Hair Loss Types & Causes – Androgenetic Alopecia

Androgenetic Alopecia is the Most Common Type of Hair Loss in Men & Women

Hair Loss (Alopecia) in Men & Women

The technical term for Hair loss is Alopecia. Most people typically loose about 50 to 100 hairs every day. This is normal, since new hair strands grow to replace the hairs you normally shed each day. But when you start to gradually loose more hairs than are being naturally replaced, with fewer and fewer hairs growing back, then you are experiencing thinning hair and hair loss. This is known as alopecia (Latin, from Greek alōpekia) which simply means hair loss.

There are many reasons for hair loss, which can affect anyone – men, women, and children – of any age and of any hair type. Hair loss can also occur anywhere on the body, although it is most noticeable when it occurs on a person’s head.

Androgenetic Alopecia

The most common type of hair loss is Androgenetic Alopecia or hereditary, genetic hair loss.  Androgenetic Alopecia affects over 50,000,000 men and over 30,000,000 women in the USA alone, and even more worldwide. This type of alopecia is also known as male pattern baldness or female pattern thinning. While androgenetic alopecia is genetic in origin, various hair loss treatments, many FDA approved, as well as hair transplant surgery and non-surgical hair replacement can manage and mitigate its effects for the vast majority of individuals.

Male Pattern Baldness

norwood scale androgenetic alopeciaIn men, androgenetic alopecia or male-pattern baldness can occur at any time after the onset of puberty. The genetic factors involved are widely believed to include a combination of a person’s genetics as well as the effects of androgens in the body, most notably the presence and effects of dihydrotestosterone or DHT. Male pattern baldness typically begins as a receding hairline above the temples and in the vertex area of the scalp and may also include the crown area as well. Typically, male pattern baldness progresses as indicated in the Norwood Scale, leaving hair present along the sides and back of the head.

Baldness (androgenic alopecia) is widely considered to be the most common type of hair loss. As a person ages, the effects of hair loss in most people are cumulative.

Men experiencing hair loss should consult with their primary care physician and/or dermatologist to determine the cause of their hair loss and to seek and follow any medical advice they may provide.

Female Pattern Thinning

In men, androgenetic alopecia presents as a woman’s hair slowly begins to thin over the top of the scalp, while the front hairline typically remains unaffected. Unlike in men, a woman’s hairline does not typically recede. While the majority of women suffer from female pattern hair loss as a result of the natual aging process, like men androgenetic alopecia can occur any time after the onset of puberty.

female pattern baldness thinning ludwig scaleIn women, unlike men, hair begins to thin on the top of the head and in the crown area, beginning with noticeable thinning in the area of the part, as illustrated in the Ludwig Scale of Female Pattern Hair Loss. This particular hair loss pattern in women has been referred to as a “Christmas tree pattern,” due to the way in which it presents.

While hereditary balding and thinning in women does not typically result in total baldness (See Alopecia Totalis/Universalis), it can however become dramatically noticeable in its early stages, causing extreme anxiety and social withdrawal.  As in men, androgenetic alopecia, or pattern hair loss, is the most common type of hair loss in women.

Women experiencing hair loss should consult with their primary care physician and/or dermatologist to determine the cause of their hair loss and to seek and follow any medical advice they may provide.


Wikipedia: Pattern Hair Loss

Cleveland Clinic: Disease & Conditions: Hair Loss

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai: Female Pattern Baldness

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