According to Richard Strick, MD, a dermatologist and clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, Los Angeles, patients who have begun to lose their hair should begin immediate treatment. It’s easier to stop losing hair than to replace hair that’s gone.

“Before a hair follicle shuts down, it first gets smaller and produces finer hair,” says Strick. “So when you first notice that the hair on the top of your head or at your temples is finer than the neighboring hair, see a doctor. Once the follicle has shut down it’s difficult—sometimes impossible—to restimulate.”

Male-pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss. Physicians say that by age 30, one third of men will show some signs of the condition, which is caused by a shutdown of hair follicles in response to DHT, a byproduct of testosterone.

Craig Ziering, DO, a Southern California hair restoration surgeon, says if a patient has male-pattern baldness, hair transplants may be an option. For those who don’t want to go the surgical route, there are also proven products that can stop or slow balding. Laser devices, such as hand-held combs or brushes that emit low-level light, also promote hair growth. 

If patients are weary of these treatments, physicians say there’s always another option—accepting baldness.

The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery is currently holding its annual scientific meeting in San Diego through October 22nd. For more information, visit www.ishrs.org.

[www.latimes.com, October 16, 2006]