Alopecia – Hair Loss 101

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With the launch of this new site ForTheHair.com, a content-rich resource for anyone experiencing hair loss, we’ll start with the basics on alopecia, or hair loss – who experiences it, why, and most importantly, what you can do about it.

  • What causes hair loss?

Hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors –  genetic, hormonal, environmental – or a combination of all three. But, the most common cause of form of hair loss is Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) which happens when one’s body becomes sensitive to androgens, the family of hormones that includes testosterone. Androgens regulate hair growth, among other things.

  • Wait, I thought my hair loss was my mother’s father’s fault…

It is true that a key gene for baldness is on the X chromosome, which you inherit from your mother, but that is not the only genetic factor in play. Now that we know more about genetics, it has become clear that the gene leading to hair loss can be inherited from either parent.

  • Do women get androgenetic alopecia ?

Yes. Many falsely believe that AGA is the same thing as Male Pattern Baldness, but androgenetic alopecia also affects women. Since females generally have lower levels of testosterone / androgens, they often experience a milder version of this kind of hair loss. By the age of 50, approximately 50% of men and 20 – 53% of women are affected by some type of hair loss.

  • How does hair loss happen?

Each strand of hair sits in a follicle, a tiny hole in the skin. Over time, due to many factors (see above) the follicles shrink, and shorter and finer hairs grow out of them. Eventually the follicles become so small that no new hair growth occurs. But the follicles remain alive, which is why FUE works and is so effective. 

  • When does hair loss happen?

For men, hair loss can occur as early as the onset of puberty and as late as retirement. One of the first signs that AGA is happening is when thick hairs turn into light, thin hairs (vellus hairs). Women generally experience AGA at the onset of menopause.

  • Is androgenetic alopecia a medical condition and who treats it?

If your hair loss occurs in an atypical pattern, happens very fast, begins after you start a new medicine, it may not be related to androgenetic alopecia and you should get in touch with your primary healthcare provider.

But if your hair loss sounds like what we’re talking about and follows this pattern, it can have serious psychological and social effects on a  your life. Most people are unhappy and distressed when they start to lose their hair and would do anything to change it. If you believe you have this kind of hair loss, you should set up a consultation with one of our dual board-certified surgeons, Dr. Lieberman or Dr. Parikh to discuss your personal situation. 

  • What can you do about it?

There are several over-the-counter medications that can stimulate hair growth – Minoxidil (Rogaine) and Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) – but they only work as long as you continue to take or apply the medication.

A more permanent and effective way to treat hair loss is through a NeoGraft hair transplant.

Please explore our brand new site, let us know what you think and should you have any further questions, please get in touch with us here.