Hair Loss Facts Q&A
Recent studies show that well over 51 million men and women in the United States alone suffer from some form of hair loss, alopecia, or thinning hair. Even more suffer from hair loss due to medical reasons such as chemotherapy hair loss, lupus or trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling).
US male hair loss facts
- Androgenic alopecia or common male pattern baldness (MPB) accounts for more than 95% of hair loss in men. By the age of 35, two-thirds of American men will experience some degree of appreciable hair loss, and by the age of fifty approximately 85% of men have significantly thinning hair. Approximately twenty five percent of men who suffer with male pattern baldness begin the painful process before they reach the age of twenty-one.
- Contrary to societal belief, most men who suffer from male pattern baldness are extremely unhappy with their situation and would do anything to change it. Hair loss affects every aspect of the hair loss sufferer's life. It affects interpersonal relationships as well as the professional lives of those suffering. It is not uncommon for men to change their career paths because of their hair loss.
- Androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness (MPB) is responsible for the vast majority of hair loss in men. While there are many possible reasons people lose their hair, including serious disease, reaction to certain medications, and in rare cases extremely stressful events, most hair loss in men can be blamed on heredity.
- What male pattern baldness sufferers are actually inheriting are hair follicles with a genetic sensitivity to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Hair follicles that are sensitive to DHT begin to miniaturize, shortening the lifespan of each hair follicle affected. Eventually, these affected follicles stop producing cosmetically acceptable hair.
- Male pattern baldness is generally characterized with the onset of a receding hairline and thinning crown. Hair in these areas including the temples and mid-anterior scalp appear to be the most sensitive to DHT. This pattern eventually progresses into more apparent baldness throughout the entire top of the scalp, leaving only a rim or "horseshoe" pattern of hair remaining in the more advanced stages of MPB. For some men even this remaining rim of hair can be affected by DHT.
A closer look at DHT:
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a derivative or by-product of testosterone. Testosterone converts to DHT with the aid of the enzyme Type II 5-alpha-reductace, which is held in the hair follicle's oil glands. While the entire genetic process of male pattern baldness is not completely understood, scientists do know that DHT shrinks hair follicles, and that when DHT is suppressed, hair follicles continue to thrive. Hair follicles that are sensitive to DHT must be exposed to the hormone for a prolonged period of time in order for the affected follicle to complete the miniaturization process. Today, with proper intervention this process can be slowed or even stopped if caught early enough.