Hair loss in men is more common than most people think, as male pattern baldness affects two out of every three men and is considered the most prevalent type of hair loss, according to the American Hair Loss Association.

The association characterizes male pattern balding as an initial receding hairline and thinning crown, followed by gradual balding throughout the scalp, leaving only a rim or “horseshoe” pattern of hair remaining.

Dr. Sumit Ranjan, an Advocate Medical Group family medicine physician at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill., says that male pattern baldness can be blamed on heredity.

“Hair follicles are not growing as they should due to genetics and an inherited sensitivity to an increasing male sex hormone [dihydrotestosterone, or DHT], which affects the production and lifespan of hair follicles,” Dr. Ranjan says.

Although male pattern balding does not require treatment, there are ways to manage hair loss.

The American Academy of Dermatology offers these suggestions:

  • Products: Frequent or improper use of dyes, gels, relaxers and hair sprays can cause hair to break. Limiting the use of products can lead to less hair breakage.
  • Devices: High heat from blow driers can leave hair brittle and prone to damage. Dermatologist suggest allowing hair to air dry.
  • Maintenance: Improper washing, drying and combing can lead to hair vulnerability. Too much shampooing, brushing or rubbing of wet hair dry with a towel may contribute to hair loss.

Dr. Ranjan says the drugs Finasteride and Minoxidil can help fight against hair loss. He also adds that there are cosmetic surgeries available such as hair transplants. In order to stay healthy, it’s important to be aware that not all hair loss is caused by genetics and can also be signs of other issues.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine encourages contacting a physician if:

  • Hair loss begins after starting a medication.
  • Hair loss occurs with itching, skin irritation, redness, scaling, pain, or other symptoms.
  • Hair loss occurs in an atypical pattern, including rapid hair loss, widespread shedding, hair loss in patches, or hair breakage.

To learn more about men’s health, visit ManUpAtAdvocate.com. On the site, men can make same-day appointments, find helpful tips and screening information and also find a doctor.