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Clin Exp Dermatol. 1991 May;16(3):188-92.

Natural progression of male pattern baldness in young men.

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School of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences, Portsmouth Polytechnic, UK.


Twenty-six men who presented with male pattern baldness (androgen-dependent alopecia), were quantitatively evaluated for scalp hair variables and compared with 13 age-matched controls. Compared to controls, significant mean differences for hair variables were found in the frontal-vertex area, while in the occipital area, a reduction in total hair density (hairs/cm2) was the only significant (P less than 0.05) finding. A large proportion (48.5%) of meaningful hair (non-vellus hair) was less than or equal to 40 mm in length, yet had diameters similar to hairs growing much longer. In controls, these hairs accounted for only 12.2% of the total population. Compared to baseline, mean values from the frontal-vertex area of subjects with androgen-dependent alopecia were significantly lower for total hair density, meaningful hair density (non-vellus hairs/cm2) and percentage of hair in the anagen growth phase, 12 and 24 months later. During this time, total hair density decreased by 6.5% after 12 months and by 11.9% after 24 months. Similarly, meaningful hair density declined at 12 months by 10.8% and by 22.7% after 24 months. No change in any hair variable was detected in controls after 12 or 24 months. Our findings suggest that medications capable of maintaining the existing hair population should be regarded as effective treatments for this condition. Left untreated androgen-dependent alopecia progressively deteriorates. The induction of non-vellus hairs less than or equal to 40 mm in length to grow longer, would substantially improve the aesthetic profile without the need to generate new hair.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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