The hereditary form of alopecia is called androgenetic alopecia. Its a result of the male hormone dihydrotestosterone DHT being present. DHT attacks the hair follicles by blocking the androgen receptors from reaching the hair bulb via the dermal papilla; the blood supply to the hair. Hair receives nutrients from the blood supply. Without nutrients the hair begins to starve, in a sense. When DHT is allowed to stifle life-bearing nutrients to the hair the result is miniaturization of effected follicles, resulting in thinner, less viable hair. If untreated, scarring can occur. Once scarring is present the follicle is considered apoptotic, or damaged to the point of no longer being able to produce hair.
The body's response to lack of nourishment to the follicle is to call upon the sebaceous gland for help. The sebaceous gland is located closer to the surface of the scalp. It helps regulate the mantle (outer layer of skin that protects it from outside elements such as bacteria.) The sebaceous gland secretes sebum which lubricates the skin, however; when DHT is present, the sebaceous gland overcompensates for the lack of nutrients to the follicle. This results in a build-up of sebum on the surface of the scalp, as well as in each follicle opening. This build-up exacerbates the hair loss by preventing the hair to grow from the scalp. Sebum build-up can even cause ingrown hairs to be present under the surface of the scalp which are only visible under a microscope.
Our first course of action in combatting androgenetic alopecia is to perform a thorough analysis of scalp conditions. If DHT is the culprit of hair loss, the follicle will show tell-tell signs of such. A scalp analysis consists of microscopic and digital imaging to view current conditions and a family history questionnaire is completed by the client so their technician can accurately assess all possible causes of hair loss. On occasion, medical attention will be necessary and, depending on what conditions are present on the scalp, the technician is knowledgable in referring the client to the adequate medical professional who is best suited to address the hair loss in the quickest methods possible.
If you have noticed the density of your hair getting thinner around your part-line, shortened hairs at temporal areas and/or excessive shedding, you may be experiencing androgenetic alopecia or several other forms of alopecia. Please don't hesitate in taking action! Certain forms of alopecia can be very fast moving, even with medical treatment. Schedule a scalp analysis to determine what is causing your hair loss. Hair loss is like any other medical condition; prevention is key!!