Male Androgenic Alopecia

Hair loss is a common clinical complaint with a diverse array of possible etiologies. One of the most common reasons that men lose hair as they age is due to a hereditary condition known as male androgenic alopecia, or male pattern balding. In men that present with this condition, hair loss is progressive as terminal hairs are gradually converted into vellus hairs that denude the scalp and ultimately lead to baldness. The most significant underlying factor behind male androgenic alopecia is the presence of sex hormones.

Research has shown that when testosterone, a sex hormone that plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues, is exposed to an enzyme in the hair follicle known as 5-alpha-reductase, another hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is produced. DHT, an androgen, binds to androgen receptors in susceptible follicles and activates genes responsible for follicular miniaturization. Accordingly, DHT causes permanent hair loss by prompting the hair follicle to shrink and grow a finer hair that is lighter in color, shorter and less deeply rooted than its predecessor. Most often, the hair in the balding region will continue to grow at an increasingly slower rate until hair growth ceases completely. The pattern of progression, and the extent and speed of male pattern baldness, is largely dictated by genetics, hormones, and age. The condition usually starts in men aged 20 to 30. First, a receding hairline develops, and, gradually, the hair on top of the head begins to thin. Eventually, the two balding areas meet to form a typical U-shape around the back and sides of the head. The hair that remains is often finer, and does not grow as quickly as it used to, until finally it falls out and ceases to grow at all.

It is important to note that not all hairs are susceptible to the adverse effects of DHT. Hence, even in the most extensive cases, a horseshoe-shaped fringe of hair remains in the back and sides of the scalp. The hair in this donor area provides the basis for surgical hair restoration. These hairs, when transplanted into thinning or balding areas at our hair transplant office in Los Angeles, will take root and grow, and continue to grow for the rest of a person’s life.

Luckily, many causes of hair loss can be treated. Anyone troubled by hair loss should see a hair transplant surgeon. To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Dauer, a leading hair restoration surgeon in Los Angeles, call 310-748-2224.