European Journal of Dermatology


Current understanding of androgenetic alopecia. Part II: clinical aspects and treatment Volume 10, issue 5, July - August 2000


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Department of Dermatology, Philipp University, Deutsch hausstrasse 9, D-35033 Marburg, Germany.

The first signs of androgenetic alopecia (AGA) may start to develop with the onset of puberty. The prevalence of progressive AGA approaches 50% of Caucasian men and women beyond the age of 40; whereas in Asian, native American and African-American men the prevalence is lower and AGA is less severe. Only exceptionally laboratory tests or scalp biopsies are needed to confirm the diagnosis. Therefore the clinical assessment of AGA is largely a matter of common sense and practice. The loss of hair is often trivialised, but hair loss may have profound effects on a patient’s well-being and quality of life. The treatment of AGA is obscured by myths. Many products or procedures are advertized for the treatment of AGA such as vitamins, trace elements, exotic herbs, amino acids, “soft laser”, scalp massage, etc. Most of these techniques or substances have never been verified in sound clinical trials. Because of the psychosocial impact of hair loss, however, it is important to explain to patients what they may expect in terms of continuing hair loss, and that response to any therapy may be slow and may include hair regrowth or only retardation of further thinning. The aim of AGA treatment is to reverse or to stabilize the process of HF miniaturization and with this overview we summarize the present treatment modalities for both men and women.