Genetic hair loss is most commonly referred to as male or female pattern hair loss, although it does go by several other names as well. These include female pattern alopecia and male pattern baldness.
Whatever name it goes under, pattern baldness in both men and women is a genetic condition and the most common cause of hair loss in the UK. Those who suffer from it are pre-disposed to hair loss from birth, as affected hair follicles are genetically programmed to convert the hormone testosterone into the more potent androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This conversion is undertaken by an enzyme, known as 5-alpha reductase, found in the hair follicles.
Once DHT is produced, it inhibits the growth of new hair cells in the genetically pre-disposed areas, leading to baldness. In men, genetic hair loss either focuses around the crown of the head, or causes a receding hairline, with sufferers usually retaining hair at the sides and back of the head. Female pattern hair loss does not usually result in bald patches; instead it causes a ‘diffused thinning’ of the hair, most noticeably across the crown of the head.
However, it’s worth noting that although pattern baldness in either sex is a genetic condition, it is thought it can be affected by external factors which trigger the pre-programmed conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone.
For women, these factors are often ones which cause hormonal changes in the body, such as pregnancy, and the beginning or finishing of a course of birth control pills. Changes such as these can cause hair loss, often temporary, in pretty much any woman; however, for those who are genetically pre-disposed to female pattern hair loss, it is possible to find that the hormonal changes brought about in these circumstances will spark the condition, which can be permanent if not treated.
Trichologists suggest the acid test comes around the six months after a major change in hormonal levels occurs, e.g. giving birth. Post-pregnancy, many women shed their hair at a higher rate than normal as the body returns to pre-pregnancy hormone levels. This can take around six months. If after this time the excessive shedding continues, professional advice should be sought as female pattern hair loss may be occurring, potentially triggered and then masked by the hormonal imbalances.
Environmental factors may also affect both sexes, and although they are not the root cause of pattern baldness, which is purely genetic, they can cause the condition to manifest itself. These environmental factors include; stress in the work place, a sudden shock or severe emotional distress, or any number of lifestyle choices.
Luckily, as well as being one of the most common hair loss conditions, genetic hair loss is also one of the most treatable. The Belgravia Centre has an exceptionally high success rate in helping men and women regain their hair through a combined treatment course which is tailored to suit each and every client.
At the heart of these courses are two medications licensed by the MHRA for the treatment of genetic hair loss. These are Propecia, which is suitable for male hair loss only, and Minoxidil, which is licensed for use by both men and women. Furthermore, both products are also approved by the FDA, the MHRA’s US counterpart. Propecia works to inhibit the formulation of DHT in the genetically pre-disposed hair follicles of affected men. Minoxidil encourages the flow of essential nutrients, especially potassium, to the hair follicles affected by genetic hair loss. Used in combination, these medications are extremely successful in treating pattern baldness.
Belgravia’s trichologists find the proven treatments are most successful when formulated at the correct dose for the individual, and combined with one or more of Belgravia’s hair booster treatments, offered to all our clients as part of their personalised treatment plan. Although these products will not help hair re-grow on their own, as part of a comprehensive treatment programme, they help ensure hair grows back quicker, faster and healthier.
We include a LaserComb free with most genetic hair loss treatment programmes, which helps stimulate growth via a low-level laser beam. Other boosters include the Belgravia Clinic’s daily supplement Hair Vitalics and a series of shampoos and conditioners specially designed by our pharmacy to help men and women suffering from pattern hair loss. We also take before, during, and after scans of your scalp throughout treatment so you can see the progress as your hair returns. You can se hundreds of these hair growth photos by viewing our Hair Loss Success Stories pages.
Whether the trigger for your hair loss was hormonal, external factors at work or play, or came completely out of the blue, if the root cause is genetic, then you are suffering from pattern baldness. Just because you inherited this condition, doesn’t mean you have to live with it, so if you’re worried about genetic hair loss, contact the Belgravia Centre today for a consultation or complete an online diagnosis form.