Genetic hair loss is caused by the action of male hormones (androgens) upon a genetically sensitive hair follicle. The development of genetic hair loss is associated with the shortening of the growing phase of the hair cycle and consequently with an increase in the proportion of resting hairs. Also, there is a reduction in the size of the affected follicles causing the hair on your head to become increasingly shorter and finer.
Are you likely to experience genetic hair loss? It depends on many factors. The more close family members that have genetic hair loss, the higher the percentage chance there is for you to have the condition. Also, if you have similar hair characteristics to someone in your family with hair loss (for example, color, hair type, etc.), then it may increase your chances of losing hair.
For most men, the onset of genetic hair loss occurs before the age of 30, however, as they become older, the chances that they will lose hair due to genetic reasons increases proportionally. For instance, a thirty-year-old will have a 30% chance of losing hair, a forty-year-old will have a 40% chance, a fifty-year-old will have a 50% chance, and so on. According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery over 35 million American men suffer genetic hair loss. In men, the hair begins to recede at the temples and/or to thin in the vertex (crown) area. Eventually, the whole frontal-crown area of the scalp can be involved.
Studies indicate that genetic hair loss occurs in about 30% to 50% of women. The hair loss is typically diffuse (evenly distributed), affecting the frontal and crown areas with similar severity. Often a small band of denser hair is retained along the frontal hair line. Often, genetic hair loss in women begins around menopause.
Not all hair loss is genetic hair loss so it’s best to have a specialist check your condition before starting a treatment regimen. Genetic hair loss has been treated with minoxidil (Rogaine)–2% for women, 5% for men, scalp stimulants, laser therapy, spironolactone (women), propecia (men). A multitude of other drugs and therapies have also claimed to regrow genetic hair loss. Although no treatment has yet shown to be a 100% reliable, there is presently considerable ongoing research into finding a cure.
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