Dr. Angela Phipps, D.O., A.B.H.R.S., is the Medical Advisor to Hair Club and is sharing hair loss information through a quarterly guest post on our blog, The Good Hair Guide.
Men and women with hair loss often ask me why their hair is thinning. In most cases hormones are to blame. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the culprit in men, while DHT and other hormones can cause hair loss in women. If you inherit hair follicles that are sensitive to these hormones, the result is a condition called androgenetic alopecia, better known as male pattern baldness and female pattern hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia affects more than 50 million men and 40 million women in the United States, making it the most common cause of hair loss by far.
What is DHT?
DHT is a naturally-occurring by-product of testosterone, the male sex hormone. An enzyme in the hair follicle’s sebaceous (oil) glands helps convert testosterone to DHT. This process happens in both men and women, even though women have less testosterone than men.
How Does DHT Cause Hair Loss?
To understand how DHT causes hair loss, it helps to understand the hair growth cycle. The cycle includes four phases: growing (anagen), transitional (catagen), resting (telogen) and shedding (exogen). DHT builds up in the hair follicles over time, disrupting the growth cycle. In a process called miniaturization, DHT shrinks hair follicles causing strands to reproduce at a slower rate by either shortening the growing phase or lengthening the resting phase. As androgenetic alopecia progresses and DHT continues to adversely affect the follicles, hairs become thinner, more fragile and often lighter in color with each subsequent life cycle. Eventually, the follicles shut down and will no longer produce hair.
What Does Genetic Hair Loss Look Like?
Androgenetic alopecia presents differently in men and women. Men typically lose their hair along the hairline, temples and crown. As hair loss advances, the hairline meets the bald spot at the crown, leaving only DHT-resistant hair on the back and sides of the head. Women show more of a diffuse pattern of hair loss and may experience overall thinning, a widening of the part or patchy hair loss, especially near the temples.
What Solutions are Available for Hair Loss?
Since 1976, Hair Club has offered only proven solutions for hair loss. What makes the company unique is their comprehensive suite of solutions including surgical, non-surgical and hair regrowth options. The best way to find out which solution is right for you is to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of their hair loss experts. The consultation is important because everyone loses their hair differently, and solutions need to be customized to fit individual needs.