Androgenic alopecia a.k.a. androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss among men and women. The only difference lies in the pattern of hair loss. The condition is called male pattern baldness in the case of men, and female pattern baldness in the case of women. This is androgenic alopecia definition in a nutshell.

Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss

In men, androgenic alopecia causes hair loss in a well-defined pattern. The process starts above both the temples. Gradually the hairline recedes to form a characteristic “M” shape. Hair loss is also witnessed at the crown (near the head top), often resulting in either partial or complete baldness.

In the case of hair loss in women hair becomes thinner all over the head. However, the hairline does not recede. Total baldness caused by the disease among women is rare.

Causes of Male Androgenic Alopecia?

Androgen can be called the root cause of male androgenic alopecia. It is a generic term referring to any natural or synthetic compound (usually a steroid hormone) stimulating or controlling the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics in vertebrates by binding to androgen receptors. The latter is an intracellular steroid receptor specifically binding the two types of androgens – testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

This receptor binding allows the androgens to stimulate and regulate the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics in vertebrates. Male androgenic alopecia is caused by androgenetic function and androgen receptors are at the centre of androgenetic functions.

Genetic Factors in Androgenic Alopecia

Androgenic alopecia is influenced by genetic factors. People with a strong predisposition to the disease start balding in their teens. Those with a weak predisposition may start balding in their 60s or 70s.

Less than 15 per cent of men have little or no baldness by the age of 70. As per research, several genes that one inherits from both of his parents play a role in this disease. Paternal hair loss reportedly correlates with alopecia possibility in sons. On the other hand, androgen receptors (AR) – that can correlate with baldness – are X chromosome linked.