Basics of Hair Loss and Restoration
A common problem for men (80%) and women (50%), hair loss happens from any number of factors. These include hormonal imbalances, levels of stress, lack of proper nutrients, and numerous diseases.
For most people, though, hair loss is through what doctors call androgenetic alopecia. Aging is also a factor.
Three things trigger the occurrence of androgenetic alopecia:
- A genetic predisposition to balding
- An increased presence of male hormones
- Time displacement between androgens and their effect on hair follicles
Presently, chances of balding are impossible to guess. For example, the presence of balding in the mother or father’s side of the family does not always indicate an individual will experience hair loss. However, the chances of a male going bald are high if he winds up with a receding hairline before his thirties and happens to have a father who is balding. In this way, accurate predictions of balding, its rate, and its direction are difficult to make.
We do our utmost to anticipate balding and plan procedures in accordance. The complex and uncertain nature of balding is the most important factor for planning hair restoration via surgical means. Producing the best results may require multiple procedures, vigorous donor harvesting, or other factors.
"Male" Androgenic Hormones
Healthy men and women produce androgenic hormones. These often are called “male” hormones. Such chemicals include testosterone, androstenedione, and DHT, also known as dihydrotestosterone. The products of both male and female reproductive organs, these hormones are integral to both sexes in variant amounts. Their levels within a someone are responsible for the classification of genders, with androgenic hormonal levels obviously much higher in males.
Pattern baldness occurs through exposure of hair follicles to high concentrations of DHT. Such exposure takes place through high concentrations of 5-alpha-reductase enzyme in the hair follicles' sebaceous glands. The 5-alpha-reductase enzyme is responsible for the conversion of testosterone to DHT in these glands. This conversion to DHT causes hair loss.
Propecia and Similar Treatments
Curbing the effects of this enzyme is possible through Propecia (finasteride), one of many hair loss treatments available on the market. Propecia and similar products work to prohibit the activity of the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme, thus reducing the DHT concentration in hair follicles.
The Hair Growth Cycle
As mentioned earlier, balding is a process that occurs at any age, and various speeds, depending on the genetics of an individual. Hair loss begins anywhere from one's early twenties onward. The rate of the hair loss is also unpredictable. Some experience rapid hair loss within months while others experience it gradually.
Forhair only creates treatment plans only after closely analyzing your hair loss rate and pattern. There also, however, is what specialists call the “permanent” zone. This is a u-shaped portion of the head along the back and sides of the scalp. Theoretically unaffected by the telogen phase, this area is often ideal for graft harvesting.
The Changing Anagen Phase (Growing Phase)
Hair grows at its own cycle. The medical world calls this period the anagen phase or the active growth of hair. Time plays a huge part in hair loss. Aging often combines with a genetic predisposal to hair loss and exposure to DHT. Follicles shedding hair strands, resultantly, cease renewing themselves as scalp hair. This leads to an infrequency of the anagen phase. As the active hair growth phase lessens, the hair loses color and becomes shorter and finer -a process called the miniaturization. Such miniaturization does not mean hair loss, however, though hair thinning becomes more noticeable. This is because thinner, lighter strands enable light to more easily reach the bare scalp.
Increases in the Telogen Phase (Resting Phase)
Shedding is a natural part of hair growth. In fact, most people lose between 50 and 100 strands a day. Specialists call this the telogen phase, or resting phase. Regular hair follicles begin growing new strands after three months or so. However, the amount of hair follicles entering the telogen phase increase over time. More follicles in the telogen phase than the anagen phase greatly increase the chance of balding. Such hair loss typically happens on the front, crown, and top of the scalp. Telogen hairs are fragile, making them easy to pull from the scalp via combs or other physical contact. Strands may even be noticeable in the bathroom drain after showering. Seeing this happen can be quite frightening for individuals, especially those unsure if the hair loss signifies a disease or other medical condition.
Predicting Hair Loss Patterns
The age of onset and rate of hair loss is hard to predict. However, the spread of baldness and thinning occurs in many ways and affects specific parts of the head. Hair loss patterns aside from male and female pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, include:
- Alopecia Areata -Occurs in patches all over the head and is often easy to cover
- Triangular alopecia -A static series of patches that typically arise in childhood
- Alopecia Universalis -An advanced form of alopecia areata, where hair loss occurs over the entire body
- Cicatricial alopecias -Scarring of scalp areas with active follicles, preventing their growth as a result of rare disorders, burns, infections, and other causes
- “Toxic” alopecias -Location unspecific, often the result of chemotherapy or low activity in the thyroid or pituitary glands
- Diffuse alopecias -A widespread thinning of hair that may even affect the "permanent" zone
The onset and progression of androgenetic alopecia is usually obvious. We will analyze its pattern, spread, and rate. Our conclusions about your hair loss combine patient input and medical data to find the best solution. Other hair loss patterns usually require further investigation. We strongly recommend scalp biopsies, physical examinations, and lab tests to identify other types of balding.
Analyzing Hair Loss is Integral for Excellent Results
In summation, balding can affect both men and women at different ages and different rates. Balding happens through many things. Most frequently, though, it happens through an increase of male hormones. DHT is often the main culprit. High levels of DHT often lead to hair miniaturization. The hair growth cycle often happens faster too.
We fully appreciate our patients' goals and concerns at Forhair. The Southeast's leading hair restoration clinic, our consultations always explore your best options. Even effective procedures, if done in haste, can lead to disappointing results due to a spread in thinning or balding spots. This is particularly true for patients in the early phases of balding or thinning. We will fully consider such circumstances, and whatever else, when designing your personal hair restoration plan.