Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss in men. However women also experience this type of hair loss and is thus referred to as Female pattern baldness. It usually follows a pattern of receding hairline and hair thinning on the crown. What causes this and how is it treated?
What causes male or female pattern baldness?
As mentioned in my previous article, testosterone is one of the male andogens present at different levels in both men and women. One of its derivative Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), is detrimental to the hair follicles on your head as it was found to shrink hair follicles, making it impossible for healthy hair to survive in the anagen stage (growth stage). The result is hair thinning as the follicles get smaller, and eventually hair loss known as male or female pattern baldness (Androgenetic Alopecia).
Testosterone converts to DHT with the aid of the enzyme Type II 5-alpha reductase, which is held in a hair follicle’s oil glands. Scientists have concluded that it is not the level of DHT present, but rather the level of DHT binding to receptors in scalp follicles that controls how much hair loss one experiences. Typically women experience less of this type of hair loss than men because these levels are usually lower.
Hormones when in balance do not cause any problems. However in some instances such as during menopause, the female hormones are lowered, giving an edge to the androgens, such as DHT. Such imbalance can cause problems, including hair loss.
Hair loss treatment: DHT Blockers
Many products out there such as Propecia (Finasteride) are now formulated with ingredients to block DHT in the hair follicles, hence the name DHT blockers. This is done by:
- Keeping DHT from attaching to the receptors in the hair follicles.
- Reducing the production of DHT.
- Inhibiting the production of the enzyme 5 alpha reductase which converts testosterone into DHT.
- Reducing the substances that can produce the enzyme 5 alpha reductase like cholesterol.
Some products for Hair Loss
- Minoxidil (in Rogaine for example) is for both men and women.
- Finasteride, Proscar/Propecia for men only. It was found to have some sexual side effects.
- Procerin also for men only and is said to have minimal side effects.
- Provillus for both men and women is said to have the benefits of minoxidil and procerin.