Question: I am losing hair from my body as well as my head – my scalp hair has been thinning for a while then I started to see a couple of bald patches on top. Now I notice less hair on my arms and chest too. Male Pattern Baldness runs in my family but I don’t think anyone of them has experienced body hair loss, just their heads. Does it cause body hair loss too sometimes? Can you give me advice for treatments?
Answer: Hi, Basil. We would need to assess your scalp and take a few more details in order to provide you with a confirmed diagnosis. However, we can give you the following generalised advice regarding your query.
From what you say, it is possible you may have two separate hair loss conditions.
You mention you have had on-going hair thinning for a while and this is a key sign of the hereditary condition Male Pattern Baldness, which you have already advised runs in your family. This causes thinning hair to the top of the scalp only, from the hairline to your crown, and can also present as a receding hairline. It is not known to affect body hair, nor other areas of the scalp.
Secondly, you note bald patches developing on your scalp plus further hair loss from your body. These symptoms suggest autoimmune-related shedding from a form of Alopecia Areata. This is a condition whereby the body mistakenly attacks its own hair follicles, which can be temporary or permanent, but its duration is currently impossible to predict.
The Alopecia Areata phenotype which is known to cause shedding of body hair is Alopecia Universalis. This tends to cause total baldness from head to toe, so it is extremely important you see a professional trichologist to get an accurate diagnosis, given you do not mention your scalp or body hair falling out completely.
Male Pattern Baldness is a genetic condition where hair loss appears gradually as the result of a biological sensitivity to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), whereas Alopecia Areata – and Alopecia Universalis – are autoimmune disorders which come on suddenly.
Both Male Pattern Hair Loss and Alopecia Areata can present simultaneously, and whilst Belgravia offers hairloss solutions for the former, we cannot treat Alopecia Areata when it affects the body. This generally requires hospital-based therapies, such as steroid injections or immunotherapy, and your doctor should be able to refer you.
With regards the genetic thinning, there are two clinically-proven, MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved male pattern hair loss treatments available – one oral and one topical. These can be used individually or, as our hair loss specialists advise, together, and additional hair growth supporting products can be used alongside this pharmaceutical approach.
However, should you be diagnosed with Alopecia Universalis, it is unlikely to be worthwhile using hairloss treatment for Male Pattern Baldness as the area of your scalp affected by the genetic condition may become hairless as a result of this condition. This is not something we can diagnose or predict without a thorough consultation.
There are other causes of body hair loss which should also be considered; for example, body hair – specifically leg hair – is known to get thinner with age, and thyroid problems have been shown to lead to hairloss from the body as well as the scalp.
Hair growth can also be negatively impacted by certain skin conditions and as a side effect of some medications, too.
To determine if hair loss treatment is appropriate in your case, and – if so – the optimal selection of hair loss products for your specific condition(s), we reiterate the need for a professional consultation, ideally in-person if possible.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.