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What is Baldness?

Baldness is the loss of hair growth on the scalp. The hair may stop growing in distinct areas of the scalp as in pattern baldness or the entire scalp may be affected. It may be caused by several factors, some of which can be effectively treated and others that cannot.

What are the Symptoms of Baldness?

Baldness is recognized by the rapid loss of hair on the scalp that does not regrow. It is not the same as the normal shedding of older hairs. Everyone loses hair each and every day but in normal circumstances it is quickly replaced by new hairs. With baldness, no new hair grows to replace those that are lost resulting in patches, or an entire scalp, with no growing hair.

What Are the Causes of Baldness?

Baldness can be caused by environmental factors or certain illnesses. In the vast majority of cases, baldness is caused by genetics or hormone changes.

Can Any Complications Arise if Left Untreated?

The biggest risk to untreated baldness is the exposure of the head and scalp to the rays of the sun. This may lead to sunburn or skin cancer. These risks can be alleviated with the use of a high-quality sunblock and wearing a hat when outdoors.

What Medications Treat Baldness?

If the baldness is being caused by environmental factors, such as exposure to certain chemicals, the treatment would involve reducing exposure to the damaging chemicals and treatment specific to those chemicals to reduce the impact of that particular agent.

If the baldness is caused by an illness, curing the baldness would require treating the underlying condition. Once that condition is resolved, the hair may regrow without further treatment, or the medications used to treat pattern baldness may be used.

Currently, there are only two medications approved by the FDA for treating the most common reason for hair loss, Androgenetic alopecia, more commonly known as pattern baldness: Minoxidil (Rogaine)  and Finasteride (Propecia)

Common medications may include

Hair Growth Agents - Systemic
Drugs used to stimulate hair growth that effect the system as a whole
Hair Growth Agents - Topical
Drugs used to stimulate hair growth that are used in a specific area topically