The most common cause of hair loss, especially in men, is androgenetic, or male pattern baldness. Mid-teens or puberty starts the ‘balding’ process for individuals whose genetics predispose them to baldness.
The normal production of hair by the follicle is altered by the pubertal increase in testosterone production resulting in an increased production of DiHydroTestosterone. Hair strands become thinner, grow slower and fall out at shorter lengths with each cycle until eventually the follicle stops production altogether. The case becomes severe when the follicle is lost permanently and hair production literally comes to a halt.
In an attempt to obtain a normal looking head of hair or to slow hair loss, American male population alone reportedly spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually on lotions and potions, tonics and aerosol spray cover-ups, toupees, and hair-plug transplantation. And then there are the more sensitive procedures like hair transplant and scalp surgery. The great lengths of search for baldness cure goes on. As such, the U.S. economy generates something close to $1 billion annually in revenue generated by the treatment of baldness.
Indeed, the great hair cure has been sought for centuries, however, until recently men has come to their senses that when they age between 18 and 80 they loose their hair at a rate closely related with their age. This is no hair fluke, so to speak. Research revealed that 12% to 80% of men ranging in ages from 18 to 80 experience cosmetically moderate to significant hair loss from the front to rear crown area of their head. Of the respondents, younger men where in early stages of hair loss, while older men were completely bald over the entire crown area of their heads. In this regard, “It comes with age” appears to be a qualified statement.
And so, over the last 40 years, medical doctors have sequentially stumbled upon several hair loss cures and treatments loss.
Exotic topical creams and liquids in the form of lotions and potions, even shampoos and conditioners with ‘natural ingredient’ claims may simply regenerate hair growth.
Aerosol hair spray cover-ups are merely colored powders or fibers that simply color the scalp and thicken thinning hair. The appearance of an almost natural thick-looking hair is temporary and deceiving. Its name actually says it all cover-up!
Several highly publicized alternatives offer real potential promise. One potent alternative is a topical drug called Minoxidil which has been proclaimed to somewhat slow hair loss and in very few cases, to stimulate hair regeneration, albeit limited. Very recently the brand Rogaine — a topical alcohol mixture consisting Minoxidil is demonstrating relative effectiveness. Sufficient scalp penetration is advised to achieve best results.
The latest hair loss product is generically called Finasteride, an antiandrogen that inhibits the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. It is being branded in the market as PROPECIA and PROCAR. The pill taken orally/once a day claims that it can regenerate hair growth on bald or balding areas of the scalp.
Another alternative discovery that is slowly gaining popularity is rather procedural and involves meticulous process. The technique uses surgical scalp transplants to redistribute remaining hair on the scalp to balding or completely bald areas of the scalp. But the procedure, however credible, is not easily accessible to majority of the balding population because of its high cost and maintenance.
With the still growing concern for hair loss, a more realistic and easier to achieve method now runs on prevention rather than cure. This observation is regarded as more practical approach since most cases of progressive baldness can be identified at an early stage.