Hair Loss FAQ’s
The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research in Atlanta, GA provides answers to some of the more frequently asked questions hair loss below. Contact us today for more information.
Male pattern baldness is a hereditary balding pattern, which generally starts in the twenties with a recession of hair in the temporal peaks and/or thinning in the crown. If left untreated, the extent of the baldness can extend from the front top of the head back to the crown, leaving a fringe of hair around the sides and back of the scalp.
The most common cause of hair loss for both men and women is heredity. Either or both parents can pass on the gene that causes hair loss. Typically, men are more susceptible to hereditary loss of hair because of testosterone. When broken down to dihydrotestosterone, it acts as a catalyst to activate the hair loss gene. Both men and women are susceptible to this condition, which has been labeled as androgenetic alopecia. This means hereditary loss of hair with androgens (dihydrotestosterone).
Other reasons for hair loss may be underlying medical or hormonal problems, medications, excessive weight loss, chemotherapy, or radiation.
Also, traumatic injuries, scarring scalp conditions, or burns to the scalp can cause permanent hair loss.
These hair loss conditions are all autoimmune disorders; the main difference is the extent of hair loss. Alopecia areata is characterized by smooth, circular patches of lost hair.Alopecia totalis is alopecia that results in total hair loss on the scalp, and alopecia universalis is alopecia that results in hair loss of the entire body, including eyelashes and eyebrows.
Tight hairstyles such as extensions, braiding, and tight ponytails that place excessive tension on the scalp can cause a hair loss condition known as traction alopecia. Certain people are more susceptible to this type of hair loss. For instance, some people have sensitive hair follicles that are more easily traumatized than others.
As highlighted in our previous women’s hair loss blog series, a dermatologist can help you identify the cause of your hair loss. The single most important element in determining hair loss is the doctor’s experience. First, he or she will start by asking a round of questions to better understand your condition. If the cause of hair loss remains unclear, he/she can order or perform tests which may include hair pull test, hair shed/pull collection, scalp biopsy, and blood tests.
The best advice for this complex question is whenever the balding process begins, that is the best time to start preventive treatments. Unfortunately, baldness is progressive and unpredictable. Yearly consultations may be necessary to evaluate the best time to begin the surgical process.
Creative planning is essential to protect the young patient and ensure that you will not run out of donor hair, which could potentially limit surgical options, as you grow older and balder. Care must be exercised, especially with patients under 24 years of age for these reasons. Factors such as insecurity or immaturity may in part influence a patient’s demands. It is the doctor’s responsibility to give sound guidance that will most efficiently utilize the donor hair; which has a limited number, to produce a lifelong enjoyable cosmetic improvement.
Regarding hair loss, elements of panic, a “life or death” situation, or a “state of emergency” thought pattern should be avoided. The surgical option may hold an unrealistic expectation for complete and total hair restoration for someone who feels desperate to get their hair back. A hairpiece is an option for men and women, and may be the best non-invasive approach until the right doctor is found, or during re-growth following surgery. When surgery is the option of choice, prudence and patience is a more ideal state of mind.
No one can make such a prediction—even after studying your family tree. Because the expression of your genetic makeup is unpredictable, the best forecast is only a guess. Generally, the younger you start to notice baldness (before 20), the more baldness you can expect to have.
Yes, the patterns are generally very different but do have their similarities. In female pattern baldness, hair is most commonly lost on the top of the scalp while sparing a rim of hair along the front border. In women, only 12% will show any temporal thinning, while in men this is seen in over 80% as one of the first signs of loss. Like men, the crown in women may thin but the loss is highly variable. Crown thinning in men or women is considered one of the patterns of hair loss associated with the balding gene and androgens.