Some people who find that they go bald early in life or go bald at some stage typically accept their loss of hair philosophically and never really think that there is much they can do about it. This is particularly so with male type baldness, which is often hereditary.

Inherited baldness in men

Inherited male type baldness is the most common form of baldness in men and is thought to be related to hair follicles that are oversensitive to a naturally occurring human hormone. The condition is linked to the male sex hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is produced in the male testes after puberty. If DHT exists in large amounts, the hair follicles may tend to build up a reaction to it. The outcome of this is that the hair starts to thin and only grows for a limited period of time. The balding tends to take place gradually as different follicles don’t tend to be affected at the same time. This type of baldness does not occur in all men who produce larger amounts of DHT than normal, but only in some men. The sensitivity of hair follicles to DHT is genetically inherited. It can occur in women as well, but is much rarer. The inherited baldness gene is actually inherited from the mother, who is unlikely to be bald herself!

Baldness caused by follicular infection

Some types of baldness are caused as a result of an infection of the hair follicles called folliculitis. Hair follicles are the small organs buried in the skin that control the growth of individual hairs. If the infection is severe enough, then the follicles may never be able to produce hair again and a hair transplant is necessary.

Autoimmune caused baldness

A second reason for baldness is alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition. The immune system is one of the most important ways that the human body defends itself from foreign “intruders”, but occasionally something goes wrong and the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue. This is an autoimmune disorder.

Usually, in the presence of an infection, the body’s immune system handles it well, but when alopecia areata occurs the hair follicles are attacked by the immune system, often resulting in hair loss of a temporary nature. If individuals already have other common autoimmune conditions, such as diabetes related to the thyroid, vitiligo or Down’s syndrome, alopecia areata can take place more often. The tendency for this disorder may also be inherited.

Baldness caused by scleroderma

A third reason for hair loss is scarring alopecia caused by scleroderma, which is an unnatural hardening or drying of the external skin surface. This has an effect on the body’s connective tissues, leading to hard, itchy and puffy skin and the loss of hair.

Baldness caused by cancer treatment

Some types of cancer treatment, especially chemotherapy, may result in hair loss. Usually, the hair loss is temporary and the hair should return if the cancer is defeated. However, in some cases, the baldness caused by the treatment is more permanent. It is baldness of this nature as well as any other medical cause which is regarded as sufficient reason for the NHS to provide free hair transplant surgery.

For more information go to anyclinics.co.uk

(image from anyclinics.co.uk)

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