Recognizing genetic hair loss in the earliest stages
Genetic hair loss is common. By age 50, about 60 % of men and 35 % of women will develop genetic hair loss. Hair loss typically starts in certain areas of the scalp - such as the temples and crown in men and central scalp in women.
Alteration in follicular counts may precede miniaturization
Miniaturization refers to the progressive reduction in hair follicle diameter during the course of genetic hair loss. In other words, hair follicles get skinnier and skinnier over time. This is a very typical feature of genetic hair loss. One other feature that is frequently seen is the alteration of hair follicle counts. Rather than hair follicles appearing in bundles of two hairs or three hairs, they are frequently seen as single isolated hairs.
The photo above nicely illustrates this concept. Both photos were taken from the same patient. The photo on the left shows hair follicles grouped together in groups of two three and even four hairs. This area of the scalp is unaffected by genetic hair changes. The photo on the right shows very typical genetic hair loss. Hair follicles are still similar in size (thickness), but what is seen is mostly single hairs - the groupings of two and three hair bundles are no longer present. This is very typical of the earliest features of genetic hair loss.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887