Hair loss is a complex condition that is not attributable to one single cause. Frequently, hair loss develops as a result of a combination of genetic predispositions as well as environmental factors. In some instances, medical conditions or certain procedures and medications can also have an impact on the expression of hair loss. Current research suggests that whatever the underlying trigger, the final stage in expression of hair loss involves excessive production of the dihydrotestosterone (DHT) hormone(1-4). This is converted by an enzymatic reaction from the precursor hormone testosterone, which is present in both men and women at different levels(1-3).
DHT is considered a ‘waste’ hormone and can bind onto the hair follicle, disrupting the flow of nutrients to the hair root and essentially starving the hair. This causes the hair to die and fall out as a result.
In order to understand hair loss and what is considered normal, we must first understand the cycle of hair growth. Hair growth is cyclic and passes through three main stages: the growth stage, referred to as the ‘anagen phase’, a period of rest known as the ‘catagen phase’, and the final shedding stage, or ‘telogen phase’(1,5,6).
Each hair will grow for a period of between three to five years, then enter the transitional catagen phase for about two weeks before commencing the final telogen phase for a period of anywhere between three to six months(1,5-7). After the hair is shed and telogen phase concludes, new hair will soon begin growing in its place and the cycle renews.
At any time, approximately 75% to 85% of the total hair on the scalp will be in a period of growth and between 15% to 25% will be resting(1,6). Baldness occurs when no new hair grows in place of hair that has fallen out.
When you have hair loss in your genetic makeup, it is very common for your hair to experience a growth stage of literally several months instead of the typical 3 to 5 years. This way, your hair is reaching the “shedding stage” a lot quicker than usual.
All men and women shed hair daily – on average, most people shed between 70-100 hairs per day(5,6). This is considered to fall within a normal range. When hair loss occurs, more hair is being shed than regrown and hair density decreases.
Hair Loss in Men
While statistics differ across populations and ethnicities, studies show that around 25% of men will experience balding by the age of 30(8,9), while current statistics indicate that more than 80% of men will suffer male pattern baldness throughout their lifetime(4,9).
Men’s hair loss comes in all different types and forms, with the most common being a receding hairline, thinning crown, or bald spots. Male Pattern Baldness (also referred to as MBP or ‘androgenic alopecia’) is the most common form of hair loss to affect males and makes up over 90% of cases worldwide.
The genes thought to be responsible for hair loss may potentially be sex-linked, suggesting that it is a hereditary phenomenon particularly dominated by someone’s maternal line. Genetic predisposition alone is not always a guarantee that one will develop hair loss, and it is therefore important to consider other potential contributing factors that may be playing a role. Lifestyle factors can be diverse, and may include poor nutrition, exposure to harmful chemicals or radiation (such as in pesticides or water supply), certain medical conditions, trauma, stress, depression and/or hormonal abnormalities, to name a few. To read more about this, click here.
Hair Loss in Young Males
Based on our experience, the average age at which men present with hair loss has gradually been decreasing with time. Three decades ago, the average age at onset of hair loss ranged from mid-40s to 50s. Nowadays, we see more and more young men presenting with hair loss in their 20s and 30s. This may be reflective of our changing society and its effects on our living environments.
Hair Loss in Women
Statistically speaking, over 40% of women will experience some form of hair loss by the age of 60(10).
Although testosterone is present in minimal amounts in females, even slight changes to the established balance can result in excess DHT (dihydrotestosterone) production, which is thought to be the leading cause of hair loss.
Apart from genetic causes of hair loss, other major contributing factors in women may include changes to hormone levels, post-parturition and menopause, as well as lifestyle factors such as excessive use of hair dyes, straighteners, perms and hair products or a poor diet and/or stress levels, to name a few. To read more about this, click here.
Finding a Solution that Works
Whatever the cause of your hair loss may be, SRS Hair Clinic is here to help. Our microscopic hair analysis aims to ascertain the stage of hair loss that you are at, and combined with information about your lifestyle and genetic factors, we can find the best solution for your hair loss.
Read more about our microscopic hair analysis and how we can help here.
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2.Price VH. Androgenetic alopecia in women. 2003. Elsevier. p 24-27. https://ac.els-cdn.com/S0022202X15529369/
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4.Ellis JA, Stebbing M, Harrap SB. Polymorphism of the androgen receptor gene is associated with male pattern baldness. Journal of investigative dermatology 2001;116(3):452-455. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15411753
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9.Sinclair R. Male pattern androgenetic alopecia. Bmj 1998;317(7162):865-869. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK278957/
10.Whiting DA. Male pattern hair loss: current understanding. International journal of dermatology 1998;37(8):561-566. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1046/j.1365-4362.1998.00542.x