Androgenetic alopecia (male and female pattern hair loss)

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Androgenetic Alopecia affects up to 50% of men and women. However, some people may not be familiar with the diagnosis, causes, and available treatment options.

What Is Androgenetic Alopecia?

Androgenetic alopecia is a hair loss condition in men and women that gradually worsens. It’s a genetic condition inherited from both maternal and paternal sides. The primary symptoms are hair loss, thinning, or balding on the scalp.

Androgenetic alopecia in women, or female pattern hair loss, usually starts with hair thinning at the crown of the head. Women may begin noticing that the hairline at the top of their heads is becoming wider. Most women notice this thinning during their 40s or 50s and typically don’t see significant changes to their frontal hairline. However, the thinning may slowly spread to all areas of the scalp.

Male pattern hair loss presents differently and can start earlier, around their 20s or 30s. Most men notice a slowly receding frontal hairline or a growing bald spot on the crown. Thinning may begin around the temple areas, and the hairline may develop an “M” shape. Eventually, the frontal hairline moves further up the scalp. In other men, a bald spot grows to encompass most or the entire top of the head. The exact pattern and severity of hair loss vary.

Androgenetic alopecia is not the same as temporary hair loss (telogen effluvium). Stress, various diseases and disorders, certain medications like blood thinners, and medical treatments like chemotherapy can cause temporary hair loss. However, hair growth returns to normal after these medications and treatments in most of these cases. A dermatologist can accurately diagnose between temporary hair loss diagnosis and androgenetic alopecia with a physical exam and medical history questions.

What Causes Androgenetic Alopecia?

People with androgenetic alopecia have higher levels of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an active male sex hormone (androgen) formed from testosterone. DHT shrinks hair follicles, limiting the ability to grow new hairs. Eventually, this prevents the body from being able to replace lost hair. 

Androgenetic Alopecia is not a male-specific diagnosis as both men and women have testosterone, just at different levels. Therefore, an excess response to higher levels of DHT can lead to this hair loss disorder in men and women.

How Is Androgenetic Alopecia Diagnosed?

Dermatologists diagnose androgenetic alopecia by conducting a physical exam while taking a thorough family and medical history. Typical questions may include:

  • When did you start noticing the hair loss?
  • Does anyone in your family have hair loss?
  • Did the hair loss happen suddenly or gradually?
  • Are you currently taking any medications or supplements?

Dermatologists may order blood tests or biopsies to rule out temporary hair loss diagnoses. They may also use a noninvasive method of imaging the scalp and hair known as trichoscopy to help confirm a diagnosis.

Are There Available Treatments for Androgenetic Alopecia?

Dermatology Circle offers many safe and painless treatment options for androgenetic alopecia. Medications and in-office procedures can limit hair loss, boost hair health, and encourage new growth.

Androgenetic Alopecia Treatments at Dermatology Circle

Dermatology Circle serves all ages, adults, and kids, focusing on patient comfort, convenience, and satisfaction. After all, skin care is “person care,” and each person with androgenetic alopecia is unique. 



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