If you are one of the more than 56 million men and women who are currently losing their hair, you are most likely familiar with genetic pattern hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia. Although there are many different conditions that cause hair loss, and the issue can affect men and women in distinctly different ways, more than 90% of cases across the board can be traced back to this one very common hereditary condition. Attempting to understand how genetic pattern baldness works and exactly how it affects the hair follicles is a central concern at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research. Here is the general information that you need to know about this all too common cause of hair loss.
Before scientists fully understood the underlying processes involved, or that this form of hair loss could affect women just as frequently as it affected men, genetic pattern hair loss was simply called “male pattern baldness.” However, the more correct and scientific name is androgenetic alopecia, because androgens, the male sex hormones that are present (in different levels) in both men and women, play a fundamental role in causing this form of hair loss. Some people are born with hair follicles that have a genetic sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Over time, this by-product of the natural break-down of testosterone in the body causes the growth cycle of the affected hair follicles to become shorter and shorter. The hair follicles sprout hairs that are progressively thinner than normal, until eventually the follicles wither away and stop producing hair altogether. Interestingly, not all follicles on the scalp are equally susceptible, which is why the hair thins, particularly in males, in a progressive and predictable pattern. Moreover, this hair loss pattern varies significantly between men and women, making women’s hair loss more challenging to diagnose and treat.
Genetic pattern hair loss can be treated in a variety of different ways. At The Griffin Center, we often recommend a combination of minoxidil, to increase the size of shrunken hair follicles and can keep them in the growth phase longer, with finasteride, which can reduce DHT levels by as much as 60%. Because not all hair follicles are affected by androgenetic alopecia, it is also possible to transplant thriving hair follicles from the back and sides of the head to areas where the hair has started to thin. This basic idea is the foundation of all follicular unit grafting and follicular unit extraction surgical hair transplantation procedures. Other non-surgical methods, like platelet rich plasma and red light therapy, can also be used as supplementary or stand-alone treatments in order to maximize results.
Every case of hair loss is different and at The Griffin Center we believe that every patient requires an individualized diagnosis and treatment plan in order to help ensure that they are getting the treatment that works best for them. You can see numerous examples of just how good the results of our hair restoration procedures can be by taking a look at the before and after hair restoration pictures that are featured on our website, and if you are interested in learning more about your hair restoration options, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news or answers to your questions about hair restoration and research or contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration so that we can schedule an appointment for a full consultation.