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Don't Let Hair Loss Tangle You Up: Dermatologists Can Identify Common Hair Disorders and Offer Solutions
Date:2/3/2008

woman will show signs of male-pattern hair loss for reasons unknown to researchers.

A significant amount of research in male-pattern hair loss has identified the enzyme that can be blocked to stop the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a byproduct of the male hormone testosterone that is linked to baldness in men. This research has led to the development of finasteride, the FDA-approved medication for treating male-pattern hair loss.

While the cause of female-pattern hair loss is not as clearly understood as male-pattern hair loss, Dr. McMichael discussed several treatment options that work well for many women. Currently, minoxidil 2 percent is the only FDA- approved treatment for female-pattern hair loss. Available over the counter in 2 percent and 5 percent solutions, minoxidil must be applied topically and works on hair follicles to reverse the shrinking process and stimulate new growth on the top of the scalp. Minoxidil also is FDA-approved for use by men.

"There are some cases where dermatologists will use other treatments off-label to treat hair loss in women, such as the anti-androgens spironolactone and flutamide that work by blocking the male hormone testosterone at the cellular level of the hair follicle," said Dr. McMichael. "Even higher doses of finasteride have been used in women to regrow hair. But it is important that women -- and especially younger women -- see their dermatologist for hair loss, especially if other symptoms such as acne or abnormal menstrual cycles also are present. In some cases, hair loss along with these other symptoms may indicate a more serious medical condition, such as a tumor or polycystic ovary disease."

Another proven technique for men and women looking to restore their hair is hair transplantation. Dr. McMichael noted that the technology involved in this surgical procedure has improved significantly over the years, with tiny hair grafts now being implanted through various new tec
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SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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