Many people experiencing symptoms of hair loss feel self-conscious about their lack of hair, but having too much hair, particularly on certain areas of the body, can also be a source of embarrassment.
Women often take great pains to remove body hair. The excessive growth of facial hair in less enlightened times used to be enough to earn a woman a place as a fairground attraction, as an infamous Bearded Lady, so the lack of women willing to grow their body hair is unsurprising. Men, on the other hand, may feel that they have either too little or too much body hair, depending upon their aesthetic preference – for instance, patchy facial hair or hair growth on the back or shoulders is sometimes considered to be unsightly.
Although body, facial, and scalp hair are all produced by the same organ – the skin – there are some interesting differences in how they are affected by the various biological mechanisms that impact hair growth.
Testosterone – an agent of growth and loss
Androgenic Alopecia is one of the most common causes of baldness in both sexes, but proportionally it affects far more men than women. The condition is believed to be the result of elevated concentrations of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the bloodstream.
DHT is produced by the action of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase on the hormone testosterone. Both DHT and testosterone are potent androgens; elevated concentrations of both are responsible for the development of secondary sexual features associated with men – such as beards and body hair. So, somewhat contrary to what you might expect, elevated DHT levels boost the growth and coverage of body hair, whilst also reducing the growth of hair on the head! No-one is entirely sure why this is, although it is believed to convey a kind of social message, given the fact that androgen reception differs between men and women.
Despite the different reactions that bodily and cranial hairs have to Androgenic Alopecia, other conditions can affect all regions of the body in more or less the same way. Skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema can cause hair thinning everywhere on the body until they are treated, whereas burns and ringworm can cause permanent hair loss. Autoimmune disorders like Alopecia Areata and Alopecia Universalis can also affect hair follicles in skin across the entire body – with Alopecia Areata being known as Alopecia Areata Barbae when it causes a loss of beard hair. Stress and genetics are both risk factors for these three conditions, but the ultimate cause is unknown. However, in our experience, catching these autoimmune conditions early on is the best way to increase the chances of successful treatment.
Here’s what we can do
Although bodily hair loss is beyond our ability to treat at The Belgravia Centre, and will require a visit to your GP, our bespoke treatments plans are perfectly designed to get you the best results for regrowing thinning hair on the head. To find out more or to book a no-obligation appointment, call The Belgravia Centre on 0800 077 6666, or send us a message online. Alternatively, you can fill in an online diagnostic form to begin a course of treatment from anywhere in the world.