Hair loss can occur anywhere on the body and as a result of many different underlying factors, including genetics, hormonal shifts, disease, medical treatments and stress, but the most common type of hair loss among both men and women is androgenetic hair loss occurring on the scalp and sometimes referred to in men as “male pattern baldness.” [1]

About 35 million men and 21 million women have some form of androgenetic hair loss, also called androgenetic alopecia. [2] In men, this type of hair loss begins at the temples and moves slowly backward, usually along the sides with concomitant thinning at the top of the head, or crown. Eventually, many men experience partial or complete baldness. In women, androgenetic hair loss typically occurs during menopause and causes hair thinning all over the head without the hairline recession typical in men. Although the hair can become very sparse, most women do not experience complete baldness as a result of androgenetic hair loss.

In men, androgenetic alopecia has been linked with an increased risk for coronary heart disease (CAD), high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. In women, it’s been associated with an increased risk of polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, which causes hormonal imbalances, irregular periods, weight gain, acne and excessive growth of hair on the body. [3]

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Hair loss can occur as frank baldness or localized or disperse thinning on the scalp, face or any other area of hair growth on the body. In addition, research has shown hair loss can have a significant emotional impact affecting a person’s overall quality of life, body image, and senses of self-confidence and self-esteem. People with hair loss frequently experience depression and are less willing to socialize and less likely to enjoy social interactions. [4] [5] Specific symptoms of hair loss can depend on the underlying cause of the loss and may include [1]:

  • Gradual thinning
  • Circular bald spots or bald spots that occur in patches (common in alopecia areata)
  • Sudden hair loosening and loss (typical of some medicines, diseases and stress reactions)
  • Hair loss across the entire body
  • Small, round, scaly patches on the scalp, indicative of ringworm

TRADITIONAL MANAGEMENT

The type of treatment depends on the underlying cause of hair loss. Most treatments begin with topical medications such as minoxidil for both men and women or finasteride, which is used only in men. Estrogen supplementation may be helpful for women whose hair loss is related to hormonal changes. Corticosteroid ointments or injections may help promote regrowth of hair in some types of hair loss. When hair loss occurs as a result of an underlying condition like thyroid disease, the first step will be to treat that cause to see if that results in regrowth of hair.

When topical, oral or injectable medications don’t work, hair transplant surgery can be considered. However, hair transplant surgery is not successful in all types of baldness, and in cases where hair loss is complete, there may not be suitable donor follicles to complete a successful surgery. [6]

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 STEM CELL THERAPY FOR HAIR LOSS

The medical uses of stem cells have been widely explored for decades, beginning with the discovery of embryonic stem cells in the last century. More recently, stem cell studies in the U.S. have focused on the use of stem cells derived from bone marrow, blood or adipose tissue (fat). Stem cells play a huge role in the generation of healthy cells throughout the body, including the hair follicles. New research into baldness has explored the uses of stem cell therapy in stimulating existing hair follicles that have stopped producing hair to ramp up production, potentially obviating the need for hair transplantation in the future.

In fact, the use of stem cells in managing hair loss has been explored for more than a decade now, with the earliest studies focusing on identifying stem cells in the follicles of mice to determine how those stem cells affect the growth of hair, even in damaged follicles where the natural growth processes have been disrupted. [7]

While those early studies focused on small-scale hair growth in a limited number of follicles, more recently, studies have demonstrated that large-scale hair regeneration over broader areas and involving a far larger number of follicles is possible. [8] One particular study has been successful in reprogramming adult stem cells into epithelial cells, one of two cells necessary for hair growth. The second type of cell, called dermal papillae, is being studied in other stem cell research efforts. [9] At least one study has found one of the underlying causes of androgenetic baldness lies in an inability for some stem cells to differentiate into progenitor cells necessary for hair growth, which supports the idea that replenishing or supplementing these cells may provide the impetus for new hair growth in people with androgenetic baldness. [10]

Regenevéda specializes in hair loss and provides non-surgical management to men and women who suffer from hair loss.

Suggested Reading:

  1. Hair loss symptoms. Mayo Clinic. Available at: Mayo Clinic.
  2. Using stem cells to grow new hair. ScienceDaily. 2015. Available at: ScienceDaily.com.
  3. Androgenetic alopecia. Genetics Home Reference. 2006. Available at: GeneticsHomeReference.com
  4. Tucker, P. Bald Is Beautiful?: The Psychosocial Impact of Alopecia Areata. Journal of Health Psychology. 2009;14(1):142-151. doi:10.1177/1359105308097954.
  5. Cartwright, T, Endean, N, Porter, A. Illness perceptions, coping and quality of life in patients with alopecia. British Journal of Dermatology. 2009;160(5):1034-1039. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2133.2008.09014.x.
  6. Causes of hair loss. American Academy of Dermatology. Available at: AAD.org
  • Warner, J. Hair growth and cells. WebMD. Available at:com
  • Preidt, Rf. Baldness cure may have inched closer. WebMD. 2014. Available at:com
  1. Gledhill, K, Gardner, A, Jahoda, C. =Isolation and establishment of hair follicle dermal papilla cell cultures. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2013. Available at: NCBI.gov
  2. Garza LA, Yang C-C, Zhao T, et al. Bald scalp in men with androgenetic alopecia retains hair follicle stem cells but lacks CD200-rich and CD34-positive hair follicle progenitor cells. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2011;121(2):613-622. doi:10.1172/JCI44478.

Hair regeneration using adipose-derived stem cells.

Jin SE, Sung JH.

Histol Histopathol. 2016 Mar;31(3):249-56. doi: 10.14670/HH-11-686. Review.

Epigenetic control of skin and hair regeneration after wounding.

Plikus MV, Guerrero-Juarez CF, Treffeisen E, Gay DL.

Exp Dermatol. 2015 Mar;24(3):167-70. doi: 10.1111/exd.12488. Review.

Autologous Platelet-Rich Plasma for the Treatment of Pattern Hair Loss.

Singh B, Goldberg LJ.

Am J Clin Dermatol. 2016 Aug;17(4):359-67. doi: 10.1007/s40257-016-0196-2. Review.

Systematic review of the use of platelet-rich plasma in aesthetic dermatology.

Leo MS, Kumar AS, Kirit R, Konathan R, Sivamani RK.

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2015 Dec;14(4):315-23. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12167. Review.

Platelet-rich plasma in dermatology: boon or a bane?

Arshdeep., Kumaran MS.

Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2014 Jan-Feb;80(1):5-14. doi: 10.4103/0378-6323.125467. Review.

Applications of platelet-rich plasma in dermatology: A critical appraisal of the literature.

Lynch MD, Bashir S.

J Dermatolog Treat. 2016;27(3):285-9. doi: 10.3109/09546634.2015.1094178. Review.

Disclaimer:
Actual results may vary. The statements are not intended to imply that the results would be the same or similar for each patient. Each patient is unique and no particular result or outcome can be predicted or guaranteed. The statements in this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Some of these procedures may be considered experimental. These procedures are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The use of stem cells is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration to combat aging or to prevent, treat, cure or mitigate any disease or medical condition mentioned, cited or described in this website. The science of treatment with stem cells is in its early stages and stem cell treatments are not considered to be the standard of care for any medical condition, ailment, illness or disease. There could be significant and unknown risks associated with stem cell treatments, as long-term studies have not been performed.