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 factors that contribute to the onset of androgenetic alopecia in both men and women:
1. A genetic predisposition for balding.
2. Excessive presence of male hormones.
3. Aging – 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.
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 ultimately triggers the onset 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’s 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. This makes DHT induced androgenetic aloepcia the main cause of hair loss. In fact, it is responsible for 95% of all hair loss.
Treating the Main Cause of Hair Loss
Consequently, 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). However, although there are many natural DHT blockers and a number of drugs that can counter-act the main cause of hair loss, their effect is at best temporary and requires continuous usage.