If you have started to notice that your hair is thinning, you first question may be “what is going on up there?” There are two main types of hair loss: diffuse hair loss and patterned hair loss (or baldness). Diffuse hair loss is general thinning that occurs throughout the scalp through actual strand loss, through thinning hair shafts, and through stunted regrowth. Patterned baldness is tied to your genetics and it can come in a lot of forms. Men are more likely to experience hair loss on a noticeable scale than women, and men are also more likely to experience patterned hair loss than women.
Patterned baldness is caused by dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male hormone, that causes hair follicles to shrink. When DHT spikes and gets to the part of the hair follicle where the growth starts – the dermal papilla – it drains the nutrients. Below are some steps to identify if you have patterned hair loss or general hair loss.
Age: Older people are more likely to experience hair loss. If you are on the younger side, the source of your hair loss may be related to disease, medical treatment or environmental toxicity.
Genetics: The common myth of male patterned baldness (MPB) is to blame your mother’s genetics, but it can be your father’s, too. Look at grandfathers’, uncles’, and male cousins’ hair loss.
Steroids: DHT sensitivity is largely genetic, but higher DHT levels in younger men are due to anabolic steroid use.
Prostate growth correlation: High DHT levels are linked to prostate gland enlargement. If you have not had a physical in a while, you may want to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider to see if your prostate has become enlarged.
Hairline shape: The front pair of the hairline made start to recede, starting at the temples and thinning into an “M” shape pattern. Hair at the temples and the crown appear to be the most sensitive to spikes in DHT levels. Half moon patterns (full hairline recession without leaving a “widow’s peak”) and the “monk’s patch” (circle of baldness or thinning at the crown) are both common with MPB.
There are treatments available to combat the signs of patterned baldness. Propecia is an oral medication that helps block DHT. While it does not spark regrowth of the hair follicles, you can seek other products to help rejuvenate the growth. Minoxidil – aka Rogaine – is applied to the scalp to stimulate hair follicles by reducing inflammation and dry skin. For men, there are also hormone therapies for those who are older to replace testosterone. These treatments all have potentially serious side effects. You should always consult with your primary care physician before beginning any medication or supplement.
If you do not want to keep guessing about the cause of your hair loss and you want to get hair replacement solutions, you may want to schedule a consultation with a dermatologist. For those in the Indianapolis area, Dr. Guenthner and his team at The Dermatology Center of Indiana are available for your consultation. Dr. Guenthner is one of a very few dermatologists in the region who performs the NeoGraft hair restoration procedure.
The Dermatology Center of Indiana services Danville, Frankin, Greencastle, and Greenwood along with many other cities throughout Indiana. Join us today in one of our locations where you are always welcome.