Androgenic alopecia, also known as pattern baldness, is a disorder characterized by gradual thinning and eventual loss of hair, affecting males and females. For men symptoms can be a slow recession of the frontal hairline and a loss of hair in the scalp area. Women usually experience a general thinning of hair across the crown which does not lead to total loss of hair.
Androgenic alopecia is a very common disorder affecting two-thirds of all men although the course of this condition varies strongly. Some people may lose a lot of hair during their twenties while others experience a gradual thinning of hair while approaching middle age. The causes of hair loss include genetics, stress, diet and illnesses.
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Alopecia (general medical term) is a hair-loss condition that can have a several types, different causes and symptoms.
We can mention below, the most common types of alopecia:
- male pattern baldness;
- female pattern baldness;
- telogen effluvium;
- anagen effluvium;
- scarring alopecia;
- alopecia areata;
It is estimated that half of the men around 50 years old can be affected by baldness. Usually, can initiate, at the end of twenties and beginning of thirties, and in some level, most of the men can have a hair loss at the end of thirties.
This baldness is the most common type of hair loss and is hereditary (if someone in your family has, you can have too). Which means that, male pattern baldness sufferers inherit are hair follicles with a genetic sensitivity to one kind of male hormone.
It is no common but male pattern baldness can lead to complete baldness. Most often is men are progressive losing their hair, after that in the temples and crown the hair becomes thin. You can see the shape of a horseshoe around the sides in the head and the back.
Treatments for hair loss
You do not need treatment to the most types of hair loss, for example the male-pattern baldness, because this disorder is not a risk to your health; it is just a natural action of ageing.
Even though is not necessary to have treatment to hair-loss, if you feel uncomfortable with the status of your hair, you should go to see your GP. It is always better to see your GP first and then try someone specialized in skin care (dermatologist).
The GP can determine what kind of hair loss disorder you have, examining your hair. He can also discuss with you all possible treatments.
If your reason to look for treatment is cosmetic, there are two possible medications: Finasteride and Minoxidil. You can also use minoxidil for the treatment of female pattern baldness.
The function of this medicine is to prevent the hormone testosterone to be transformed to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone DHT makes the hair thin and shrink. When you take this medicine, the DHT will be blocked and the hair can return to his normal size.
You can take Finasteride every day and it is a tablet. Your GP can give you a private prescription.
The effectiveness of the treatment usually only persist as long as the drug is taken, after the break-in from six to 12 months the baldness can come back. Usually, it is necessary to wait from three to six months, using correctly, to see the results.
According to some studies, this medicine can increase the hair count and improve the way the people think about their hair.
The side effects of finasteride are unlikely: in 100 men who took the medicine, less than one had side effects like erectile dysfunction (inability to have and keep an erection) or the loss of sex desire (libido).
Minoxidil is available in pharmacies and you do not need prescription. This medicine is a lotion that you can use every day rubbing on your scalp.
It is not confirmed that minoxidil works for everyone and it should be used continuously to have results (regrowth the hair).
This medicine has two percentages of minoxidil: 5% and 2%. Some studies show that the 5% version has more results but can also have more side effects as dryness and itchiness in the area applied. However, the 2% version is more effective according to some evidence.
Both medicines, minoxidil and finasteride, it is necessary to continue use to be effective. If you stop to take the medicine, the balding process will return.
Every hair, which grows up in consequence of the medicine, will fall down after you stop the treatment. The side effects of minoxidil are unlikely.
You can also have some other surgical options for hair loss such as artificial hair implants and hair implants.
Hair loss is something that affects men´s lives because can lead to a loss of your self-esteem and sometimes to depression. Hair is part of your identity, and you can feel losing it when the hair starts to fall down.
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