Hair Loss in Women and Men (Androgenetic Alopecia and Female Pattern Hair Loss)
Androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss in men. The condition is characterized by the progressive loss of hairs on the scalp in a characteristic distribution. The anterior scalp, mid scalp, frontal scalp, and the crown of the scalp are typical sites of involvement. “Male balding” and “male pattern hair loss” are additional terms used to refer to this condition.
The pattern of hair loss in women differs from male-pattern baldness. In women, the hair becomes thinner all over the head, and the hairline does not recede. Androgenetic alopecia in women rarely leads to total baldness.
Treatment of androgenetic alopecia and female pattern hair loss
- Minoxidil— Minoxidil promotes hair growth by lengthening the growth phase of hair follicles and causing more follicles to produce hair. The hairs that are produced tend to be larger and thicker. Minoxidil is available in a 2 and 5 percent liquid or 5 percent foam. The 5 percent solution is more effective in men and is probably more effective in women.
- Finasteride— Finasteride is a pill that decreases the production of one of the hormones associated with androgenetic alopecia, resulting in an increased amount of hair covering more of the scalp.
- Surgery — For some patients, surgical treatment of hair loss may be an option. Surgical options include hair transplantation, in which healthy follicles from other parts of the scalp are transplanted to areas affected by baldness.
- Laser comb — Combs that deliver a type of light called low-level laser light to the scalp may help to grow hair in some people with androgenetic alopecia. These combs are typically used approximately three times per week for several minutes.