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The Norwood Scale for Hair Loss in Men
Hair loss in men is most commonly caused by Androgenetic Alopecia. “Andro” refers to the androgens Testosterone and Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Testosterone is converted to DHT by the enzyme, 5¤ -reductase. Once this happens the DHT can then enter the hair cells. Once in the cells the DHT interacts with the nucleus of the cell affecting the hair growth.
Genetic refers to the fact that a particular genetic characteristic is needed in order for this hair loss scenario to happen, which is why some men lose hair and others don’t. A new test can reveal if you have this characteristic and thus tell if you are at risk for androgenetic alopecia.
Finasteride (Propecia®) acts by blocking this enzyme, which prevents the formation of DHT. Receptors exist on cells that bind androgens. These receptors have the greatest affinity for DHT followed by testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. After binding to the receptor, DHT goes into the cell and interacts with the nucleus of the cell altering the production of protein by the DNA in the nucleus of the cell. Ultimately growth of the hair follicle ceases.
Hair loss in men is generally limited to the top and crown of the head. While most men will lose some hair in their lifetime, some will lose more than others and some will lose it earlier in life than others. As this can be quite traumatic for some men, several excellent options are available for treatment. Please see our Hair Loss Solutions pages for more information.