Pattern Baldness Explained
There are many medical conditions that can cause hair loss, temporary or permanent. The main one is androgenic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, and female pattern baldness.
“Alopecia” basically just means “hair loss” and “androgenic” refers to hormones or androgens. In males, that androgen is testosterone, and in females, it is progesterone. These androgens are the cause of the progressive miniaturization as well as the loss of hair that comes with ageing. The hormone testosterone is converted by the enzyme 5-a reductase into dihydrotestosterone, also called DHT. DHT is responsible for hair loss as well as the growth of hair on the face and body. This explains why some people who are bald on their head seem to have excess amounts of body hair.
Male pattern balding will typically see thinning start in the frontal temporal lobes and then span back. As balding progresses, the crown will start to thin and span forward until both areas eventually meet up. The hair loss sufferer will eventually be left with only a “horseshoe” or “cul-de-sac” shape of balding on the top of the head. The reason for this standard pattern is that the hairs on the back and sides of the scalp are not susceptible to the effects of DHT and therefore are the ideal choice for a hair transplant donor site. Once these hairs are re-located to the balding areas, they still hold this immunity to DHT, and the hair loss patient is left with permanent hair in the area that used to be bald. Male pattern baldness is an inherited trait and can come from either side of the family. It can even skip generations. There are a lot of myths that blame hats, certain shampoos, or even specific relatives such as maternal grandparents, but all of these are false.
Unfortunately, women are affected by hair loss as well, and most times this is much more difficult to cope with than it is for men. It lowers self-esteem and causes lack of confidence and even sometimes severe depression. Many things can cause hair loss in women such as telogen effluvium brought on by changes in hormones caused by pregnancy or a traumatic event. This kind of hair loss is similar to what is called shock loss. The good news is that in this case, the hair will grow back. Other causes can be from traction alopecia, which is caused by putting long-term strain or force on the hair and follicle. This is typically caused by wearing tight braids or ponytails. But the most common cause of hair loss for women is the same as for men: androgenic alopecia, or female pattern baldness. Women will bald in a completely different pattern though. The hair will start to thin in the middle of the scalp or wherever you part your hair and will fan out to the sides of the scalp. It basically appears like the part just keeps getting bigger as the hair loss progresses.
The good news is that treatments are available, and the industry is advancing at the fastest rate that it ever has. So if you suffer from any type of hair loss, the treatment is most likely available to slow, reverse, or even stop the effects.