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AAD Addresses Cosmetic Aging and Potential Treatments

Posted: November 11, 2009

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While many people are genetically predisposed to hair loss, it becomes increasingly common with age. In fact, Jaliman noted that everyone older than 40 has less hair than they did when they were younger—even if the hair does not appear thinner on the surface.

The most common form of hair loss that affects both men and women is androgenetic alopecia, often referred to as male-pattern hair loss or female-pattern hair loss. In both genders, a miniaturization of the hair follicles occurs, meaning the hair stays on the head for a shorter period of time due to a short growth phase. As a result, a person will develop baby fine hairs that do not reach their full length or diameter. In men, this results in a receding hair line or baldness on top of the scalp. However, in women, the frontal hairline is not affected but there is visible thinning over the crown and at the part.

Before starting any treatment for hair loss, Jaliman stressed it is important for men and women to see a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and to rule out a potentially serious medical condition, such as lupus, thyroid disease or iron-deficiency anemia. Other causes of hair loss include drug reactions, birth control pills, menopause or a diet lacking in protein.

To treat hair loss, several effective therapies are available for both men and women. For men with male-pattern hair loss, effective medical therapies that are U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved include finasteride, a prescription oral medication, and minoxidil 2% and 5%, topical solutions that are available over-the-counter. For women with hair loss, minoxidil 2% is the only topical medication approved by the FDA for female-pattern hair loss.

For men and women who want a permanent solution for hair loss, Jaliman said that hair transplants are a good option, as surgical hair restoration has evolved in recent years and the results are much more natural than in the past. Now, single follicular units—or one hair at a time—are implanted in thinning and bald areas rather than clusters of hair, often referred to as “plugs.” To prevent future hair loss, Jaliman suggested that hair transplant patients supplement their treatment with a medical therapy recommended by their dermatologist.