Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health
Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health

Hair loss / alopecia / balding

What is hair loss?

Men - balding

Women - hair loss

Men and women: common causes of hair loss

Prevention / remedies / cures / treatment for hair loss

References

What is hair loss?

Alopecia or baldness is an involuntary loss of hair in the places where it usually grows on most people.

Scientists currently do not understand the mechanisms causing hair loss and regrowth. However, in 2012 a protein that causes hair loss was discovered (1), and research in this area is accelerating.

Self-caused or voluntary hair loss is common. Some people have a psychological compulsion to pull out their own hair; some hairstyling such as excessively tight ponytails or braids can cause hair loss; also burns to the scalp from caustic hair relaxer solution or hot hair irons.

Alopecia totalis is the loss of all head hair.

Alopecia universalis is the loss of all hair from the head and the body.

Androgenic alopecia (also known as androgenetic alopecia or alopecia androgenetica) is a common form of hair loss in both men and women.

Men - balding

Androgenic alopecia is also known as male pattern baldness. It is a hormonal condition in which hair is lost in a well-defined pattern, starting above the temples and thinning at the crown of the head. A rim of hair around the sides and back of the head may remain, or the condition may progress to complete baldness.

Male pattern baldness affects 70-80% of men, causing hair follicles to shrink and produce only thin or microscopic hairs which grow for a shorter period than normal hairs.

Testosterone seems to be necessary for the development of male pattern baldness, though it is not the cause. However, the mechanisms for decreased hair growth in this disorder are unclear.

As men age, androgens stimulate hair growth on the eyebrows, in the nose and ears, and on the face, but suppress it on the scalp - a condition known as the 'androgen paradox'. (2)

Women - hair loss

About 30-40% of Caucasian adult women experience hair loss at some point in their lives. (3) With women the pattern is different - the hair just becomes thinner all over the head. Androgenic alopecia in women rarely leads to complete baldness.

Among non-genetic factors causing alopecia in women, stress is the main cause. One study showed that women who have had multiple marriages or who are divorced or separated had higher rates of hair loss. Other factors include hypertension, lack of exercise, diabetes mellitus, excessive sleep, and having more children. (4)

Men and women: common causes of hair loss

Prevention / remedies / cures / treatment for hair loss

References

1. Luis A. Garza, Yaping Liu, Zaixin Yang, Brinda Alagesan, John A. Lawson, Scott M. Norberg, Dorothy E. Loy, Tailun Zhao, Hanz B. Blatt, David C. Stanton, Lee Carrasco, Gurpreet Ahluwalia, Susan M. Fischer, Garret A. FitzGerald, George Cotsarelis. Prostaglandin D2 Inhibits Hair Growth and Is Elevated in Bald Scalp of Men with Androgenetic Alopecia. Sci Transl Med 21 March 2012: Vol. 4, Issue 126, p126.

2. Inui S, Itami S. Androgen actions on the human hair follicle: Perspectives. Experimental Dermatology 2012. PMID 23016593.

3. Sinclair R., Patel M., Dawson T. L., Yazdabadi A., Yip L., Perez A., Rufaut, N. W. Hair loss in women: Medical and cosmetic approaches to increase scalp hair fullness. British Journal of Dermatology 2011, 165: 12-18. PMID 22171680.

4. Gatherwright J., Liu M. T., Gliniak C., Totonchi A., Guyuron, B. The Contribution of Endogenous and Exogenous Factors to Female Alopecia. 2012 Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 130 (6): 1219-1226.