Dating as far back as history will take us, Hair Loss has been a part of the aging process that many men fear the most. Before Rogaine, hair transplants and hair additions, men coped in various ways from magic ointments to the styling of their hair. Julius Caesar grew his hair long in the back and combed it all forward. Napoleon did the same thing. Somehow we often disregard history and the fact that this has been an age old condition. We can’t imagine or accept the fact that there is not a cure.
Understanding the cause of male pattern Hair Loss may better indicate exactly why it presently has no cure.
ANDROGENETIC ALOPECIA – the modem medical term for either male or female pattern Hair Loss – can be broken down in two parts.
First, Androgenetic, consisting of ANDROGEN (Any of the various hormones that control the appearance and development of masculine characteristics such as testosterone). And GENETIC–the inheritance of genes from either the mother or the father’s side of the family. Add AGE, which when coupled with genetics, represents a time clock that will signal the hair follicle to produce an enzyme named 5 alpha reductase. When the testosterone present in the follicle combines with the enzyme 5 alpha reductase, it produces dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Hair follicle receptors are sensitive to DHT and thereby start the process of male or female pattern Hair Loss.
Second, ALOPECIA meaning Hair Loss, of which there are many types.
Put simply, scientists are working against aging, hormones and genetics. This is no easy task. Add the fact that male or female pattern Hair Loss is not life threatening, and it is easy to see why many physicians do not view Hair Loss as a priority in scientific research.
What is working for you in terms of research is that large pharmaceutical firms now know that a cure for Hair Loss could mean a fortune in revenue for their companies and stockholders. This is fuel enough and the race HAS begun.
Although we may not see a cure in our lifetime, it is possible. Science is closer to understanding Hair Loss due to many recent advancements. To say the cure is around the corner would only be speculation but hope certainly is alive.
UNTIL THEN …
Since there are other causes of Hair Loss, it is advisable to consult with a dermatologist who is competent and experienced with diagnosing Hair Loss. Confirming the type of Hair Loss you have will make it possible for you to know which treatment options may be best for you.
• Alopecia Areata: Generally thought to be an autoimmune disorder. Causes “patchy” Hair Loss, often in small circular areas in different areas of the scalp.
• Alopecia Totalis: Total Hair Loss of the scalp, (an advanced form of Alopecia Areata).
• Alopecia Universalis: Hair Loss of the entire body, (also an advanced form of alopecia Areata).
• Traction Alopecia: Hair Loss caused by physical stress and tension on the hair such as prolonged use of hair weaving, corn rows etc. Done too tightly on weak hair these can cause permanent Hair Loss.
• Telogen Effiuvium: (usually temporary Hair Loss) Caused by Physical stress, emotional stress, thyroid abnormalities, medications and hormonal causes normally associated with females.
• Anagen Effiuvium: Generally due to internally administered medications, such as chemotherapy agents, that poison the growing hair follicle.
All of these represent only a few of the different types of Hair Loss. Androgenetic Alopecia represents close to 95% of all Hair Loss however.
Prepared for the American Hair Loss Council by Zoe Draelos, M.D. and Mike Mahoney, AHLC Executive Director.
Used with Permission