Androgenetic alopecia (male and female pattern balding) is by far the most common cause of hair loss amongst men and a serious problem for many women. There are three important components which are responsible for both female and male balding:
- A genetic predisposition for balding to occur
- Excessive presence of male hormones
- Ageing – enough time for the first two factors to occur
Both men and women produce male hormones that have a useful role to play in both sexes; but the fact that androgens occur in much higher concentrations in men explains why male pattern baldness is more common than the female balding.
DHT the root cause of hair loss
It is metabolism of male hormones (androgen/testosterone) which is main cause of hair loss and male and female pattern balding both in men and women.
The metabolism of androgen involves an enzyme called 5 alpha reductase which combines with the hormone (testosterone) and converts it to DHT (Dihydro-testosterone). DHT is a natural metabolite of our body.
The cause of male and female pattern balding
Some individuals, both men and women, are genetically pre-disposed to produce more DHT than the normal individuals. It is this accumulation of DHT and its effect on the cells inside the hair follicle and root which is one of the primary causes of male and female pattern balding.
When DHT gets into the hair follicle and root, especially a region called the dermal papilla, it changes the cell’ activity and prevents necessary proteins, vitamins and minerals from providing nourishment needed to sustain life in the hairs of those follicles. Consequently, hair follicles are reproduced at a much slower rate. This shortens their growing stage (anagen phase) and or lengthens their resting stage (telogen phase) of the follicle. DHT also causes hair follicle to shrink and get progressively smaller and finer. This process is known as miniaturization and causes the hair to ultimately fall. DHT induced androgenetic aloepcia is responsible for 95% of all hair loss.
Blocking the synthesis of DHT at the molecular level forms the basis for the treatment of MPHL (male pattern hair loss) and FPHL (female pattern hair loss). There are many natural DHT blockers and a number of drugs which are used for medical hair restoration.