Bald spots are a common problem amongst adult men. A bald spot at the crown can be one of the first places where male pattern hair loss becomes obvious to the observer.
Because of its location, many men first notice their bald spot in a photograph or at the barber’s in the mirror behind. Whilst some embrace their receding hair, for others, it can be embarrassing or even depressing.
Whilst bald spots on men are common particularly as they age, women can also experience bald spots. Again, this can be distressing and bothersome for women affected.
Those with bald spots find themselves searching for ways to quickly regrow hair on the bald spot. Sadly, there’s no quick fix when it comes to bald spots. But there are things that those suffering from a bald spot can do to try and improve it. Of course, being able to regrow hair on a bald spot largely depends on the cause of it in the first place, all of which we will be epxloring in this article.
The causes of a bald spot
There are several possible causes of a bald spot. In men, the most common cause is androgenetic alopecia – otherwise known as male pattern baldness. However, other causes include:
- Alopecia areata
- Hormone imbalances
- Cancer treatment
- Certain hair styling techniques.
Knowing a little more about these causes can help to tailor treatment to try and regrow hair.
Male pattern baldness (MPB) is the leading cause of hair loss in men  affecting over 50% of men over 50 years of age. Some women also experience androgenic alopecia but it is far less common. The cause of male pattern baldness is related to a person’s genes and sex hormones. Men whose fathers or uncles had male pattern baldness are therefore much more likely to follow suit.
A person’s genes influence hair growth and regrowth. Androgens (male sex hormones) have many functions, one of which is regulating hair growth. One of the androgens involved in the hair growth process is dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
DHT contributes to males developing secondary sex characteristics during and after puberty such as body and facial hair. However, it’s also largely responsible for men losing their hair earlier and faster. To understand how you can slow or reduce the effects of DHT and regrow the hair on your bald spot fast, it’s important to understand how it works.
The effects of DHT on Male Pattern Baldness
High levels of DHT and other androgens both shrink the follicle and shorten the cycle. The hair that grows can be more brittle and look thinner. It can also fall out much faster. Once the hairs have fallen out, DHT also has the effect of lengthening the new hair growth phase resulting in fewer hairs being lost..
Some people are more affected by DHT than others based on their genetic makeup in the androgen-receptor genes and on the higher level of DHT production from testosterone. Those prone to male pattern baldness are typically more affected by the hormone and their scalp follicles are more receptive to an increase in the hormone. Those with male-pattern baldness also tend to have higher levels of testosterone or increased enzyme activity converting testosterone into DHT. This can lead to a bald spot, particularly around the crown area.
While scientists are still working on a cure for baldness, there are several treatment options that can help regrow hair on your bald spot – assuming it is around the crown and not a random patch located elsewhere, which could be a sign of alopecia areata.
Whilst less common than androgenic alopecia, particularly in men , alopecia areata is often a cause of bald spots on the scalp. It is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks its own hair follicles, both on the head and in other areas of the body. A certain type of T cell called NKG2D+ collects around the hair follicles and attacks them, preventing the follicles from growing more hair.
The first signs of alopecia areata are small oval or round patches on the scalp. Some people only ever have one or two small bald patches. However, others can have many patches which can also develop into more widespread forms of alopecia:
- Alopecia totalis, which affects the entire scalp.
- Alopecia universalis, which affects the whole body.
In most cases, the bald patches associated with alopecia areata remain small and eventually, hair regrowth occurs.
Whilst alopecia areata may be the cause of a bald spot you want to get rid of, the causes of alopecia themselves are not yet well understood. Professor Kevin McElwee from the University of Bradford Centre for Skin Sciences explains how there are many possible causes of the alopecia areata  including genetic, environmental and hormonal triggers, with each person likely experiencing different triggers even throughout the course of their own hair loss experience.
If you suspect that alopecia areata could be the cause of your bald spot, you should seek advice from your GP in the first instance who should be able to refer you for further assessment and diagnosis. Unfortunately, for those with alopecia areata, there is not often much that can be done to regrow hair on the bald spots and management of the condition is not covered on the NHS. Those with this condition often seek to style their hair in different ways or wear hats or scarves to cover it.
Studies show that
Other causes of a bald spot
Aside from the two most common causes of a bald spot, other conditions contribute to the development of a bald spot including:
- Skin conditions — psoriasis, eczema, and other skin conditions may damage the hair follicles, which can stop hair growth.
- Hormone imbalances – including thyroid conditions.
- Stress – one in four of us experiences a mental health problem every year . Hair loss is a well-documented side-effect of stress. Telogen Effluvium is when a significant stressful event such as emotional trauma, illness, surgery, or childbirth causes sudden hair loss.
- Cancer treatment – hair loss is an expected side-effect of chemotherapy used to treat cancer. You can learn more about how chemotherapy causes hair loss.
- Hair styling and hair products – traction alopecia is a type of hair loss cause by repeatedly worn hair styles such as tight ponytails, a ‘man bun’, braids, weaves or corn rows. With this type of hair loss, bald spots usually appear at the hairline and around the neck and ears.
Natural treatments for regrowing hair on a bald spot
When you’ve found a bald spot, you may look for natural remedies or treatments that may help. Natural products such as aloe vera, rosemary oil and peppermint have proven positive effects on the body and may help to regrow hair on a bald spot. Other natural remedies such as coconut oil, henna, egg, hibiscus and garlic and their effects on hair loss have also been discussed.
Aloe vera is a succulent plant species that contains many anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory agents. Many believe that its unique combination of ingredients gives it soothing and healing properties. It is commonly used as a treatment for sunburn and rashes. The enzymes present in aloe vera are also said to help reduce hair loss as it works to protect the scalp from diseases that cause it.
There is some scientific evidence that rosemary benefits our body, with one study pitting rosemary oil against Minoxidil (a hair loss medication). These results of this study proved it to be just as effective as the drug. Whilst more research is needed, the initial research into the efficacy of rosemary oil in helping hair regrowth cannot be ignored.
Whilst still in its infancy, studies into the use of peppermint oil to help resolve hair loss show promising results. In one study, they discovered that peppermint oil used as a topical treatment for four weeks induced thick and long hair growth and caused the hair follicles to elongate. The data, whilst experimental, suggested that 3% peppermint oil promotes the growth of hair and stimulated hair growth.
Over-the-counter treatments for regrowing hair on a bald spot
For those with troublesome bald spots for whom natural treatments aren’t an option, many resort to finding an over-the-counter treatment that can help encourage their hair to regrow. Some common over-the-counter options include:
- Collagen-based products
- Vitamin supplements
Minoxidil, commonly known as Rogaine, is what’s called a peripheral vasodilator. This means that it loosens and widens the blood vessels and allows blood to pass through more easily. Minoxidil is more typically used in treating high blood pressure, but it can also work to promote hair growth if applied directly to the scalp.
Theories suggest that the improved flow of blood to the scalp allows more nutrients to enter the hair follicles during the growth stage, helping prevent worsening of bald spots.
Minoxidil is a topical treatment that can be used by both men and women who are troubled by hair loss. Some treatments (like hormone blockers) are not suitable for women as they can cause negative interactions. It usually comes in 2% and 5% dosages, with quicker results typically found with the higher percentage dose. If you’re looking to regrow hair on a bald spot fast, the higher percentage is your best bet.
For most people, Minoxidil works within a couple of months but it will take up to around four months to see the true results. Of course, it should be used consistently each day for maximum results.
Unfortunately, many people experience side effects with Minoxidil. These include:
- Dry skin
- Unwanted hair growth (such as on your cheeks)
Collagen-based products, Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Another over-the-counter treatment that can work to encourage hair regrowth on a bald spot or make existing hair appear thicker and healthier are products such as shampoos containing collagen as well as dietary supplements such as vitamin and mineral complexes.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. Collagen and keratin – the protein that gives us healthy hair – both require similar amino acids to be produced. Without enough of these amino acids, the body cannot synthesise sufficient amounts of these proteins.
As we age, our natural supply of collagen decreases. This is why our hair thins as we get older. Certain vitamins, such as Vitamin C, promote the production of collagen in the body, helping our hair stay stronger and shinier.
Aside from Vitamin C, other vitamins and minerals are involved in the hair growth process including biotin, a natural B vitamin (sometimes called Vitamin H or Vitamin B7), Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B6. Biotin helps maintain and boost keratin levels in the nails, hair and skin. A study from 2015 also suggested that it can help your hair to regrow and prevent your existing hair from falling out. However, it isn’t possible to isolate that this effect was solely down to Biotin as the supplements contained other active ingredients. A deficiency in biotin can cause hair loss, but biotin supplementation in those without a deficiency is unlikely to have an effect on hair loss.
Whilst B Vitamins may not necessarily cause your hair to regrow, they are essential to our health and may make existing hair thicker and healthier.
Iron is another essential mineral that can only be obtained in our diets. Those with low iron can experience symptoms that are similar to male- and female-pattern baldness.
Sutdies have found statistically significant links between hair loss and low levels of Iron, Boitin and Zinc.
Biotin, iron and other vitamin supplements are readily available over the counter but are also present in the foods we eat. Biotin is in nuts, whole grains and egg yolks whereas Vitamin C is commonly found in citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and grapefruits. It is also found in green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach. Foods such as red meat, liver, legumes, spinach and nuts are all good sources of iron in our diets.
For most people, vitamin and mineral supplements are not the best way to encourage hair regrowth. Eating a balanced, healthy diet usually gives most people all the vitamins and minerals that the need. There is little evidence to suggest that vitamin supplements work to reduce hair loss or encourage hair regrowth, especially in individuals that are not deficient. Learn more about the efficacy of vitamin supplementation on hair growth and which vitamin deficiencies can cause hair loss.
Medical Treatments for Regrowing Hair on a Bald Spot
If you have tried the natural remedies and/or over-the-counter treatment options without success, or if you’re desperate to regrow hair on a bald spot fast, there are some prescription medications that you can take to regrow hair.
Finasteride (sometimes known as Propecia or Proscar) is a prescription-only oral medication that is used for male-pattern hair loss. It is currently not prescribed by the NHS and is only available on private prescription. Finasteride is not normally recommended for female hair loss as there are certain contraindications. You can learn more about the effects that Finasteride has on women.
Finasteride works as it reduces the amount of DHT in the body, inhibiting the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT. This means that DHT cannot bind to receptors on the hair follicles and therefore they do not shrink as quickly.
Does Finasteride work?
Some studies report great success with Finasteride:
- A study on 2561 Japanese men in 2012 reported an 87% success rate. 
- 11.1% reported greatly increased hair growth.
- 36.5% moderated increased hair growth.
- 39.5% slightly increased hair growth.
- An earlier study of 1879 men showed that 66% of men experience hair regrowth in areas where there had been previous hair loss.
You can read all about Finasteride results to learn more and learn whether Finasteride really works.
Whilst these statistics are very encouraging for those suffering from male-pattern hair loss, Finasteride isn’t what’s considered a ‘quick fix’ when trying to regrow hair on a bald spot. Most people will have to take the recommended dose (usually 1mg) each day for three months before any improvement is noticed.
Only after around 12 months of using the drug consistently will you see its full effects. The reason it takes so long is due to the hair growth cycle. However, it’s important to note that not everyone will experience a regrowth of hair in previously thinning or balding areas. Despite this, many men still notice that their hair loss has not got worse and the drug has worked to prevent further hair loss.
Side Effects of Finasteride
Generally, Finasteride is considered safe. Unfortunately, there are some well-documented side effects of taking DHT blockers like Finasteride. These include:
- Decreased libido (1.8% of men)
- Erectile dysfunction (1.3% of men).
Premature ejaculation/delayed ejaculation (1.2% of men).
- Testicular discomfort.
- Skin Rashes.
- Tenderness and fat development around the breast area (Finasteride-related gynecomastia).
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- Thickening/darkening of upper body hair and facial hair.
Most of these side effects are rare and will only endure for the time the person is taking Finasteride. One of the common but often quite alarming effects of taking Finasteride is perceived increased hair loss initially. Although this may be alarming, it is a normal side effect as the hair follicles need to shed existing hairs before growing new hair. This shedding should only last around two weeks but may last a little longer in some cases.
Topical steroids are usually prescribed to treat skin conditions, including scalp conditions, such as seborrheic dermatitis, pityriasis amiantacea and severe dandruff. However, some steroid creams have also shown encouraging results with certain types of hair loss such as alopecia areata and alopecia barbae. 
Patients with these types of alopecia often have follicular inflammation due to the immune system’s erroneous attack on the hair follicles. Topical steroids reduce this inflammation and help the hair follicles to recover which stimulates new hair growth.
Anthralin is another topical treatment that has been used to treat cases of severe alopecia areata and is more commonly a treatment that’s prescribed for psoriasis. Anthralin is applied to the affected area for several hours. There has been at least one study that has proven its efficacy in some cases of alopecia areata, particularly when used in combination with calcipotriene, another psoriasis treatment.
Surgical Treatments for Regrowing Hair on a Bald Spot
The above natural remedies, over-the-counter treatments and prescription medications may not always produce the rapid response that many people who suffer from bald spots are looking for. Indeed, they do not always work. However, if all other avenues have failed or if someone is looking for a more permanent result, surgical options may be more appropriate options to explore.
Hair transplant surgery falls into two kinds of surgery: Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). Hair transplant surgery should be the last resort for regrowing hair on your bald spot. Around two-thirds of people chose FUE surgery, with the remainder opting for FUT and a small percentage (2.35%) having a mixture of the two.  Unfortunately, for those with alopecia areata, hair transplants are not advised.
In Follicular Unit Extraction surgery, each hair follicle is extracted and transplanted individually. This makes the surgery more time-consuming and therefore more expensive. However, it heals faster and there is less scarring.
With Follicular Unit Transplantation, the operating surgeon removes an area of skin (the donor site) and separates it into small sections. These grafts are then transplanted into balding areas. Learn more about the difference between FUT and FUE.
Choosing a Clinic
Choosing a hair transplant clinic can be difficult and you should do your research before choosing one. Many hair transplant clinics have popped up in recent years, promising great results for low hair transplant costs. These clinics are renowned for not only their inexperience but also in some cases for being unlicensed.
You should ask to see the clinic’s before and after hair transplant photographs, be sure to read the hair transplant clinic reviews and do your research around crown transplant costs to cover your bald spot.
Quick Fixes for Bald Spots (that don’t include regrowth)
Sadly, given that many ways of trying to regrow on a bald spot either take time or may not work, you may need to come up with a different plan. There are few things you can try to ease your feelings associated with hair loss, including some non-regrowth remedies:
- Speak to your barber or hairstylist.
Your barber or hair stylist may be able to offer you ideas to try and wear your hair in ways that minimise the appearance of any bald or thinning patches. This may include:
- Hair pieces
- Hair fibres
- Clever styling
- Be honest and open with others.
Aside from trying to cover the areas affected, talk to friends and family about how you’re feeling regarding your hair loss. Their support may help you manage your feelings.
- Speak to hair specialist or medically trained professional
If you suspect that your hair loss may be related to a skin condition such as alopecia areata you should definitely convider seeking medical advice.
The Wimpole Clinic has been helping men and women treat hair loss in the UK since 1975. Contact us today for a free consultation.
- Male Pattern Baldness: Causes, Identification, and Prevention (healthline.com)
- Alopecia Areata | Alopecia UKAdult Psychiatric Morbidity in England – 2007, Results of a household survey – NHS Digital
- A “hair‐raising” history of alopecia areata – Broadley – 2020 – Experimental Dermatology – Wiley Online LibraryJournal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, Aloe Vera: A Potential Herb and its Medicinal Importance.
- Edaravone and carnosic acid synergistically enhance the expression of nerve growth factor in human astrocytes under hypoxia/reoxygenation – ScienceDirect
- Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial – PubMed (nih.gov)
- Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic Signs – PMC (nih.gov)
- Minoxidil – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)
- Clinical Study evaluating the ability of Extra-Strength Marine Protein Supplement to Promote Hair Growth and Decrease Shedding in Women with Self-Perceived Thinning Hair.
- Iron Plays a Certain Role in Patterned Hair Loss – PMC (nih.gov)
- Evaluation of efficacy and safety of finasteride 1 mg in 3177 Japanese men with androgenetic alopecia – PubMed (nih.gov)
- Use of Finasteride in the Treatment of Men With Androgenetic Alopecia (Male Pattern Hair Loss) – ScienceDirect
- Clobetasol Proportionate vs. Hydrocortisone for Alopecia Areata in Children
- Case report of novel combination of anthralin and calcipotriene leading to trichologic response in alopecia areata
- 2022 ISHRS Practice Census
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