Hair Loss

Hair Loss Facts: Why Am I Losing My Hair?

Graphic illustrating the effect of DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) on hair loss

Male Hair Loss

Male pattern hair loss (MPHL), or androgenic alopecia, is a hereditary condition resulting from the possession of certain hormones. Up to 70% of men will be affected by genetic hair loss at some point in their lifetimes.

In genetically predisposed individuals, hair follicles in certain areas of the scalp are programmed to become increasingly sensitive to fluctuating hormonal activity. A specific enzyme called alpha-5 reductase converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, which is primarily responsible for patterned hair loss in males. The most typically affected regions include the temples, hairline, and top and vertex of the scalp. The rim of hair around the back of the scalp contains hormone-resistant hair follicles that aren’t as sensitive to DHT. Follicles from this area will not fall out if used for a transplant.

Generalized hair loss, or thinning, in men may be caused by other factors and not respond to conventional treatments for pattern hair loss. Other causes of hair loss in men include:

  • Dietary deficiencies
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Medications such as anti-cancer drugs
  • Trauma
  • Dermatologic conditions

Female Hair Loss

Sometimes hair loss in women results from genetic factors. This is referred to as androgenic alopecia, or female pattern hair loss (FPHL), and it can occur from puberty onward. Up to 50% of women will be affected by genetic hair loss in their lifetime.

Hair loss in women can also be caused by a number of other factors, including:

  • Hormonal imbalances or changes such as menopause
  • Pregnancy & childbirth
  • Dietary deficiencies
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Dermatologic conditions
  • Medications such as anti-cancer drugs
  • Hair styling & chemical hair processing
  • Trauma