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Male pattern alopecia - Hair and Scalp
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Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Male pattern alopecia - Hair and Scalp

See also in: Overview
Contributors: Vivian Wong MD, PhD, Susan Burgin MD, Mary Gail Mercurio MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Male pattern alopecia, or androgenetic alopecia, refers to the common patterned hair loss affecting many men and some women. Male pattern alopecia is mediated by dihydrotestosterone, the potent form of testosterone, which induces miniaturization of androgen-sensitive hair follicles. There is a gradual conversion of terminal hairs into indeterminate and finally vellus hairs. The condition may profoundly affect self-esteem and impair psychosocial functioning for some men, and an association between early onset male pattern alopecia and coronary artery disease has been shown. The hair loss has a strong genetic basis. Onset is usually prior to age 40.

A 2022 cross-sectional study of male balding patterns in people of color found variation between different races and ethnicities compared with White men: South Asian men had greater odds for vertex balding but lower odds for temporal balding; Chinese men were less likely to experience balding in any pattern; Black men also had lower odds for temporal, vertex, and severe balding (but to a lesser extent than Chinese men); and Black men were 4 times more likely to exhibit no or minimal balding.


L64.9 – Androgenic alopecia, unspecified

87872006 – Male pattern alopecia

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Other causes of nonscarring alopecia should be considered if the hair loss does not fit the typical frontal / temporal or vertex pattern of hair loss.
  • Alopecia areata
  • Drug-induced alopecia
  • Telogen effluvium
  • Anagen effluvium
  • Tinea capitis
  • Trichotillomania
  • Secondary syphilis
  • Frontal fibrosing alopecia
  • Congenital triangular alopecia

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Last Reviewed:07/19/2017
Last Updated:11/10/2022
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Patient Information for Male pattern alopecia - Hair and Scalp
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Male pattern alopecia - Hair and Scalp
See also in: Overview
A medical illustration showing key findings of Male pattern alopecia : Vertex scalp, Hair loss
Clinical image of Male pattern alopecia - imageId=2863495. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'Extensive thinning of hair over the frontal scalp.'
Extensive thinning of hair over the frontal scalp.
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