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What Causes Hair Loss?

According to The American Academy of Dermatology, more than 50 million men are affected by hair loss or baldness which can occur in a variety of patterns and degrees. Dr. Papadopoulos and his hair transplantation staff will carefully assess your individual thinning pattern before recommending the best possible solution. Treatment is effective and affordable.

When Hair Loss Occurs

Hair loss occurs when the normal hair growth cycle is disrupted. Male pattern thinning, or androgenic alopecia is the most common cause for males. It happens as a result of shrinking hair follicles over time, eventually resulting in complete failure to grow new hair. Male sex hormones, dihydrotestosterone, and genetics are responsible for this type of thinning. The sensitivity to these hormones is found on hair follicles positioned in the front, crown, and top of the scalp.

Male Pattern Baldness

Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) also known as male-pattern baldness, is one of the most common conditions affecting men. In the US 35 to 40 million men are affected. In some men, AGA progresses to baldness over most of the scalp. Degrees range from this most severe form of AGA to the least noticeable loss of hair in the front temporal area above the eyebrows. Loss of hair in the front temporal area is usually the first place where hair is lost in male AGA; in some men, the loss stops there and never progresses. In other men, hair loss continues into other areas of the scalp. Progression is rapid in some men, slower in others. Dr. Papadopoulos, a hair restoration specialist and physician can evaluate individual  and predict the pattern and extent the baldness may eventually encompass.

Male AGA occurs in an array of patterns illustrated in the Norwood-Hamilton Scale. The Norwood-Hamilton Scale is used by physician hair restoration specialists in assessing individual conditions and in planning treatment. The Norwood-Hamilton Scale illustrates a feature of AGA that makes hair transplantation possible; no matter how severe the hair loss, hair is never lost at the back or sides of the head or on the nape of the neck. These regions are under different genetic control from the gene(s) that affect hair follicles at the front and top of the head. This “preserved” hair at the back and sides of the head is a reservoir of healthy follicles for the doctor to harvest and transplant.

Female Pattern Baldness

Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) also occurs in women and is identified as female-pattern baldness. The patterns of AGA in women are different from men’s. The typical appearance of female-pattern hair loss is diffuse thinning of hair over the top of the scalp. The Ludwig Classification illustrates female-pattern hair loss in increasing degrees of severity. Thinning hair in females can begin at any age from teenage through middle age. There may not be an obvious hereditary association for a woman, but a man with AGA usually has close male relatives with AGA. AGA is the most common cause of permanent hair loss in women; about 50% of women over age 40 have some degree of female-pattern hair loss. Non-AGA causes of thinning hair are more frequent in women. Women more than men are also likely to have temporary hair loss that may occur separately or together with female-pattern hair loss. Two common causes of temporary hair loss in women are the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and untreated hypothyroidism. A woman who is worried about the loss of scalp hair should consult a physician hair restoration specialist for evaluation and diagnosis. Loss of hair in females can usually be successfully treated after a diagnosis is established.

Non-AGA Causes

While androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women, the condition can also be due to a number of other issues. Diagnosis by a physician/hair restoration specialist is important. Successful treatment is dependent on correct diagnosis. There are several important non-AGA causes of hair loss:

  • Alopecia areata: possibly an autoimmune disorder that causes patchy loss ranging from diffuse thinning to extensive areas of baldness with islands of retained hair.
  • Scarring alopecia: Scarring of the scalp can cause bald spots. A common cause of scarring alopecia is persistent tight braiding or corn-rowing of scalp hair. Over a period of time scarring may destroy hair follicles and result in permanent hair loss. More severe scarring alopecia may be caused by physical cutting-ripping-tearing injury to scalp skin or burn injury.
  • Telogen effluvium: loss caused by a large percentage of scalp hair follicles shifting into “shedding” phase. An underlying cause may be hormonal, nutritional, or drug-associated.
  • Loose-anagen syndrome: a condition that occurs primarily in fair-haired persons. Scalp hair sits loosely in hair follicles and is easily extracted by normal combing or brushing. Sometimes, the condition appears during childhood and improves in later life.
  • Triangular alopecia: a loss of hair in the frontal area of the scalp that sometimes begins in childhood. Hair loss may be complete in the frontal area or a few hairs may remain. The frontal hair loss can look similar to early-stage AGA. The cause of triangular alopecia is not known, but it can be successfully treated.
  • Trichotillomania: compulsive hair plucking. The condition ranges from idly plucking hair while reading or watching TV to ritualistic plucking of hair in specific patterns. Over time, trichotillomania can cause scarring alopecia and permanent loss of hair. Trichotillomania usually cannot be successfully treated until underlying psychological or emotional conditions are addressed.
  • Scalp infections: bacteria, fungi, and viruses can invade and damage hair follicles, causing the problem. The infection must be diagnosed and treated before hair restoration can be undertaken. Losing hair and becoming bald can be stressful.  It’s comforting to know that there is help and a solution available at MetroDerm, P.C. Call today for an appointment to diagnose the cause of your hair loss and learn about the treatments available.

Every patient is unique; results will vary.

MetroDerm has locations in the Greater Atlanta area to assist with hair loss treatment.

You can also book an appointment to discuss hair loss treatment with a MetroDerm provider today.