The way your hair grows undergoes a cycle of growth—and rest—over a period of 2-6 years. After this cycle, it is normal for hair to fall off. With male pattern baldness the time of hair growth shortens and the growing hair isn't as thick." [firstpara]
According to Dr. Patricia Valmonte-Alabanza, FPDS, a fellow of the Philippine Dermatological Society, "Progressive balding occurs through the combined effect of a genetic predisposition and the action of androgen (the male hormone testosterone) on the hair follicles of the scalp. With each hair grown cycle, the hairs become rooted more superficially and easily fall out. During successive hair cycles, hair produced is of shorter length and of decreasing diameter until a complete cessation of hair growth occurs."
There are many different treatments that can work, each unique to every person. Dr. Alabanza qualifies that "there is no single, highly effective therapy to prevent the progression of male pattern baldness. Effectiveness of treatment depends on the extent of hair loss and individual response. Generally, treatment is less effective for more extensive cases of hair loss."
Minoxidil is topically applied and is helpful in reducing the rate of hair loss or in partially restoring lost hairs in some patients. New hair resulting from its use may be thinner and shorter than previous hair. It may take 12 weeks for new hair to start growing.