In this section we explore the complex topic of genetic hair loss (androgenetic alopecia). We will examine its causes, classification, diagnosis, and treatment for both men and women. If you have questions or concerns about your hair loss, this information will help, but it is best to be examined by a board certified physician to diagnose the cause before considering treatment. Submit the Consultations form to get started. We also offer a photo consultation service for those who cannot visit our facility in NYC.
Male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) is determined by three interdependent factors: genes, hormones, and age.
The genes for androgenetic alopecia can be inherited from either the mother’s or father’s side of the family. It is caused by the effects of androgens on susceptible hair follicles. Most men will experience some degree of balding as they age, with more than half displaying signs of genetic baldness by the time they’re in their 50s. View this chart to see how the incidence of male pattern baldness increases with a person’s age.
Androgenetic alopecia affects about 30% of women in their lifetime. Because it tends to present as diffuse thinning over the entire scalp, and because women generally do not lose their frontal hairline (as men do), the thinning may not be as noticeable, particularly in its early stages. Women generally lose hair gradually, with the rate accelerating during pregnancy and at menopause.
Women’s hair loss can also show seasonal variations and is more easily affected by hormonal changes, medical conditions, and external factors compared to balding in men.
Facts, Myths & More
In this section, Dr. Bernstein dispels the top ten hair loss myths and answers frequently asked questions. Also, read about the functions of hair and how it evolved, the anatomy of hair and hair follicles, and the three phases of hair growth (anagen, catagen, and telogen). Find a glossary of medical terms, discussion on the psychology of balding, and a page showing off the fun side of hair. Further explore the topic in the Facts, Myths & More section.
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By: Dr. Robert M. Bernstein
Updated: 2016-11-21 | Published: 2009-07-15