Androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness is the hair loss condition most suitably treated by hair transplant procedures. This is because balding occurs in a particular order. The recession of the hairline begins at the temporal regions and will progress toward the back of the scalp, gradually forming an M-shaped pattern. There will be thinning at the frontal central area just above the forehead as the condition advances. This will be followed by a bald spot at the center of the vertex region which will slowly radiate outward. What will result will be a bald area on top of the scalp leaving a horseshoe type hair pattern on the lower portions of the head. This will form the donor area where existing hair can be harvested to be implanted unto the thinning portions of the scalp.
A prospective patient should not wait for their male pattern baldness to run its full course before receiving treatment. An advanced case of androgenic alopecia would leave a greater bald area than a scalp covered with hair. This will make it difficult if to treat using existing hair follicles. There are no new units generated through hair transplant procedures. Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) or follicular unit extraction (FUE) simply move existing hair follicle units around the scalp to cover the areas that need it the most. It harvests hair from places that will least likely be lost as the male pattern baldness progresses. This is almost always the donor area because hair growth in this region will be retained even after the alopecia has run its full course.
Finding hair to cover the bald regions of the scalp in advanced cases of androgenic alopecia is challenging because there are more factors to consider. The other available hairs suitable for a hair transplant procedure are body and beard hair. It should be noted that these hairs when transplanted would not change its characteristics when it comes to colour, curl or diameter. Beard hair tends to be quite thick in diameter and can become curly depending on the genetics of the person. Body hair on the other hand, is finer and may resemble scalp hair to a closer degree. Planning on where to implant these different types of hairs is crucial before embarking on the procedure.
Determining the type of hair growth in the area where body or facial hair will be implanted is important to create consistency in its appearance. Placing facial hair at the fringes of the hairline whether at the frontal or temporal regions for example, is not advisable because this area usually has finer hairs growing from it. To put facial hair that is thick in diameter will make it stand out, causing an awkward looking hairstyle. The same may be said when using facial hairs to cover an FUT linear scar. It would appear as a solid line when viewed from behind not only due to its thickness but also because of its darker color. There should be a good mix of scalp and body hair that would make it an ideal combination when transplanting hair. In any case, facial hair should be used sparingly and implanted in low concentrations.
Other methods that can be used to augment donor hair are through the use of camouflaging products. It can create an image of a thicker head of hair by instantly covering any bald areas. These products can have fibres attach to existing hair making it look denser and lush. Care has to be made however when going out in the rain as these products can wash off easily under a heavy downpour.