Most hair loss in men is genetically driven, ie the propensity for hair loss is inherited. Worldwide, an astonishingly high number of men suffer from this particular form of hair loss that is generally given the title of male pattern baldness. Fighting this form of hair loss in men is a massively profitable international industry with a huge, and continually expanding, range of highly profitable receding hairline treatment products on sale to tempt sufferers of this condition.
Trichologists (trichology is simply the branch of healthcare that deals with the study and problems associated with hair growth and scalp health) now have a wide range of tools and techniques at their disposal to help tackle hair loss in men, and this article will examine the specific biochemical method behind the pills and potions that are so massively profitable for the hair loss industry.
Genetically driven hair loss in men is known by the technical name of androgenic alopecia (it is also known as androgenetic alopecia in some parts of the world) and is it mainly caused by the shrinkage of hair follicles in the scalp. As these follicles shrink, they become less productive and so produce less hair. This, in turn, leads to the typical hair loss and hair thinning so typical of male pattern baldness.
So why do male hair follicles shrink? Well, the main culprit is a combination of the male hormone testosterone and an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase (usually abbreviated to 5-AR). 5-AR can bind with testosterone and convert the hormone to an androgen called dihydrotestosterone (this is usually abbreviated to ‘DHT’) and, once enough DHT has been built up in the blood stream, this androgenetic hormone can weaken and inhibit the hair follicles of the scalp and cause hair loss.
It is this process that most hair loss pills, potions and shampoos try to disrupt. Products like Minoxidil, Rogain, Regaine, Finasteride and many products that use herbs and vitamins for hair growth act by attempting to block the production of DHT and/or reduce the action or production of of 5-AR. Once this cycle of DHT production is interrupted or significantly reduced, hair follicles can recover their vigor, hair growth returns to normal and the effects of male pattern baldness can be significantly reduced.