PATTERN HAIR LOSS
Dating as far back as history will take us, baldness has
been a part of the aging process that many men fear
the most. Before Rogaine, hair transplants and hair additions,
men coped in various ways from magic ointments to the styling
of their hair. Julius Caesar grew his hair long in the
back and combed it all forward. Napoleon did the same thing.
Somehow we often disregard history and the fact that this
has been an age old condition. We can't imagine or accept
the fact that there is not a cure.
Understanding the cause of male pattern hair loss may better
indicate exactly why it presently has no cure.
ANDROGENETIC ALOPECIA - the modem medical term for either
male or female pattern hair loss - can be broken down in
First, Androgenetic, consisting of ANDROGEN (Any of the
various hormones that control the appearance and development
of masculine characteristics such as testosterone). And GENETIC--the
inheritance of genes from either the mother or the father's
side of the family. Add AGE, which when coupled with genetics,
represents a time clock that will signal the hair follicle
to produce an enzyme named 5 alpha reductase. When the testosterone
present in the follicle combines with the enzyme 5 alpha
reductase, it produces dihydrotestosterone
(DHT). Hair follicle
receptors are sensitive to DHT and thereby start the process
of male or female pattern hair loss.
Second, ALOPECIA meaning hair loss, of which there are many
Put simply, scientists are working against aging, hormones
and genetics. This is no easy task. Add the fact that male
or female pattern hair loss is not life threatening, and
it is easy to see why many physicians do not view hair loss
as a priority in scientific research.
What is working for
you in terms of research is that large pharmaceutical firms
now know that a cure for hair loss could mean a fortune
in revenue for their companies and stockholders. This is
fuel enough and the race HAS begun.
Although we may not see a cure in our lifetime, it is possible.
Science is closer to understanding hair loss due to many
recent advancements. To say the cure is around the corner
would only be speculation but hope certainly is alive.
Since there are other causes
of hair loss, it is advisable to consult with a dermatologist
who is competent and experienced with diagnosing hair loss.
Confirming the type of hair loss you have will make it possible
for you to know which treatment options may be best for you.
• Alopecia areata: Generally thought to be an autoimmune disorder. Causes "patchy" hair
loss, often in small circular areas in different areas of the scalp.
• Alopecia totalis: Total hair loss of the scalp, (an advanced form of
• Alopecia universalis: Hair loss of the entire body, (also an advanced
form of alopecia areata).
• Traction alopecia: Hair loss caused by physical
stress and tension on the hair such as prolonged use of hair weaving, corn rows
etc. Done too tightly on weak hair these can cause permanent hair loss.
effiuvium: (usually temporary hair loss) Caused by Physical
stress, emotional stress, thyroid abnormalities, medications and hormonal
causes normally associated with females.
• Anagen effiuvium: Generally due to internally administered medications,
such as chemotherapy agents, that poison the growing hair follicle.
All of these represent only a few of the different types
of hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia represents close to 95%
of all hair loss however.