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Hair Loss

Hair Loss
Causes of Hair Loss
Treatments for Hair Loss

Hair Loss

      Hair Loss (alopecia) is the result of hair loss from the scalp and can be due to a number of factors, such as taking certain medications, heredity or other medical conditions.

Androgenic Alopecia (male pattern baldness)

      The most common type of alopecia is called androgenetic alopecia, commonly known as 'pattern baldness'. This type of baldness is permanent and due to hereditary factors. Androgenic alopecia usually starts at the hairline, causing it to recede gradually to form an M shape. This is usually connected with a corresponding thinning of the hair at the crown. Over time, the top points of the hairline "M" meet the thinned crown, resulting in a horseshoe pattern of hair around the sides and back of the head. Androgenic alopecia is treated using topical minoxidil or oral finasteride (Propecia). These treatments can prove to be highly effective. Minoxidit has demonstrated success in hair re growth on the crown, as well as a slowing or stoppage of hair loss in 40 percent of men. Finasteride has been demonstrated to slow hair loss from the crown in over 85 percent of patients. Over 65% of these patients experienced increased hair growth on the crown when using finasteride. Hair loss from the crown appears to be far more responsive to these treatments than is frontal hair loss.

Alopecia Areata

      Less common is alopecia areata. This type of hair loss is usually temporary and affects under 2% of the population. This condition affects both hair loss from the head and the body and it's cause is unknown. The hair follicles of those suffering from alopecia areata are mistakenly attacked by the person's own immune system, causing arrested hair growth. It usually begins with one or a few bald patches on the scalp and can proceed to cause complete hair loss on the scalp (alopecia totalis) or on the body (alopecia universalis). Alopecia areata can affect both men and women at all ages; however, it most frequently becomes apparent in childhood. Significant hair loss should be a topic discussed with a medical doctor or dermatologist. The vast majority of hair loss is the result of non life threatening triggers; however, only a medical doctor can rule out the onset of hair loss as a result of more serious health conditions.

The American Academy of Dermatology offers excellent resources and articles concerning all types of hair loss, treatments and causes. For information about treating hair loss with Propecia, read about Propecia & Merck & Co., Inc.

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