The primary cause of men’s hair loss is male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia. It has always been said that pattern baldness is inherited through the mother’s side of the family tree, but it can actually be a genetic gift from either parent. It is worth noting that experts do say that the mother’s chromosomes might carry more weight.
Pattern baldness owes its existence to the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is created by the action of an enzyme, 5-alpha reductase, on the hormone testosterone. DHT finds its way to genetically at-risk hair follicles primarily in the front and top of the scalp.
Hair loss happens when:
• DHT will shorten the anagen phase (growth phase) of the hair growth cycle and increases the telogen (resting) phase.
• Because the anagen phase is shortened, the hair follicles will shrink with each completed growth cycle.
• The shrunken follicles produce hair that is much finer and shorter than normal.
• Over time, the hair becomes so fine and short it disappears.
A person’s age that they start to have hair loss depends on each individual’s blood level of testosterone and on their genetic makeup. Men that are losing their hair often notice periods of rapid hair loss sandwiched between periods of slow or minimal hair loss. The reason for this is not yet known.
As men get older some of their hair shafts lose length and width. With each hair follicle unit it can contain both full-sized and miniaturized hair. Since this can happen anywhere on the scalp that is why hair appears to be thinner a people age. Eventually, the mini-hairs will stop growing and the hair follicle will diminish.
Men that have androgenetic alopecia typically retain hair on the back and sides of their head until they get into their senior years.
There are a wide variety of hair loss causes. One of the more noticeable types of hair loss that affects both men and women is Alopecia Areata. If you notice a circular smooth bald patch on the scalp it might be an indication of alopecia areata. This is a type of alopecia that is an autoimmune skin disease. It can spread to include the entire scalp causing complete baldness (alopecia totalis) and it can also cause total hair loss all over the body (alopecia universalis). It is an unpredictable and cyclical disease. While hair may grow back at any time but is may also shed again.
Alopecia Areata frequently occurs individuals that are otherwise healthy. Hair is lost when the immune system attacks the hair follicles. Distressed follicles shrink and hair production slows down. Hair loss can begin at any age and affects both genders. Although it is not life threatening, the condition causes emotional and psychological distress to those who suffer from it.
This type of hair loss often occurs to those that have family members with autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, and type 1 diabetes but this is not a contagious disease.
White blood cells in your body that set out to fight a fungal infection might also do damage to your follicles. The hair loss that it results often appears as scaly, circular bald patches but it can also occur as widespread dryness and scaling. Sometimes it shows up as small pimples on the scalp.
Fungal infections usually pass from person to another but can come from contact with infected animals as well. A visit to the doctor is recommended because these infections do not fade away on their own.
Some men may experience temporary hair loss that is the result from a diet low in iron, biotin, or zinc. You should visit your primary care doctor ask to have blood work done. This will help to determine if your hair loss is due to just a vitamin deficiency. Your doctor may advise you to eat more spinach, broccoli, and eggs if a deficiency in nutrients is found. A regular diet that consists of greens, fruit, protein sources, and whole grains should give you the nutrients that are required for healthy hair growth.
Hair Loss Treatment and Hair Restoration Options for Men and Women
Proven hair loss treatments for male pattern hair loss or androgenetic alopecia are: Low Level Laser Hair Therapy, Propecia and Minoxidil. These can be effective if hair loss is caught and treated early. Typical hair loss patterns for successful treatments of this nature fall in the Norwood Scale of Hair Loss, in ranges 1-3.
If treatment is no longer an option for you then an alternative is hair restoration. These options include hair replacement systems, hair pieces, hair extensions, and hair transplant surgery. To learn what option is best for your hair loss condition you should consult with a reputable and experienced hair loss professional.
If you have experienced hair loss due to male pattern baldness or female pattern thinning caused by Androgenic Alopecia, Alopecia Areata or other medical hair loss causes, we invite you to contact us to discuss your hair replacement options while undergoing treatment. To schedule a free, private consultation, please call us at (817) 882-8288.