Male Pattern Baldness and DHT

Male pattern baldness, formally known as androgenic alopecia, is term used to describe the primary type of hair loss in males. Male pattern baldness may begin to develop in men 20 years of age or younger. On average however, nearly 80 percent of men over 70 years of age will be affected by androgenic alopecia.


The question on many men’s mind when they begin to notice thinning or baldness is,
“Why?” Male pattern baldness is related to levels of free testosterone throughout the body as well as a testosterone derivative known as dihydrotestosterone, or, DHT. DHT is a type of androgen, a male sex hormone. It is partly responsible for the development of male characteristics, such as the development of the sex organs, deep voice, and muscle mass present in males. Testosterone converts to dihydrotesterone by way of an enzyme known as 5-AR. After converted, DHT binds more aggressively to receptors that testerone will bind to, however, DHT will remain bound for longer than testosterone.

Hair loss tends to occur when the hair follicles slowly shrink. As the follicles reduce, the shaft of the hair narrows until it becomes what is known as a “vellus” hair. Vellus hairs are soft, narrow hairs that will be present on infants. Typically, after puberty these type of hairs will disappear.

Hair on top of the head begins its initial growing stages in the absence of DHT. It is believed that the increase in DHT production during adolescence is what causes puberty to occur. Body hair and facial hair is often developed due to the presence of androgens, such as DHT, and therefore, growth of body hair will not be inhibited by its presence.

Some scientist believe the decrease in follicle size over time is due to production of DHT. DHT may bind to androgen receptors within the scalp and follicle. The DHT is thought to decrease the size of the follicle after binding, though the mechanism is still unknown.


There are hair treatment medications available that are designed to decrease the formation of DHT, thus, decreasing the rate of hair loss. Although, these medications cannot reverse the effects of male pattern baldness. There are surgical options, where hair follicles from the back and sides of the head, generally uninhibited by the presence of DHT, are transferred to the balding regions of the scalp. Once these follicles are in place, they may begin the growing as usual. This solution is generally perceived to have the best results, although, it can be expensive.

In certain cases, hair loss may actually occur as the result of another medication. If you have experienced hair loss due to a pharmaceutical you were prescribed, contact a medical malpractice attorney. If permanent hair loss was a side effect not listed, you may be entitled to compensation that could cover hair treatment expenses.



Wikipedia, Hair Treatment

Dr. Robin Unger, MD, Hair Loss Doctor NYC

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