Androgenetic Alopecia & Hair Loss

The most prominent type of permanent hair loss, affecting around fifty percent of men and about thirteen percent of women in the UK is androgenetic alopecia, also known as male/female-pattern baldness. Most people undergo some amount of hair thinning as they age. With pattern baldness, the thinning takes on a specifically patterned shape on the scalp: men’s hair loss results in a horse-shoe patterned baldness which starts at the hairline and works its way around the scalp leaving only the back and sides of the hair intact, while women’s baldness tends to create a Christmas tree pattern across the top of the head where the hair would part down the middle.

How does androgenetic alopecia affect my hair?

As the name may suggest, androgenetic alopecia is a genetic condition which predetermines when and to what extent your hair loss will occur and although many associate baldness with older men, it affects men and women of all ages to a greater or lesser extent. This is because androgenetic alopecia is a hormonal condition which can be triggered at different times according to different people’s genetic make-up. All men and women have naturally occurring hormones in their bodies called dihydrotestosterone or DHT and over time enzymes called androgens can start to overproduce DHT. When this happens, the DHT starts to shrink your hair follicles. Hairs are in follicular units, or 1-4 hairs per every sebaceous gland and pili minor muscle group, and these units provide your hairs with the blood supply and nutrients they need to stay alive. As the follicles shrink, the hairs are starved of nutrients and can no longer grow, producing thinner, shorter hair until it stops growing altogether.

Why do men tend to have pattern baldness more often than women?

DHT is related to testosterone so men tend to produce more of this particular hormone. This means that their systems are more likely to overproduce DHT so men suffer from androgenetic alopecia-related hair loss more often than women. However, it is far from abnormal for women to experience a similar hair thinning process because DHT is a naturally occurring hormone present in everyone.

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