or hair loss can be of various types such as telogen effluvium, androgenic
alopecia (male pattern baldness [MPB]; female pattern hair loss [FPHL]) and
Androgenic alopecia (AGA) is more
pronounced in males; it affects nearly 70 percent and 40 percent women in
varying degrees. This kind of alopecia manifests itself in males as balding in
the crown region of the head and hairline recession, and in females as diffuse
thinning over the top of the scalp. Women having excessive androgen activity
can develop more pronounced male -like pattern of hair loss.
The susceptibility to AGA is
mainly influenced by genetics and to a minor extent by the environmental
factors. AGA is induced by the activation of 'androgen receptors in hair
follicles by dihydrotestosterone (DHT).'
The hair follicles on the
occipital region (the area at the lower back of the head) have less androgen
receptors and therefore this region is not affected by dihydrotestosterone. The
hair loss is mainly confined to front, sides and the top of the head.
McElwee and colleagues discussed promising therapies for treating and/or
preventing androgenic alopecia in an article published in Skin Therapy Letter
researchers stated, "In women, serum ferritin levels may also be assessed to
determine iron deficiency, thyrotropin levels may be evaluated to rule out
thyroid dysfunction, and free testosterone is assessed when androgen excess is
suspected. If serum ferritin is low, iron supplementation has been recommended
as an enabler of response to other treatments."
alopecia is currently treated with finasteride and minoxidil while hair
transplantation is the surgical option.
current therapies and therapies under investigation for androgenic alopecia are
is used as 2 percent or 5 percent solution for treating hair loss. Adverse
effects are transient shedding of hair in the first four months of treatment
and contact dermatitis. Commercially, minoxidil is available in combination
with ingredients such as tretinoin.
decreases the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, and improves
hair thickness and hair count. Finasteride can affect the development of male
embryos and is not recommended in women.
is currently used for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia and recent
researches have shown its efficacy in promoting hair growth. It has similar
adverse effects to finasteride. According to the researchers, "The efficacy of
dutasteride 2.5 mg/day was superior to that of finasteride 5 mg/day."
and latanoprost are used for treating glaucoma and ocular hypertension.
Bimatoprost can help in the growth of eyelashes. Latanoprost can enhance
pigmentation. These drugs are under investigation for the treatment of
is an anti-fungal agent used to treat dandruff and dermatitis. Ketoconazole
improves the microflora of the scalp. It is also an anti-androgen agent and
enhances the hair growth, and is extensively used in shampoos.
in combination with estrogens are used for the treatment of hair loss in FPHL.
Anti-androgens such as spironolactone and cyproterone acetate are available in
are the indirect anti-androgens and are sometimes used for treating androgenic
treatment is extensively used for the treatment of hair loss in recent years.
Laser treatments are available in cosmetic and dermatological clinics. Lasers
of varying wavelength and of different modes are used for the purpose.
transplantation is the permanent cure for androgenic alopecia. Follicular unit
transplantation (FUT) is the commonly available in dermatological clinics. The
researchers note, "More recently, specialized techniques have been developed
involving individual hair follicle and unit extraction (FUE) to avoid scarring
from strip graft harvesting."
treatment for androgenic alopecia is the area of focus of many manufacturing
companies and research groups. The main approaches are:
of cell-secreted factors as hair growth promoting products
injection of cultured cells
3.Platelets-rich plasma isolated
from whole blood. This treatment is becoming popular and is also seen as a
standalone cure for androgenic alopecia.
variety of consumer products are available in the market with vitamin, herbal and
mineral components. They claim to promote growth of hair. Some common herbs
used for the purpose are black cohosh (Actaea racemosa), dong quai (Angelica
sinensis), palmetto (Serenoa repens), false unicorn (Chamaelirium luteum), red
clover (Trifolium pratense) and chaste berry (Vitex agnuscastus). They are
known to possess estrogen-promoting or androgenic properties.
authors also note, "Other products may contain biotin, caffeine, melatonin,
copper complexes, and various proprietary compounds with diverse purported
modes of action."
it can be said that an array of treatment options are available for curing
androgenic alopecia but minoxidil and finasteride are the best currently
available drug choices. The other newer therapeutic approaches are under
Promising Therapies for Treating and/or
Preventing Androgenic Alopecia; Kevin McElwee et al; Skin Therapy Letter 2012