When men lose their hair, the hair loss tends to follow a particular pattern throughout their scalp. That is why such hair loss is often called Pattern Hairloss.
The chart below shows the typical stages of Male Pattern Hair Loss.
For Women, hair loss generally tends to be a thinning of individual hair strands and or hair loss throughout the scalp area. Nevertheless, such hair loss for women is still often called Female Pattern Hair Loss.
90% of all Hairloss is Pattern Hair Loss
The most common form of hair loss and balding is known as Adrogenetic Alopecia (AGA), also called Male Pattern Hair Loss, which represents the vast majority of all hair loss cases. Scientists now believe that approximately 90% + of the hair loss seen in Men is caused by pattern hair loss.
Pattern hair loss is a common condition affecting approximately 40 million men in the United States alone. The disorder may begin before age twenty, however more commonly it begins in a person’s 20’s or 30’s. This disorder is thought to affect about half of men by age 50. Symptoms are recognized as a gradual thinning of the hair on the scalp. Often, this results in a receding hair line and or balding on the top middle or back portions of the scalp.
The hair loss, in general, can be described as mild, moderate or severe and tends to follow a particular pattern in men. (Norwood pattern hair loss chart)
The Role of the Enzyme 5-Alpha-Reductase ( 5AR )
Strikingly, both females and males diagnosed with pattern hair loss have higher levels of 5-Alpha-Reductase ( 5AR ) and androgen receptors in frontal hair follicles compared to occipital follicles (hair follicles anatomically located outside the typical pattern of loss). Other predisposing factors such as differential cytochrome P450 levels in susceptible versus non-susceptible hair follicles are less well known, but may have contributory relevance as well.
The formulations of HairGenesis work by interrupting this negative cycle and the activity of the enzyme 5-Alpha-Reductase ( 5AR ), thus preventing damage to the hair follicle caused by DHT. Therefore, a healthier hair follicle is better able to produce a healthier and stronger hair.
The Role of DHT in Causing Hair Follicles to Grow Smaller
From a susceptibility standpoint, the inheritance pattern in both sexes effected by AGA is polygenic (meaning that the pattern hairloss is caused by multiple genes linked to hair loss). Interestingly, the onset and incidence of the disorder in women closely parallels that observed in males.
The disorder begins in susceptible hair follicles, where Di-Hydro-Testosterone ( DHT ) has been shown to bind to the androgen receptor sites (ARS) in susceptible hair follicles.
This hormone-receptor complex translocates to the cell nucleus, initiating a gene activation program thought to be responsible for the gradual transformation of large terminal follicles to a miniaturized phenotype – the hair follicles begins a negative growth cycle, getting smaller and smaller over time.
This process occurs within a genetically predetermined anatomical region of the scalp. The resultant clinical picture may thus be described as pattern hair loss because the area of loss is segregated within a fairly well defined zone of the scalp.
Pattern hair loss is believed to result from the conversion of Testosterone to a problematic hormone known as Di-Hydro-Testosterone (DHT) by an enzyme called 5-Alpha-Reductase (5AR). The DHT binds to specific points in the hair follicle known as Androgen Receptor Sites (ARS). One may think of this as an electrical plug going into an electrical wall outlet.
Unfortunately, when this attachment occurs in susceptible scalp hair follicles, it causes a negative change in the growth pattern of the hair. The follicle and accompanying structures begin a process of miniaturization, that is getting smaller. As a result, the hair in those follicles also shrinks in diameter and the hair growth cycle becomes shorter.
The result is smaller, thinner, virtually invisible hairs and a shrinking area of scalp coverage – a process which is called Male or Female pattern hair loss. This process occurs within a genetically pre-determined anatomical region of the scalp. The resultant clinical phenotype may thusly be described as pattern hair loss because the area of loss is segregated within a fairly well defined zone of the scalp.
Hair Loss and it’s Affect on Hair Style Options
Thinning hair typically reduces the styling options one may choose. When a person begins to suffer the affects of male or female pattern hair loss, one has fewer choices, shorter styles and less flattering hair cuts. Conversely, by using a hair loss treatment such as HairGenesis, which has been clinically demonstrated to correct pattern hair loss, one may regain a degree of hair style flexibility. This is because individual hair caliber correlates to overall hair density. In other words, as an analogy, if a person has ten thousand hairs that become twice as thick, it is essentially as good as having twenty thousand hairs.
Minoxidil does NOT generally work on Front - Receding Hair Line
According to the makers of Rogaine™, Minoxidil is formulated to work only on the area of the scalp that doctors call the VERTEX, the top middle (crown) portion of your scalp. Refer to the hairloss chart above.
According to their clinical studies, Minoxidil (as used in such products as Rogaine™, Avacor™, Follicare™, Hair Advantage™, Kirkland Minoxidil, Provillus™, ScalpMed™ and store brand Minoxidil) generally does NOT work effectively or at all on the Front Receding hair line area of the scalp or in the back area of the scalp.
More Reading on Pattern Hairloss, 5AR Enzyme and DHT
If you wish to develop a better understanding of the processes involved in Male Pattern Hairloss, we have provided a selection of relevant research data covering important elements of hair growth and the disorders associated with hair loss:
Hair Loss: Causes, Clinical Manifestations, And Available Treatments