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Hair loss can be a very emotional difficult event because hair has an important psychological importance in our society. Most men experience some degree of hair loss in their lifetime which can start as early in some men in their early twenties. Androgenetic Alopecia (AA) or common male pattern baldness (MPB) accounts for more than 95% of hair loss in men. By the age of thirty-five (35) over 60% of American men will experience some degree of appreciable hair loss, and by the age of fifty (50) approximately 85% of men have significantly thinning hair.
The psychological effects of male hair loss vary with some men paying minimal attention to their thinning hair, while others are affected significantly. It is important that men who are having unusual difficulty dealing with their hair loss receive psychological support or counseling as well as medical treatment.
Fortunately, there are a number of excellent medical treatments that can prevent or postpone male hair loss in its early stages. For more advance MPB, surgical hair restoration can return to men a completely natural look. Over the past 10 years, non surgical options that include oral medications have decreased hair loss in men. In the future, we look forward for further progress towards the goal of cloning ones own hair, a technology in which significant progress has been made, but that is not yet available.
Hair Loss and Its Causes
Hair follicles perpetually goes through three different stages. The normal cycle of hair growth lasts for 2 to 6 years. This stage is called the Anagen stage. During this stage hair will grow approximately one (1) centimeter (less than half an inch) per month. About 90 percent of the hair on your scalp is growing at any one time. About 10 percent of the hair on your scalp is in the involution phase, also called the Catagen phase which lasts about 2 weeks. The hair then enters the Telogen or resting phase for 2 to 3 months. At the end of the resting phase hair follicles falls out and a new hair starts.
The most important structure of a hair follicle is the dermal papilla, which is responsible for hair growth. The cell of this dermal papilla divides and differentiates to form a new hair follicle. As this dermal papilla lies in direct contact with blood capillaries of the skin, it is responsible for deriving nutrients for hair follicle growth. This dermal papilla has many receptors for androgens; where men have more androgenic receptors here than women.
What is common baldness?
The term "common baldness" usually means male balding pattern baldness (MBP), or permanent-pattern baldness. MPBP is the most common cause of hair loss in men. Men who have this type of hair loss typically also have an inherited or genetic trait as a cause of MBP. Men may who start losing their hair at an early age tend to develop more extensive baldness. In MBP, hair loss typically results in a receding hair line and baldness on the top of the head.
Testosterone plays an important role in hair loss. When combined with another enzyme in the hair follicle, 5 alpha reductase, testosterone converts to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone is a natural metabolite of the human body and is very potent androgen belonging to the class of compounds called androgenic hormones. The hair follicle when exposed to long periods of DHT eventually miniaturizes and dies.