in hair transplantation, so much so that these have become a hallmark of Bosley. This hallmark of artistry includes the ability to study facial structure and hairline patterns to produce the most natural looking hairline and results for our patients.

Let’s have a look at the basics of a Bosley hair transplantation procedure.

Initial Consultation: All hair transplant procedures must be preceded by an in-depth analysis of the patient’s hair loss condition including classification. In fact, no procedure at Bosley can be recommended or scheduled without the patient having had a consultation. Hair transplant physicians at Bosley heavily emphasize the significance of the consultation as a critical component of the procedure as it allows the surgeon to identify factors contributing to a patient’s hair loss, determine the hair loss classification for the patient and craft a hair restoration treatment plan and cost estimate specific to each patient. These measures ensure that the patient is presented with the most effective treatment options to meet their goals. During the hair transplant consultation, the patient also learns the specifics about the procedure and aftercare period and is presented financing options if desired.

Bosley Hair Bosley Hair Transplant Patient Keith B, before and after the procedure.

Bosley Hair Transplant Patient Keith B, before and after the procedure.

Hair Loss Classification: The pattern and severity of hair loss make up the hair loss classification, a standard scale used to determine the size and type of hair transplantation procedure recommended to give the patients their desired results. The size of the procedure translates to the number of grafts (hair follicles) to be harvested and transplanted for the procedure. Patients will also be presented the two available techniques for a hair transplantation procedure including, the FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) and FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) procedures and a recommendation between the two based on the patients goals will be offered Women’s hair loss patterns are measured on the Ludwig Scale, while men’s hair loss patterns are classified using the Norwood Scale.

Donor Area: Hair loss occurs in a variety of patterns in men and women, and for hair transplantation, the rear and sides of the head (where there is usually plenty of DHT-resistant, healthy hair) serves as the donor area. Using the FUT or FUE techniques, individual hair follicles from the donor area are used to fill in the thin areas of the scalp to produce natural looking results for the patient. Once the transplant technique has been determined during the consultation, the size of the thinning area, the density of the hair and the hair texture will be taken into consideration to determine the number of hair follicles needed to produce the desired results.

Hair Quality: A large part of the cosmetic success of a hair transplant is the quality of the donor hair being transplanted. Hair quality encompasses many factors including density, volume, the thickness of the hair follicles, and the growth pattern (straight, wavy, curly, etc.). In our experience, usually the higher the density of the available donor hair, the better the outcome to be expected. This is the main reason a consultation is necessary for a hair and scalp micro-analysis and price cannot be quoted on the phone. Not everyone will be a candidate for surgical hair restoration and patients have varying number of grafts needed to achieve the coveted hair restoration results.

The hormone DHT is the most common cause of hair loss.

The hormone DHT is the most common cause of hair loss.

The Procedure: During the hair transplant procedure hair follicles from the donor area of the head are transferred to the recipient area using a micrograft procedure performed Bosley’s skilled physicians by either FUT or FUE technique. The donor hair is identified and selected for extraction from the DHT resistant areas (DHT is the hormone which causes hair loss in most individuals and is responsible for male and female pattern hair loss). Since the donor hairs are DHT-resistant, once transplanted, they will grow and thrive in the recipient areas naturally. This concept called Donor Dominance is the basis of hair transplantation and why it works.

It’s important to work with your hair transplant physician and counselor to set realistic expectations for the procedure and get a good understanding of what to expect during the aftercare period. Have an open discussion with your surgeon to make an informed decision about the causes of your hair loss and the surgical and non-surgical treatment options that are best for you. Contact Bosley to schedule a free consultation and discover the benefits of a permanent natural hair loss solution.


Learn More:

Hair Transplant FAQs

Comparing Hair Transplant Techniques

Choosing a Hair Transplant Physician

Eyebrow Restoration: Put an End to Eyebrow Hair Loss

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the eyebrows are the frames. A pair of lush, full eyebrows can do wonders to bring out the best features of your face. While a pair of well-shaped and full eyebrows can accentuate your features, thin or absent eyebrows can have the opposite effect.

Modern developments in hair transplantation techniques mean it is no longer necessary to live with thinning or absent eyebrows. Eyebrow restoration, utilizing a similar technique to hair transplantation, can modify the shape and thickness of your eyebrows, or fill in sparse ones.

Kelly Becker Before and After Eyebrow Restoration at Bosley

Many people suffer from eyebrow hair loss, and the causes differ from person to person. Some people have a genetic predisposition to thinning eyebrows, much like with hair loss, and sometimes the thinning is caused by lifestyle factors like stress and diet. Over-plucking, harmful chemicals (for example, from eyebrow bleaching), and scarring can also cause hair loss in the eyebrow area.

Bosley, the world’s most experienced hair restoration expert, understands how hair loss including eyebrow loss can affect one’s appearance and self-esteem. Having performed hair restoration procedures for over 40 years, Bosley has seen how hair restoration and eyebrow restoration can drastically transform a patient’s look and self-confidence. When you look good, you tend to feel good.

Bosley physicians restore thinning eyebrows by transplanting a small number of hair follicles from the area around or behind the ear to the eyebrow region. The eyebrow procedure, is an outpatient procedure and can be completed most often within two to three hours. Bosley physicians pay special attention to the eyebrow shape, one that matches the patient’s unique facial structure and original eyebrow shape to produce natural looking results. The outcome is restored eyebrows that integrate seamlessly with natural facial features creating beautiful facial symmetry.

Because each person’s facial structure is different, only a skilled physician can design an eyebrow that takes into consideration the thickness of the brow, the space between the eyebrows, and the length of the eyebrow is relation to the rest of the patient’s face. The skill and artistry of Bosley physicians, performing the state-of-the-art Bosley Follicular Unit Extraction technique guarantees results so natural-looking, no one should be able to tell that you’ve had the procedure done. There are three levels of eyebrow restoration options available at Bosley:

Eyebrow Touch-Up: This level is useful for patients looking to enhance the shape or fullness of their eyebrows and generally requires around 100 hair grafts to produce noticeable results.

Eyebrow Enhancement: This is also an option for patients lacking sufficient eyebrow hair, especially if scarring is present that needs to be covered. A typical eyebrow enhancement involves 100-200 grafts.

Full Eyebrow Restoration: This treatment is best suited for individuals with no remaining eyebrow hair due to over-plucking or hereditary disposition. Generally, just one procedure is sufficient to fill in the entire eyebrow area, which includes over 200 grafts.

Bosley provides natural and cost-effective eyebrow hair restoration procedures that takes into consideration each patient’s unique facial features and treatment goals. It’s important to discuss your hair loss situation with a Bosley counselor and a Bosley physician to understand the factors contributing to your eyebrow hair loss to determine the number of grafts needed to get the results you desire. Contact Bosley today to schedule a free consultation at an office near you and request a free information kit to learn more about natural and permanent hair restoration options offered by Bosley.


Learn More

Why Hair Transplantation?

Eyebrow Restoration at Bosley

Eyebrow Restoration Before and After Photos


Worth Every Dime: Columnist Joel Stein Shares His Bosley Experience in GQ Magazine

Humor Columnist Joel Stein recounts his hair transplant procedure with Bosley Medical in the latest issue of GQ Magazine (January 2015 issue). Read the full article.

Like many people, TIME columnist Joel Stein believed that considering a hair transplant procedure was a sign of male vanity. He used Minoxidil, but only experienced a slight improvement in his hairline from continued use. He wanted a more effective solution to his hair loss, so he consulted with his wife and close friends before making the decision to move forward with a hair transplant procedure.

Originally Stein believed that losing his hair wouldn’t have any noticeable impact on his daily life since he was already in a committed, long-term relationship. “What I soon realized though, was that I wasn’t just balding. I was balding in a particularly bad way: from the front, in a backward march to the top of my head.” He stated that losing the hair in the front of his head was difficult to disguise, and despite his best efforts to find a hair style that would camouflage the thinning, he was unable to get good results.

Stein had his consultation and surgery at Bosley’s headquarters in Beverly Hills, CA. His physician Dr. Suddleson recommended a 1,600 graft Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) procedure. The night before his scheduled surgery, Stein began to feel anxious about having the procedure. “I had that fight-or-flight adrenaline spike that reduces your peripheral vision and makes everything super-focused,” he recalls. “I didn’t want to be known as the guy with bad plugs. My freak-out was so intense and annoying that Cassandra (my wife) suggested I call and postpone.”

Despite his initial fears, Stein proceeded with his scheduled hair transplant surgery, noting that “it was, by far, the easiest medical procedure I’ve ever been through.”

Now, about a year later, he is very pleased with his Bosley results. “It was kind of like magic – just from sitting in a chair for a few hours, I suddenly had my hair back”.

Read the full article at GQ.com

See more before and after photos of hair transplant patients in the Bosley Interactive Gallery.


Related Articles:

Comparing Hair Transplantation Methods – FUE & FUT

Why Hair Transplantation?

Choosing a Hair Transplant Physician

Comparing Hair Transplantation Methods – FUE & FUT

The main difference between of a hair transplant procedure and any other hair restoration solution is the permanence and results. A hair transplant procedure provides results that look and feel so natural, no one should be able to tell if one has had the procedure done. Recent advances in medical technology have not only made the dream of restoring ones hair a reality, but made the dream of natural-looking results the presumed norm.

dean B

Today, hair transplant physicians are able to make use of different techniques to extract and transplant large numbers of hair follicles (follicular units). There are two primary techniques for hair transplantation currently in use. The FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) and the FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) methods. They differ primarily in the way hair follicles are extracted from the donor area.

Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)

The FUT process involves removing a small strip of tissue from the back of the head, from which the donor hair follicles will be extracted. The hair follicles are harvested from the strip by a skilled clinical team before being individually transplanted to the recipient areas. In most cases, and especially cases of advanced hair loss, FUT is the preferred method because it allows the physician to fully utilize the scalp area to deliver results consistent with patient expectations. FUT typically allows for the greatest number of grafts to be transplanted in a single session.

Pain Management

Some patients report higher levels of discomfort with FUT procedures compared to FUE due the potential swelling in the area where the strip of tissue was removed, but both methods have a very manageable recovery period and pain medication can be prescribed by your physician if needed. Both techniques of hair transplantation are relatively simple. Hair transplantation procedures are outpatient surgeries with some patients going back to work as soon as the very next day.


The FUT strip extraction method typically results in a very narrow linear scar in the back of the head (typically 1mm in diameter or less in size). Since the scar is very thin, it’s easily concealed by all but the shortest of haircut styles. A short to moderate crop setting on most clippers is sufficient to conceal the scar for the majority of patients, and over time the scar will become less noticeable as it fades.


The industry norm for pricing is on a per-graft basis. This allows each individual to pay for only what they need and receive in number of grafts, and not a flat rate that in the end may cost you more. The per-graft cost of a FUT procedure is generally lower than that of a FUE procedure. Lately however, in response to the rising popularity of the FUE technique, many hair transplantation clinics have started lowering the per graft cost on FUE procedures, so that the cost difference between the two types of procedure are not as much as most people think. The costs of medical procedures always vary by patients’ conditions, needs and objectives. For the most accurate assessment of your hair loss and the associated cost of your hair restoration, you will need to speak to a physician.

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

In an FUE hair transplantation, each follicular unit is individually taken directly from the scalp with no strip of tissue being removed. Hair follicles are removed in a random fashion and the result is less density in the donor area that many say is not even noticeable. This is the main difference between FUE & FUT. Since follicles are removed one at a time, fewer follicles can be harvested during a typical session, making FUE a better option to restore hair in smaller cases (number of grafts) compared to the traditional FUT method. FUE is constantly evolving and what was once utilized for only smaller cases is now being utilized for larger and larger cases. Some people that prefer the FUE method may have the option of splitting their procedure into two days in order to complete their recommended transplantation goals.

Pain Management

With no stitches required and no linear scar left to heal, FUE procedures do have a faster healing time and less post-procedure discomfort compared to the traditional FUT procedure.


Since FUE procedures involve removing hairs individually from the scalp, there is no linear scar left behind. However, there will be tiny 1mm in diameter or less puncture marks that tend to heal by themselves after scabbing-over in the days following the procedure. These tiny wounds typically heal within three to seven days.


Since the physician must remove each hair follicle individually, the time-sensitive nature of an FUE procedure typically makes it more expensive than an FUT procedure. As stated earlier, FUE technology is improving as well as gaining popularity and many hair restoration practices (including Bosley) have started to lower the cost per graft price for FUE procedures. Nowadays, the cost difference between a FUE and a FUT procedures is less disparate.

Choosing a Hair Transplant Method

During your initial consultation, the physician will determine which transplantation method is best for you based on your hair loss classification, the size of the thinning area, quality and quantity of your available donor hair. Schedule a consultation today and determine which hair transplantation method is best for you.


Learn More

Why Hair Transplantation?

Hair Loss Treatment for Men & Women

Bosley Hair Restoration Options