Hair Loss Expert - Trichologist Explains Androgenetic alopecia
Yuliia Chorna, Trichologist IAT, WTS
Androgenetic alopecia is one of the most common types of hair loss, but as my personal experience shows, patients know very little about it. Here I will outline its main characteristics so that if you notice similar symptoms in yourself, you do not delay treatment. The sooner it starts, the more chances you must restore your hair.
Localisation and type
The first thing that distinguishes this type of hair loss from others is localisation. In women and men, it is manifested by a decrease in the amount of hair in the frontal and parietal zone. The second distinguishing feature is that the reduction in hair volume occurs due to their thinning, and then due to their loss.
Below are hair loss classification charts used by doctors to classify hair loss.
I repeat myself, the first distinguishing feature of this type of alopecia is its location in the upper part of the head, and the second is that the hair "thins" before falling out. There is also a slight difference in the appearance of this type of alopecia in men and women.
Male pattern Androgenetic alopecia (Male Pattern Hair Loss) is characterised by a receding hairline that moves higher and higher, exposing the scalp.
In female pattern Androgenetic alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss) the hairline almost never shifts upward, but at the same time the central parting gradually becomes wider and the scalp is more and more visible through it.
Not too long ago, Androgenetic alopecia was a symbol of older people, but in the modern world, this problem has become much younger, and I see many young people barely older than 18 years old who already have significant manifestations of this type of hair loss in my practice.
Examination and diagnosis
Although the name of this type of hair loss includes androgens (a group of male steroid hormones), Androgenetic alopecia is usually not related/associated to general hormonal disorders. It is only associated with increased sensitivity of hair follicles to the normal level of androgens in the body. Therefore, in most cases, there is no need to take tests for hormones. However, an attentive doctor is likely to prescribe blood tests that allow you not to miss the pathology of the thyroid gland and iron deficiency.
If the diagnosis of Androgenetic alopecia is not established based on blood tests, then on the basis of what tests is this type of hair loss diagnosed? In classical cases, the diagnosis of androgenetic alopecia is not difficult and often only requires an external examination. However, a qualified trichologist never limits themselves to just an external examination. In order not to miss the combination of several alopecias, to know exactly the stage of development of the process, etc., international diagnostic standards suggest two types of instrumental studies - trichoscopy and phototrichogram.
There are 3 products with proven effectiveness recommended for the treatment of this type of hair loss - topical minoxidil-based preparations (2% for women, 5% for men), anti-androgenic tablets (Finasteride) for men only, and Hairmax Laser Therapy (LLLT - low level laser therapy). Unlike the first two methods, which are quite difficult to use, the Hairmax laser is the only physiotherapeutic device whose effect has been proven at the FDA level (the Hairmax device was approved by the FDA for the treatment of AGA in men in 2007, and in women in 2011), without any significant side effects.
For the sake of fairness, I can note one "disadvantage" of the laser method - this is the slow development of the effect (the beginning of a noticeable effect after 4 months). But this can hardly be called a “disadvantage” because this is due to the physiology of the hair follicle, all processes in it are slow.
The Hairmax laser devices should be used 3 times a week for a minimum of 6 months, while Hairmax has taken care of very busy patients who value their time by developing the fastest laser treatment in the world — the LaserBand 82, with the treatment time 90 seconds! Given this duration of the course, Hairmax is usually used at home.
But this should not diminish your serious attitude towards this effective method of treating Androgenetic alopecia. By doing follow-up trichoscopy during the treatment, I can clearly see which of my patients do irregular procedures with the Hairmax laser, and who responsibly and patiently fulfils my instructions. Usually, after 4 months from the start of treatment, the results are already noticeable: the hair begins to thicken, and the empty follicles are filled with new hair.
In treating hair loss with Hairmax laser therapy, we must realise that the struggle is with genetics. Therefore, in the case of Androgenetic alopecia, even if good results are achieved, treatment cannot be completely stopped. It is necessary to smoothly transition to maintenance treatment. Specifically, in the case of the Hairmax laser therapy, it will be at least one procedure weekly to keep your hair follicles energised and healthy.
If you are unsure about the origins of your hair loss, a visit to a specialist (dermatologist, trichologist) can accurately diagnose and prescribe the necessary treatment, and regularly monitor the effectiveness of treatment using trichoscopy and other diagnostic methods. It is important to remember that each person is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another.
Therefore, if you are experiencing hair loss, contact qualified specialists who can conduct a thorough diagnosis and prescribe an individual treatment package. In addition to Hairmax laser therapy, there is a whole range of other treatment methods, such as PRP therapy and herbal lotion therapy, which can help strengthen hair follicles and improve hair quality. However, do not forget that no treatment methods can be effective without a healthy lifestyle and proper hair care.