Pattern hair loss – What is it and what causes it?
Pattern hair loss is believed to be due to a combination of genetics and hormones. In men, the hormone to blame is called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
No need to be old, unhealthy, no need to sniff toxic agents or go to chemotherapy, no need to have a ponytail or excessively itchy skin condition… even after all the health and youth – BAM, hair loss.
Pattern hair loss can affect anyone male, female or otherwise. However, it is rampant in males in contrast with other genders. While it is known how it works in men, the causes are yet to be understood in the case of women.
And so that makes even more room for us to focus this article, keeping it simple and tackling only the male perspective of this illness, but ladies do take notes nonetheless.
First you need to know the main two players, both called Androgens. Androgens are a group of hormones that play a role in developing male traits. We will talk about two types, one is called testosterone and the other one’s a tongue breaker – dihydrotestosterone.
- Testosterone is a hormone which constructs how your male body should behave, think, response and be like. Testosterone makes you a man!
- Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is made by an enzyme called 5α-reductase which uses testosterone to make it. One dihydrotestosterone is 5 times more potent than a testosterone and functions as the same.
Well, if you thought it was all easy so far, now comes the part where it’s gonna be a bit tricky.
There is a third thing to know here called follicles.
Now what are these little critters? A follicle is where hair grows from. All hair follicles have androgen receptors, as in, the androgens mentioned above bind to them.
Now the thing is that the follicles on your head are way too different from the follicles of your face and body.
You see the more DHT your face and body follicles bind with, the more you grow your beard, mustache, chest jungle, pubes and leg fly traps.
However, the same DHT that helps you become a man on your face and body, when reacts with the follicles of your head then they work the same way as pesticides do on a fertile ground. They make it barren over time.
Why does this happen? Well, the follicles on your head are sensitive to DHT. However, not everyone’s follicles are overly sensitive to DHT as it depends on an individual’s genes. It could be less or more sensitive, if it is more, then after a couple of years the DHT affected follicles start to die out and become barren. This process is called ‘Miniaturization’.
So if you’re followed carefully, you must have realized that to reduce or stop hair loss, we must block this DHT guy. The first treatment option in our list is going to do exactly that.
And with that we are done with the “What causes it” bit and ready for the “How to cure it” bit.
Phew…that WAS long, we know, but nonetheless necessary. If you’ve skipped it we highly recommend going back and reading it. And don’t worry, we’ve kept the jargon to a minimum.