Many people are affected by hair loss, and genetic hair loss affects around half of all men and 30 percent of all women. Even if it is relatively common, many suffer because of their hair loss. Studies actually show that hair loss is the one thing men worry about most in life. Hair loss can start early, sometimes as early as 16, but it is more common that it starts later on in life.
Genetic hair loss is caused by a type of testosterone called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT inhibits the uptake of nutrients in hair that grows on the top of the scalp, and this in turn makes the hair weaker over time. The hair becomes thinner and thinner and will eventually die and fall off. In those that do not have genetic hair loss, DHT has no effect on hair strands.
Only hair that grows on the crown of the head is affected by DHT. Hair that grows on the sides and back of the head is not affected and will remain on the scalp for life. During a hair transplant, hair is taken from a donor area at the back of the head and implanted on the scalp. Hair can also be moved from other parts of the body, but it is not that common. Hair that has been implanted during a hair transplant will stay on the scalp for a person’s whole lifetime.
It is very hard to determine exactly how a genetically caused hair loss will develop. Some people only lose hair at the temples, some on the top of the head, and some lose all their hair on the crown. Genetic hair loss will continue until about 50 years of age. Then it will either slow down or stop completely. This is because a man’s testosterone levels decrease by the age of 50, which means that DHT will not affect the hair strands as much anymore. Generally, the later in life hair loss starts, the less hair will fall off.
Another type of hair loss is so called alopecia areata. In this condition, hair falls off in some bald spots on the scalp and the sides of the head. In many cases the hair will grow back, but then the bald spot may return somewhere else on the scalp, on the sides or on the back of the neck.
Only genetic hair loss can be treated with a hair transplant, and unfortunately there is no cure or medicine that can stop or treat bald spots or alopecia areata.