Especially in men, hair loss is an issue that is chronic and appears hopeless. Hair loss can have a negative effect on self-esteem, and confidence levels. It can cause men to feel older than their actual years. There are several factors that can have a role in the loss of hair, though genetics are clearly the primary cause. The hair loss gene is passed from father to son.
- By the age of 30, 25% of the male population have experienced some degree of hair loss.
- By the age of 60, the occurrence of hair loss increases to almost 70% of the male population.
Thanks to many celebrity role-models, the negative stigma associated with hair loss has been lessened to a degree.
Male Patterned Baldness
Male pattern baldness, being the most commonly encountered type of hair loss in men, accounts for 95% of the hair loss cases. In this type of hair loss, hair is lost around the frontal hair line, and also on the crown. As time passes, the areas meet and a “U” shape of baldness is left at the top of the head. There are numerous causes of hair loss.
- Elevated DHT levels, one of the sex hormones
- Nutritional and vitamin deficiencies
- Environmental pollutants
- Over-brushing and excessive styling
- Tight cornrows and ponytails
Hair loss in Women
Women may also develop hair loss, though not as often as men. In women, the psychological effects can be particularly devastating. Women are left feeling less attractive and less feminine. In women, the hair loss is usually experienced as an overall thinning, while the frontal hair line remains intact. The factors that may cause hair loss for each individual woman is different, though the source is usually one or more of the following:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Use of birth control pills
Diagnosis and Treatment
There are several reasons for hair loss, although there are only a few options available to diagnose and treat it. Often the first person to make us aware of hair loss are our hair stylists. Listening to their advice is important.
There are some tests available for tracking the progression of hair loss in women and men alike. Use of this type of testing measures the progression of hair loss.
Currently, there are genetic tests available that test for hair loss. It works by screening for variations in the AR (androgen receptor) gene that is located on the X chromosome. If this test reveals the presence of the variation that is responsible for baldness, treatment can begin early, even before hair loss is visible. When genetic testing is balanced with investigation of other causative factors, results have been promising. It is always best to use genetic testing along with the advice of a medical professional familiar with current treatment for hair loss.
The occurrence of hair loss is an issue that affects many people, both men and women. The technological and medical advances in diagnosing and treating hair loss make many options available to those experiencing hair loss.