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Frequently Asked Questions: Hair Loss Questions

  • Causes of Male Pattern Baldness
    • Baldness is a medical condition that affects some 25% of men in their 20’s and an astounding 2/3 of all men after the age of 60. Male-pattern baldness does not have any intrinsic side effect aside from hair loss so many consider it a cosmetic medical condition, but for those who suffer from it, its effects it can be devastating with social and psychological consequences.
    • Male baldness cures have been around for thousands of years. From the Ancient Egyptian remedy of pigeon droppings to the early 20th century use of electro-shock treatments on the scalp, mankind has been searching for that one elusive cure for baldness. But it wasn’t until recently that we actually knew what caused baldness.
    • Male-pattern baldness is a result of a gene in the body that converts large quantities of testosterone into DHT (di-hydrotestosterone). Hair loss occurs to some extent in 60-70% of all men, and 4-8% of women. This balding process is caused by hereditary factors. You inherit the tendency to lose hair from either of your parents. This is transmitted in your genes. You may even have this tendency despite the fact that your parents have full heads of hair - this is due to a process known as spontaneous mutation, whereby the genetic information changes at conception.
    • Hair loss can also occur following events such as trauma, radiation therapy, burns and surgery. This is often amenable to transplantation, as the donor sites can often be excellent. A large number of drugs and diseases cause hair loss. This hair loss is only reversible once the initial cause has been remedied. Hair transplantation is not the answer in these cases. If you suffer from a scalp disease, you should consult a dermatologist.
    • This DHT hormone, though helpful during fetal development, is devastating to hair follicles, causing them to become damaged and shrunken. The usual life of a hair follicle is 5 years, 4 of those spent growing and the last year being stagnant, but follicles that are damaged fall out and are not replaced by new follicles. This is why male pattern baldness is gradual but irreversible in its later stages.
  • Registered Treatments
    • Treatments for baldness range from the medicinal to the surgical. FDA- approved medications like Rogaine and Propecia; these can provide effective short-term relief from baldness and have been a popular baldness remedy for years. Rogaine is a topical solution that has proven helpful in helping follicle regrowth but works for only about 60% of all patients. Propecia, on the other hand, is very effective in stemming existing hair loss but is most powerful when used in the early stages of male-pattern baldness. Unfortunately both medications are temporary in nature, as results cease once use of the medication has been discontinued.
  • Minoxodil
    • This stimulates the blood flow to the hair follicle, providing an increased cardio vascular supply and nutritional support. In most men it will reduce the loss and strengthen the hair shaft. It is in a lotion that you apply to the scalp morning and evening.
  • Propecia
    • This reduces the production of DHT in the body, by countering the effects of the enzyme 5 Alpha Reductase I on the male hormone testosterone. It is in tablet form, taken once a day and on prescription.
  • The Norwood Scale
    • The Norwood Scale is a classification of MPB from remedial thinning to progressive hair loss; this makes it easier to understand the present grouping and determine potential future loss. The Scale starts at 1 at its most minor up to 7 as the most aggressive form of hair loss.