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Facts about hair loss

The three most common factors that play a role in thinning of hair and balding in males and females are: Ageing; Hormones and Genetics.

There are many causes of hair loss in men and women, including disease, nutritional deficiency, hormone imbalance, and stress. However, by far the most common cause is what is called adrogenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness (MPB). The underlying reasons for MPB is both a genetic predisposition to balding, and the influence of male hormones. These factors, combined with the passage of time results in MBP.

The enzyme 5-alpha reductase is responsible for converting testosterone to DiHidrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is the form of testosterone that binds with specific receptors in susceptible individuals in the hair follicle and this is seen as the main cause of male pattern baldness. Initially the hair follicle becomes smaller and less vital because of relative oxygen starvation. The devitalized hair follicle results in a shorter anagen (growth phase of hair) and a longer telogen (resting phase of hair) phase of the hair follicle which causes miniaturization of affected hairs, which manifests as loss of hair shaft diameter, length and colour.

There is no set age at which balding occurs. It is a process, and this is a simple, but often ignored fact. Like any process, it can be rapid or slow, it can begin toward the end of life or in the late teens, and it can progress in a predictably inexorable fashion, or it can stop and start, seemingly stabilize, and then begin again. Once we understand and accept this as a dynamic process, then we can better plan for the present and for the future in terms of how we treat it.




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