Male pattern hair loss has been established as androgen-dependent because it is associated with changes in the androgen receptor and responds to antiandrogen therapy (Ellis et al., 2002). With FPHL, genes that encode aromatase, which converts testosterone to estradiol, are also implicated (Yazdabadi et al., 2008, Yip et al., 2009). The process of androgen biosynthesis is depicted in Figure 1.
Additionally, two other considerations are important for a patient who receives treatment for FPHL. First, there is a set of reasonable expectations in patients. Maintaining the current hair density can be considered a successful treatment because women tend to have further thinning as they age (Harfmann and Bechtel, 2015). Second, it is important to ensure that patients understand that progress is slow, and months or years can be required to see a significant improvement (Boersma et al., 2014, Yeon et al., 2011). In our practice, we wait at least 6 months to assess treatment efficacy.
Madarosis of non-scarring type is commonly seen in alopecia areata which is a hair-specific autoimmune disease associated with patchy loss of hair. It presents as round or oval patches of non-scarring hair loss. Madarosis occurs as isolated involvement [Figure 2] or as a part of alopecia universalis. When alopecia areata involves the eyelashes exclusively, there is rarely involvement of other parts of the body. Alopecia areata can involve both the eyelids without scalp involvement also. Short exclamation mark hairs are pathognomonic for alopecia areata.
Changing the shape, thickness and length of the eyebrow is a commonly practiced beauty technique. Some people even remove the eyebrow entirely only to replace it with a pencil-drawn mark (eyebrow pencil). As with any part of the body, repeated irritation can eventually lead to hair loss. Sometimes this is due to manual trauma, chemicals from cosmetics or even infections that arise when breaks in the skin occur. While eyebrow modification will not stop as a commonly practised beauty technique, it should at least be minimized.
This plant is native to North America and has been used for centuries by indigenous people to treat menstrual and menopausal disorders. While modern research results are mixed, some studies do indicate that black cohosh can be effective as a treatment in menopause. While the research focuses on hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause that get more attention than hair loss, it follows that black cohosh could also help to improve hair growth when estrogen levels decline.
Blow dryers, flat irons, and other devices: Frequent use of a blow dryer tends to damage hair. The high heat from a blow dryer can boil the water in the hair shaft leaving the hair brittle and prone to breakage. Dermatologists recommend that you allow your hair to air dry. Then style your hair when it is dry. Dermatologists also recommend limiting the use of flat irons (these straighten hair by using high heat) and curling irons.
Over Plucking: I know the temptation of tweezing your eyebrows when you don’t want to endure the pain of threading. But when you pluck your eyebrow hair, you’re pulling it out from the follicle and essentially damaging it. And repeatedly plucking your hair eyebrow hair can permanently damage your follicles over time and prevent them from producing new hair.
The hormonal process of testosterone converting to DHT, which then harms hair follicles, happens in both men and women. Under normal conditions, women have a minute fraction of the level of testosterone that men have, but even a lower level can cause DHT- triggered hair loss in women. And certainly when those levels rise, DHT is even more of a problem. Those levels can rise and still be within what doctors consider "normal" on a blood test, even though they are high enough to cause a problem. The levels may not rise at all and still be a problem if you have the kind of body chemistry that is overly sensitive to even its regular levels of chemicals, including hormones.
The real culprit appears to be dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a more potent form of testosterone. DHT is made from testosterone by a specific enzyme in the body, and while both testosterone and DHT are known to have a weakening effect on hair follicles, there appears to be something unique about the conversion process of testosterone to DHT that relates to thinning hair. This is why some drugs that are marketed for hair loss block the conversion of testosterone to DHT. (It’s important to note, however, that these drugs tend to be less effective in women than men, and that one of them—finasteride—is only approved for hormonal hair loss in men, not women. What’s more, the drug has been associated with increased risk of sexual side effects, depression, nausea, hot flashes, and increased estrogen levels—and too much estrogen is its own risk factor for thinning hair; more on that below.)
Male pattern baldness is connected to the male sex hormone androgen. So naturally, reducing your stress levels will also reduce the risk of suffering from the different symptoms that stress cause. You can reduce stress by practicing mindfulness and yoga. You can also cut down on work and make sure to get enough sleep. Minimize your exposure to negative people or experiences. Spending time in nature and exercising also contribute greatly to your mental health.
The complex actions of genetics, DHT, shifting of hormone ratios and age-related volume loss can commonly occur in women in their 40’s and 50’s. However, just like in men, genetic hair loss can appear at all ages after puberty. In fact, hair loss occurs with relatively high frequency even in women in their 20’s and 30’s. The majority of women with female pattern hair loss initially develop diffuse thinning over the front and top of the scalp, while maintaining the frontal hairline. This thinning may present with a widening through the central part line while others may present initially with either episodic or continuous hair shedding, prior to any noticeable decrease in hair volume. In addition, thinning may also be seen throughout the scalp, including the temple areas as well as the back and sides.
Monitor any hair loss when starting new medications. Numerous medications can cause temporary or permanent hair loss, including chemotherapy, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers. Nonetheless, many other medications can cause hair loss in isolated cases. If you've noticed hair loss after starting a new medication, talk to your doctor about this side effect.