It is still not fully understood what causes hair loss, however in the past few years we’ve made incredible steps in identifying the major factors.
DHT Androgens: DHT is a naturally occurring hormone, which assists with sexual development during your fetal days, and during puberty. DHT actually existed in the body even while we had full heads of hair. The problem arises when genetic switches cause changes in the follicles and men’s overall biology.
In follicles, there exists DHT and structures called “Androgen Receptors”. In healthy hair follicles, these two substances combine to carry out normal processes and regulate normal hair growth. DHT is created as a result of another combination of Testosterone and something called 5-alpha-reductase. In summary, we have two combinations going on in the normal, non-balding man:
- Testosterone and 5-alpha-reductase Enzyme combine to form DHT.
- DHT and Androgen Receptors combine to carry out the creation of normal proteins in follicles, which regulate the health, growth, and resting cycles of a follicle.
As men start to age, these two processes change. After puberty, Testosterone typically increases in the overall blood supply of most males. Consequently, the binding of Testosterone and 5-Alpha increases, causing more DHT to be produced (1). This of course results in an increase in binding between DHT and the Androgen Receptors (2). The increased binding then causes an imbalance in the biology and processes of the follicle. Overabundance of this activity directly affects the growth regulating that goes on in the follicle, which results in slower and less healthy growth each time the hair grows, rests, and regrows again. When DHT and the Androgen receptors were in normal abundance, binding at normal rates, hair growth regulation was also normal. Hair grew and fell as it should have. The overabundance however, throws the whole process off kilter.
The degradation process of the follicle is typically very slow, and takes many years, but the result is very apparent on the scalp to the hair loss sufferer. As hair continues through its growth and resting phases, each time a new hair grows from a DHT swamped follicle, it comes back thinner and shorter than it did the last time. Over several years, its growth degrades so much that it can no longer be seen. Thus is Androgenetic Alopecia – aka Male Pattern Baldness.
In order to stop hair loss in any way, you must be able to in some fashion alter the processes identified above, or usurp them by stimulating growth *despite* the effects of DHT. Treatments claiming to “wash” dirt out, increase circulation, or reduce sebum are quite simply, hogwash. Treatments that counter DHT / Androgen Receptor activity: DHT Inhibitors, SOD’s, Growth Stimulants Antiandrogens. We give examples of each of these in the next few steps.
Inflammation: The process described above initiates what is called an autoimmune response. To put it in layman’s terms, follicles experiencing the above process are suddenly considered foreign objects in the body, and the degradation is a direct result of the body rejecting them from the system. This is really what Male Pattern Baldness is all about.
One of the biggest telltale signs of the autoimmune response is tingling, itching, redness, and inflammation of the scalp. Not all men losing hair experience this, but a vast majority do. Inflammation is considered one of the other major factors which exacerbate the hair loss process. This is why in addition to DHT inhibitors, SOD’s, and Growth Stimulants, it is imperative that you include an approved scalp conditioner which actively eliminates the itching, inflammation, and flaking. The absolute best product for this on the market today is Nizoral shampoo. It should be included in ANY hair loss treatment regimen, and as a shampoo, it is easy to use.
You now know the causes of hair loss in Androgenetic Alopecia (MPB). You may also have noticed mention of treatments. Your next step is to evaluate the type of hair loss you have, and then the appropriate treatment for it. As you see above, there are only 5 types of treatments which truly work: DHT Inhibitors, Growth Stimulants, SOD’s, Anti-inflammatory’s, and Antiandrogens.