Let's Talk About Androgenetic Alopecia

Let's Talk About Androgenetic Alopecia

Androgenetic alopecia, also known as male pattern balding and female pattern hair loss is the most common hair loss disorder, affecting both men and women. Initial signs of androgenetic alopecia usually develop during teenage years leading to progressive hair loss with a pattern distribution. Moreover, its frequency increases with age and affects up to 80% Caucasian men and 42% of women.

Androgenetic Alopecia Causes; Genetics & Androgen Hormone

The main cause of androgenetic alopecia is genetics. Another major factor is the male sex hormone called androgen. The androgen hormone has many functions and one of them is the generation of hair growth. Each hair has a growth cycle. In men with AGA, the hair growth cycle weakens and the hair follicle begins to shrink. As the hair follicle continues to grow thinner and thinner, the hair follicle will eventually disappear completely.


Diagnosis of Androgenic Alopecia

Trichologists use each patient’s own hair loss pattern to help diagnose AGA. The diagnosis is usually based on a thorough history and a focused physical examination of the hair and scalp. In some patients, selected laboratory tests or punch biopsy may be necessary. 


Early Signs of Androgenetic Alopecia

AGA can occur as early as the teens. However, it is more common in older men or adults. As stated earlier, genetics kick in as the male gets older, especially if the family has a higher risk of getting AGA. Some of the other signs of androgenetic alopecia are thinning or loss of hair at the temple or crown of the head. Other men may have balding at the front of the hairline making an “M” shape which causes a reseeding hairline that often doesn’t stop. Androgenetic alopecia presents in women quite different and it is very uncommon for women to bald following the male pattern unless there is excessive production of androgens in the body. 


Treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia

Follicular unit transplantation is the gold standard for surgical management. There are 2 types of graft harvest technique: donor strip and follicular unit extraction. Each technique has its own advantages and disadvantages and should be tailored to the individual patient. For the right candidate, hair transplantation can lead to a long-lasting, natural result with appearance of dense scalp hair.

Popular hair regrowth techniques such as MesoHair performed at Golden Skin have been proven to have very positive results on the likelihood of hair regeneration in both males and females, making it the ideal non-surgical alternative to costly hair transplant procedures.

Oral finasteride and topical minoxidil are the 2 mainstream medical treatments for androgenetic alopecia. These medications have different mechanisms of action and should be combined to have an additive effect in men.