What is Hair Miniaturization and What Can I Do About It?
Hair miniaturization is a natural process that occurs in 95% of all hair loss cases. It’s the starting point from which male pattern baldness occurs. Individual follicles and strands continue to shrink over time and eventually become dormant if left untreated.
Hair miniaturization is the key feature of Pattern Hair Loss or Androgenic Alopecia. It affects many men starting in their early 20’s as puberty comes to and end. The hair will appear less dense and thinner before it eventually falls out. The onset of male pattern baldness begins with miniaturization and ends with fibrosis (or scarring) when the hair bulb and follicle disappear, but this takes many years.
Miniaturization is what a person sees the first time he or she realizes they are losing their hair. If the person desires to save their hair and prevent further balding, now is the time to act.
What causes Hair Miniaturization?
Hair miniaturization can occur as a result of four different causes:
- Lack of nutrition
- Levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
The genes inherited from parents are usually the #1 culprit of hair miniaturization. If parents or grandparents have exhibited any signs of hair loss, your risk of developing the condition are significantly increased.
Lack of Nutrition
Lack of proper nutrition can have negative effects upon hair growth. If the required nutrients aren’t delivered to the hair follicles, they can shrink and fall out.
Scientists have discovered that certain foods can inhibit DHT. Spearmint, green tea, flax/sesame seeds, and licorice are just a few DHT inhibitors that could provide some benefit. It should be noted that supplements alone cannot and will not cure male pattern baldness. There are many companies that sell so called “anti-balding pills” in the unregulated supplement market, but there is no science to back up their claims. While “alternative medicine” may help to some extent, the best way to treat it is to visit a hair loss clinic for a professional diagnosis and prescription.
Scientists have linked the hormone DHT to hair loss. Your body transforms testosterone into DHT. When high levels of DHT occur in your body, the hormone will attach itself to your hair follicles, thereby causing them to shrink, stop growing, and eventually fall out.
DHT will cause inflammation and irritation of the hair follicles and if left untreated will start the miniaturization process. Controlling the high levels of DHT around your hair follicles is key to slowing or stopping the onset of male pattern baldness.
DHT mainly affects the frontal hairline, top and crown of the head. The backs and sides of the scalp are more immune to the unwanted effects of DHT. This is why men who suffer from severe male pattern baldness sometimes retain the hair on the sides and back of their head, but their crown and front are completely bald.
Scientists and hair loss surgeons have come up with a scale to categorize the amount of hair loss. It’s called the Norwood scale and it demonstrates the various degrees of male pattern baldness.
A person’s age can also influence the presence of hair miniaturization. The natural processes that regulate our bodies as we age tend to slow. As such, hair growth will also slow over time and some hairs are lost to simple aging, usually after age 60.
What can be done?
Those who suffer from hair miniaturization want to know what can be done to slow or stop it. The good news is that there are several viable options available. The best thing to do is schedule an appointment with a nationally-recognized hair loss clinic for the best chances of success.
Hair Loss Medications
The FDA has approved hair loss medications such as Rogaine (Minoxidil) and Propecia (Finasteride) which can help slow and even reverse hair miniaturization in the early stages of hair loss. They can also increase the density of the hair.
Rogaine is FDA-approved for both men and women and can be purchased over the counter. It works in part by increasing blood flow to shrinking hair follicles.
Propecia works by preventing the conversion of testosterone to DHT specifically around susceptible hair follicles. The reduction in DHT can prevent miniaturization.
If hair miniaturization is excessive, then medications alone will not help restore the lost hair. At this point in time surgery is the only option. There are several hair transplant methods available that can completely restore hair in the balding areas.
A hair transplant involves taking hairs from the back and sides of the head and transplanting them to the balding areas. Hair transplant science has advanced to the point where mustaches, beards, eyebrows and even scars in hair bearing areas can be successfully restored.
Hair Miniaturization Options in San Antonio
If you’re experiencing the onset of hair miniaturization or think you may be suffering from male pattern baldness, schedule at appointment. At Limmer Hair Transplant Center, we’ve been helping transform the lives of our patients for over 30 years. Give us a call today to learn more how we can help stop the hair loss and restore your self-confidence.