Guide to Androgenic Alopecia
Guide to Androgenic Alopecia
Understanding Pattern Baldness
Defining Androgenic Alopecia
Androgenic alopecia, also referred to as androgenetic alopecia, is a type of hair loss that many people will struggle with during their lifetime. In fact, this form of hair loss affects an estimated 50 million men and 30 million women throughout the United States.
Before we jump into the minute details of this condition, let’s first better understand what androgenic alopecia is.
What is Androgenic Alopecia?
Androgenic alopecia, also known as male-pattern baldness, is a genetically predetermined form of hair loss that is defined as a loss of hair on the scalp any time after puberty.
As mentioned previously, androgenic alopecia is a problem that both men and women can deal with.
Androgenetic Alopecia in Men
For men dealing with this form of hair loss, the pattern of baldness is normally well-defined and consistent. The hair line will begin receding from the front, from there, many men will see hair loss at the top of their scalp before both progress to partial or complete baldness.
Androgenetic Alopecia in Women
Despite what the name male-pattern baldness suggests, it is a condition that also affects women. For women, this condition generally begins to take effect after they begin menopause but in some cases it can also affect young women. The hair loss pattern is different for women than men. For women, hair loss will begin at the crown of the head – generally where the hair parts – and will spread from there.
Androgenic Alopecia Causes
Most forms of hair loss, androgenic alopecia included, can be caused by a number of different factors and influences including:
- Personal Habits
What is the Cause of Androgenic Alopecia?
Genetic and environmental factors both play a role in causing this form of hair loss and research has found that this form of hair loss is strongly linked to androgens, specifically the hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Increased levels of androgens and DHT is associated with shorter hair growth cycles and thinner strands of hair.
Androgenic Alopecia and DHT
As mentioned above, dihydrotestosterone plays a major role in the hair loss associated with androgenic alopecia. DHT is a hormone that is vital in sexual development and in puberty. It has important functions for both males and females in regard to sex drive and hair growth.
While DHT does have a number of benefits as we age, DHT can cause hair loss by impeding proper hair growth. Once DHT flows freely throughout the body, it can link to hair follicles on the scalp and shrink them, leading:
DHT Side Effects:
- Shorter hair growth cycles
- Weaker hair
- Thinner volume on the scalp
Despite how problematic DHT can be for your hair, there are ways to help negate and lessen the effects of this hormone, but we’ll get into that a little bit later.
Androgenic Alopecia Symptoms
The symptoms of Androgenic Alopecia are typically broken down into 7 stages. Initially the symptoms will not be visible to the naked eye, but rather an internal process that shrinks your hair follicles and shortens the hair growth phases. As one progresses through the phases of hair loss, they will eventually lose nearly all of their hair if left untreated.
The 7 Stages of Androgenic Alopecia
You may be wondering, “how fast does androgenic alopecia progress?” The answer is that it is different for everyone, with some progressing through the stages in a short amount of time while others will progress over a number of years. Regardless of the situation, here are the common stages of the issue.
Androgenic Alopecia Stages
- Little to no appearance of hair loss
- Some thinning around the temples
- More significant balding seen, typically in a “M” or “V” shape
- Severe hairline recession
- Only a thin band connecting your hair
- Sparse hair around the top of the head
- Only a small band of hair, if any around the head
It is important to note that everyone is different and stages may have some small differences on a case by case basis.
How Long Does Androgenic Alopecia Last?
Androgenic alopecia is gradual and can begin to occur after puberty, but for both males and females it is unknown how far baldness will progress, with some problems lasting multiple years.
Despite the unknowns that surround this form of hair loss, there are ways to help you overcome and reverse androgenic alopecia. Before we look at that, let’s examine if there are ways that you can prevent this problem in the first place.
How to Prevent Androgenic Alopecia
When it comes to preventing androgenic alopecia hair loss, while there is no completely bulletproof method to stopping this problem, there are lifestyle and environmental changes you can make to give yourself the best shot at reducing the effects of this issue.
Cigarettes and tobacco have been proven to be a problem when it comes to hair loss. Cigarette smoke is something that can harm the hair follicles, leading to problems with growth. Research has found that smokers have a greater rate of hair loss than non-smokers. Similarly, the risk increased as smoking increased.
Stress is a normal part of life, and some stress can be a helpful motivator; however, if you are dealing with debilitating stress it can lead to certain physical consequences such as hair loss. That said, by practicing meditative practices such as mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, or even prayer, you can help to reduce your stress and, in turn, potentially prevent additional hair loss problems.
Alter Your Diet
When it comes to stopping hair loss, many people think only what they are doing on the outside of their bodies influences your scalp. But what you are putting in your body is also of vital importance. Your diet is key to preventing and overcoming hair loss.
Some studies suggest that specific diets, like the Mediterranean diet, can be an effective way to reduce the risk of androgenic alopecia. The Mediterranean diet is one that is rich in plant-based foods and low on animal foods, with seafood being eaten about twice a week. Some foods this diet consists of include tomatoes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, apples, oranges, eggs, beans, peanuts, salmon, shrimp, and more.
Use Hair Growth Supplements
There are certain nutrients that are vital for your hair health, such as:
- Vitamin B12 and B6
- Vitamin D
Changing your diet can go a long way in ensuring you are getting proper nutrients but sticking to a specific diet every day can be difficult. That’s where supplements can come into play. There are a number of hair growth supplements available to ensure that you are getting all the proper nutrients and setting yourself up for success.
Androgenic Alopecia Treatment
While there are preventative measures that you can take to try and avoid the problem before it takes hold, some people aren’t aware of the issue until it has already begun. In these cases, there are ways that you can work to treat and overcome androgenic alopecia, but the solution is not simple and will require some effort on your part.
Now, on to the meat of the solution, let’s examine a few of the best products and treatment options to help you overcome androgenic alopecia.
Hair Transplant Surgery
One of the more invasive and expensive routes that you can take to try and overcome hair loss is through a transplant surgery. There are a couple different methods for hair transplant surgeries but most people will see 60% of new hair growth 6 to 9 months after the surgery. Also, expect to pay somewhere between $4,000 and $15,000 for this type of procedure.
Along with LLLT, there are many topical solutions on the market to help reduce hair loss. For example, minoxidil, or Rogaine, is one of the most common topical solutions to help overcome hair loss. Studies have shown that this form of hair treatment is successful in restoring hair density. That said, it is best used with all other forms of treatment including improved diet, exercise, and even using a laser cap in conjunction with this formula. Along with medications like this, there are also shampoos created to help with androgenic alopecia.
How to Reverse Androgenic Alopecia Naturally
Whatever your situation may be, the chance that one product or thing you do will fully stop your hair loss is unlikely, you need to make a commitment to make various lifestyle changes to help your scalp along the way.
Some of these things we’ve already touched on when discussing how to prevent this form of alopecia, but they are still relevant to treating the problem after it has already begun. Now, on to the meat of the solution, let’s examine a few of the best products and treatment options to help you overcome androgenic alopecia.
Low-Level Laser Therapy
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a form of hair loss treatment that utilizes lights and lasers to help stimulate the hair follicles, reduce some of the harmful effects of DHT, and help reinvigorate your scalp to help reduce hair loss and generate hair growth. LLLT products often come in the form of laser caps, like the illumiflow 272 model. Laser caps are non-invasive hair loss solutions that have been shown to be clinically effective in promoting hair growth. They are also FDA-cleared products and don’t require intense time commitments to use properly.
Hair loss can be a debilitating and problematic issue that has disastrous effects on your esteem and self-confidence. But that doesn’t have to be permanent. There are things you can do to combat this problem and work to restore your hairline and achieve your #hairgoals.
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