There are multiple types of hair loss, but one of the most common is androgenic alopecia. Also known as pattern hair loss, androgenic alopecia is the type of hair loss that is most closely associated with the classic “balding” look that many middle-aged men have. In this post, we’ll discuss androgenic alopecia – its warning signs, treatments, and what you can do if you’re starting to develop pattern hair loss.
What Causes Androgenic Alopecia?
Androgenic alopecia is the most common form of hair loss in adults.
Affecting half of men and a quarter of women over the age of 50, and many who are younger, androgenic alopecia is primarily caused by a hormone called DHT. So, what is DHT, and how does it cause balding?
DHT is an androgen. This set of hormones primarily regulate masculine physical and sexual characteristics. However, androgens like DHT and testosterone are present in both the male and female bodies. Males have higher levels of DHT and other androgens than women.
Your body’s DHT levels increase during puberty. Puberty is the time during adolescence when you experience the most physical and sexual development. During this time, DHT prompts these changes, including deepening of the voice, increased growth of body hair, new growth of facial hair and pubic hair, and more. Without DHT, your body could not successfully transition into and through puberty.
DHT levels can continue increasing after puberty. Later in life, your body no longer needs the high amounts of DHT that once contributed to successfully physically transitioning from childhood into adolescence. However, DHT production can still surge after puberty. This increase in DHT production can eventually lead to follicle shrinkage, which can minimize the hair growth in certain parts of your head.
Some individuals are more genetically prone to suffer from DHT-related hair loss. Multiple factors can contribute to the development of androgenic alopecia, but one of the primary causes is a genetic predisposition. Hair loss can run in your family, just like certain hair types and facial hair growth patterns can. If you want to determine whether you will be prone to hair loss, look at your family tree.
What Does Androgenic Alopecia Look Like?
When DHT causes your hair follicles to shrink, it can impact hair growth in multiple ways.
DHT can interfere with your hair’s natural growth cycle. Your hair grows in three phases – the anagen (growth) phase, the catagen (transition) phase, and the telogen (rest) stage. When your body’s DHT levels are too high, your hair follicles may spend more time resting than growing. This means there is a DHT-induced decrease in the amount of time that your follicles spend in the anagen stage. Likewise, your hair spends more time in the telogen stage, meaning growth is not occurring.
DHT can cause your hair to fall out in certain parts of your head. Androgenic alopecia does not typically cause total baldness. Instead, the condition usually leaves certain parts of your head unaffected, all the while causing significant thinning and hair loss in others. For men, the areas most commonly affected by androgenic alopecia are the hairline and the crown of the head. Androgenic alopecia in men typically looks like a receding hairline and a growing bald spot at the top of the head.
Although androgenic alopecia is less common in women than in men, it is still a prevalent issue for aging females. If you have noticed your hair thinning out in the divide between the two sections of hair on your head – also known as the “part” – you may be dealing with androgenic alopecia.
Warning Signs Of Balding
The sooner you start treating androgenic alopecia, the better your chances are of reversing the hair loss caused by the condition. Androgenic alopecia develops gradually – it won’t cause hair loss all at once. Instead, the condition typically causes your hair to thin out in specific parts of your head over a span of years and decades. If you can catch the condition in the early stages of its development, you’re off to a great start with your hair loss prevention efforts.
Below are some of the telltale signs that you may be in the early stages of developing androgenic alopecia.
A receding hairline. This symptom of androgenic alopecia is more common in men than in women, but it can affect both genders. A receding hairline causes the hair at the frontmost part of your head to grow thinner, gradually pushing back the point where your hair starts growing at the front of your head. If you are dealing with a receding hairline, you may have androgenic alopecia. However, this type of thinning can also be caused by other forms of hair loss, such as telogen effluvium.
A growing bald spot at the crown of your head. In males, androgenic alopecia typically causes the most significant hair loss at the top of the head. This part of your head is often referred to as the crown. If you notice that the sides of your head are mostly unaffected by thinning while the top of your head continues to go bald, this is a telltale sign that you are dealing with androgenic alopecia.
How To Start Treating Hair Loss
Pattern hair loss can be frustrating, but the condition is treatable in many cases. However, in order to successfully prevent and reverse hair loss, you’ll need to approach treatment correctly. Now that you understand the causes of pattern baldness, let’s discuss some of the most effective treatments for this common condition. The sooner you start including these treatments in your hair care regimen, the better.
Consider using minoxidil. Minoxidil, also known as Rogaine, is an FDA-approved over-the-counter hair loss treatment. If you are dealing with early-stage androgenic alopecia, now is an ideal time to start treating your hair with minoxidil.
Add DHT-blocking hair products to your hair care routine. DHT is the primary hormone responsible for causing the development of androgenic alopecia. Luckily, there are a number of natural ingredients that have an inhibiting effect on your body’s production of DHT. using GroMD’s shampoo, conditioner, and follicle activator spray each day, you’ll supply your hair with a multitude of growth-boosting, DHT-blocking ingredients, including:
Minoxidil’s effects on hair growth are not fully understood, but the treatment seems to stimulate blood flow to your hair follicles, prompting new growth.
- Minoxidil has some side effects that are worth knowing about before you start treatment – namely irritation and dryness of the scalp. However, by using products and ingredients that moisturize and nourish your hair, you can reap the benefits of minoxidil while working to keep these side effects away.
- If you have questions about using minoxidil, talk to your doctor or dermatologist. A healthcare professional can provide you with helpful instructions for using the treatment, as well as for how to pair it with other hair loss prevention products.
- Saw Palmetto
- Argan Oil
- Stinging Nettle
- Pumpkin Seed Extract
- Korean Red Ginseng
GroMD’s hair care products are sulfate-free, science-backed, and packed with high-quality ingredients. They’re the perfect foundations for a hard-hitting hair loss prevention regimen. You can find all of our products by clicking here.
If you’re curious about other hair growth-related topics, make sure to visit the GroMD blog. There, you’ll find more articles about hair loss, its causes, how to prevent it, and how our products can help you get your hair growth back on track.
Dr. Amir Yazdan, MD, is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, expert guest on Dr. Phil and The Doctors, creator of the GroMD hair restoration product line, ISHRS member, accredited member of the IAHRS and a visceral advocate for patient care. Learn more about Dr. Yazdan or read rave reviews from his patients.
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