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Everything About Androgenetic Alopecia

Everything About Androgenetic Alopecia

Medical Director Dr. Hans-Georg Dauer

10 min

May 17, 2022

Powerful and shiny hair is more than just a nice-to-have these days. On the contrary: for many it is a must-have. Especially women do not want to be without vital and strong hair.

The diagnosis of "androgenetic alopecia" hits them all the harder. But what is it, how does it manifest itself and what can we do about it? HAIR & SKIN explains.

What is Androgenetic Alopecia?

Androgenetic alopecia is hereditary hair loss that can occur in both men and women. The special thing: Androgenetic alopecia is considered the most common form of hair loss. Eight out of ten men struggle with the hormonal changes in their hair. And even among women, the figure is thought to be around 50 percent.

But what goes wrong with androgenetic alopecia in the hair cycle? Quite simple: Those who are affected by congenital hair loss have hypersensitive hair roots. They react hypersensitively to male sex hormones (androgens).

This hypersensitivity to androgens is already fixed in the genes. The bad news: the regrowth of the lost hair can usually not be influenced. Fortunately, we are not completely powerless: we can delay and conceal hair loss in a targeted manner.

In young years, alopecia is usually still restrained. Only with age does it become increasingly noticeable. It often becomes apparent particularly late in women. Not infrequently, it strikes only in the menopause.

How is Alopecia Inherited?

First things first: The predisposition to androgenetic hair loss can be inherited from both parents - from the father and the mother. Alopecia androgenetica is particularly pronounced when both parents are affected.

The paradox: Even if both parents are blessed with strong and dense hair into old age, the offspring should not necessarily feel safe. They can still suffer from hair loss. However, it is not possible to predict exactly whether, when and to what extent this will occur. After all, several genes are involved in the genesis of hair loss.

But what actually happens in alopecia androgenetica?

Quite simply: Those affected have hypersensitive hair roots. Above all, there is a hypersensitivity to the male sex hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone). This means: If the sensitive hair roots come into contact with DHT, they go into the so-called telophase (resting phase). The result: the hair roots gradually stop supplying nutrients - until they atrophy.

Good to know: Alopecia Androgenetica is considered the most common form of hair loss. Other types, such as Alopecia Areata, occur much less frequently.

Alopecia Androgenetica - What Causes it?

The main culprit in hereditary hair loss is the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). But beware: Just because a hormone is involved, doesn’t mean that Alopecia Androgenetica is classified as a hormonal disorder. On the contrary, it is only a hypersensitivity of the hair roots.

They do not tolerate DHT. And this intolerance even goes so far that the natural growth phase of the hair comes to a haltl after it comes in contact with the male sex hormones (androgens). And the sooner the hair follicles go into the resting phase, the sooner they fall out.

In younger years, DHT intolerance often remains in the background. With age, however, it increasingly intensifies. The hair roots react more and more sensitively to DHT - until we eventually lose them. When exactly the thinning of the hair coat takes place varies from person to person. For some, it doesn't start until their mid-30s, for others it already starts in their mid-20s.

In women, hereditary hair loss often manifests itself only in the menopause. The reason: During menopause, the hormone balance changes. The estrogen level drops noticeably. And the fewer female sex hormones the body has available, the faster a hormonal imbalance sets in. Suddenly, the male sex hormones dominate and set the pace.

If the hair roots are now hypersensitive to the alopecia hormone DHT, this can no longer be warded off by the altered hormone level. The consequence: Sooner or later, the hypersensitivity of the hair roots manifests itself in hair loss. The follicles move earlier from the anagen phase into the resting phase - until they finally fall out.

Alopecia Androgenetica - What are the Treatment Options?

Alopecia patients can breathe a sigh of relief: they do not have to accept hair loss without a fight. On the contrary, nowadays, promising treatment options are available.

In Switzerland, dermatology even uses a miracle substance: minoxidil. But what is the difference?


Minoxidil is a potassium channel opener that was originally intended for the therapy of high blood pressure. The mechanism of action: The potassium channel opener triggers a hyperpolarization in the cells of the hair roots. And it is precisely this hyperpolarization that dilates the blood vessels, which not only improves blood circulation but also the supply of nutrients.

And the more zealous blood circulation and nutrient absorption, the longer the growth period. Studies can confirm this. Because in around 80 to 90 percent of test subjects, hair loss could be demonstrably stopped with the regular use of minoxidil. The amazing part: New hair even grew back in 80 percent of the test subjects.

Ethanolic Agents

We are talking about aqueous plant substances containing alcohol, which effectively stimulate blood circulation during head massages.


If there is a hormonal imbalance in the body, it can often be balanced with prescribed hormones. However, medical advice is urgently needed here. The dermatologist decides whether, when and how much is used.

Especially for hereditary hair loss in menopausal women, the dermatologist or gynecologist often prescribes estrogens. The female sex hormones are supposed to balance the sudden dominance of male sex hormones.


So-called antiandrogens have also proven effective in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. These are hormonal agents such as chlormadinone acetate, cyproterone acetate and dienogest.

The principle: Antiandrogens block the effect of the sex hormone androgen in the body. Most preparations inhibit the androgen receptors, for example the androgen receptors on the prostate. It is precisely this inhibition that prevents androgens from having an undisturbed effect on the hair coat.

But beware: To date, there are no definitive scientific studies that fully prove the effectiveness of antiandrogens.

Alfatradiol for More Hair Density

Another insider tip among the anti-hair loss remedies is Alfatradiol. The artificially produced sex hormone is like a growth booster for the hair cells. It has been proven to boost the natural growth process. Another plus: Alfatradiol delays the production of hormones that promote hair loss.

Vitamins and Trace Elements

If there is a lack of vitamins and trace elements, our hair coat also suffers. It loses its strength, fullness and shine.

An iron deficiency hits us particularly hard. Especially diffuse hair loss is often caused by a low iron content.

This makes it all the more important to get a complete blood count done. It provides reliable information about our vitamin and trace element reserves.

Caffeine Shampoos and Supplements

The bathroom of many an alopecia patient is full of caffeine shampoos and dietary supplements such as biotin, copper, folic acid and zinc. No wonder, advertisements say that the supposed miracle cures have a magical effect.

Especially when it comes to caffeine shampoos, manufacturers are literally overflowing with promises. The activating active ingredient has been proven to stimulate tired hair roots. It is no different with dietary supplements. Whether biotin, folic acid or zinc - they all supposedly work wonders for hair growth. But is this really the case?

Unfortunately, this cannot be clearly clarified. So far, the effectiveness of the touted miracle weapons has not been clearly proven.

The Basics of Strong Hair Growth

Not only minoxidil or caffeine shampoos can positively influence hair growth. A conscious lifestyle also plays an important role. Dermatologists recommend:

  • Don't rush it: keep stress away from you and your hair as much as possible. Because hair follicles are really sensitive. If they get hit too hard, they’ll let you feel it.
  • Make sure you eat a healthy and balanced diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, white meat and legumes are great for your hair roots.
  • Do you wash your hair every day? Please don't, it's best to postpone the next hair wash to every three to four days. Otherwise you'll just flood your scalp with unnecessary active ingredients. And the more active ingredients accumulate on the scalp, the more difficult it is for your hair roots to breathe. They need some fresh air.
  • Do it the easy way: Avoid too hot blow-drying, constant coloring and strict hairstyles with sharp hair clips and synthetic braids. Your hair just won't take it in the long run.
  • Drink, drink, drink: Your hair follicles are quite thirsty. It's best to give them two to three liters of water a day.
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Hereditary Hair Loss - What Cosmetic Options do I Have?

Good news: At the first signs of hereditary hair loss, you don't have to panic and reach for Minoxidil, caffeine shampoo and the like. Often the thinning areas can be concealed with a little flair and creativity.

A good haircut is often enough. It cleverly hides bald spots and effortlessly conjures up a flattering fullness. But wait a minute: You should not wear your hair too long in case of androgenetic alopecia. For good reason: the long mane quickly looks stringy and unkempt.

Hairdressers recommend a length of three to four centimeters at the top of the head. Ears and neck are best left free. This creates a neat contrast. Another pro tip: The hair should not be too close to the head. You're better off with a trendy out-of-bed look. Because the casual undone look not only looks cool and casual, but also effortlessly disguises bald spots.

When it comes to styling, it's okay to use hair gel. Simply place a walnut-sized dollop in the palms of your hands, grind it thoroughly and then tousle your mane as you please. For a cool finish, apply a little hairspray to your fingertips and define individual strands. You'll be rid of your receding hairline in no time. Or how about a touch of hair powder? This insider tip will give your hair a stunning fullness in record time.

Clever Helpers for Every Form of Hair Loss

If your own hair doesn't give you enough, it's worth investing in a clever helper. What do you say to a casual cap or a stylish felt hat, for example? On cold winter days, you're on the safe side with a trendy beanie.

Styling creativity is also in demand for the ladies. How about a playful straw hat for sunny spring days, for example, or a colorful headband on stormy autumn afternoons? Trucker caps and hats are of course also very welcome.

You have a hard time with caps, beanies and hats? Then we advise you to wear a wig - preferably a high-quality human hair wig. They gently nestle against your scalp and leave a deceptively real impression. And the best: You are spoiled when it comes to your choices. Blonde, brunette, red or black - what do you fancy today?

Even with the length you are suddenly variable. A hip short haircut, a medium-length curl or a long mane - what's it going to be this week?

Complete Shave - The Buzz Cut

Many men are afraid of baldness. But why is that? Did you know that baldness can actually be quite sexy? The proof: In a representative study, 54 percent of all female test subjects said they were attracted to bald men.

How about trying something different? The topless look has long since arrived on the red carpet. Whether it's Jason Statham, Vin Diesel or Dwayne The Rock Johnson - real guys wear bald heads and look simply stunning.

But it's not just men who are starting to like the less-is-more style. Women are also increasingly reaching for the razor - be it Natalie Portman or Cara Delevingne. They present themselves self-confidently with a bald head.

Hair Transplant

You want your old hair density back - forever? No problem, the hair transplant is here to fulfill your wish. Whether the FUE method or the DHI technique - both medical innovations fill the gaps in your hair with the highest precision. Only a few months after the procedure you will look visibly younger, fresher and more alive.

And what about naturalness? That is not a problem either. An experienced surgeon works so precisely and conscientiously that the transplants hardly differ from the original hair. They fit seamlessly into the existing hair - without any foreign body effect.

The biggest advantage: The density effect is not just temporary. On the contrary: it is permanent. Because once the grafts are firmly rooted in the scalp, they stay with you for life - jackpot.

Allow us to prove it to you. At HAIR & SKIN, you can finally get your vitality back. That's what we stand for with our name.