Hair loss usually develops gradually in both men and women. While the average scalp contains about 100,000 hairs, roughly 100 hairs are lost from the head every day. Each individual hair shaft survives for an average of four to five years, during which time it grows about half an inch a month. Sometime in its 5th year, the hair falls out and is replaced within 6 months by a new one.
Both men and women tend to lose hair thickness and amount as they age. Inherited or “pattern baldness”, both male and female, is the most common type of hair loss. Typical male pattern baldness involves a receding hairline and thinning around the crown with eventual bald spots. In males, the male pattern baldness is more commonly termed androgenetic alopecia for the involvement of the enzyme steroid 5 alpha reductase in the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone in hair follices. This conversion results in progressive shortening of the growth cycle of the hair follices, miniaturization of the follices, and resultant hair loss.
Baldness is not usually caused by a disease, but is related to aging, heredity and testosterone metabolism. In addition to the common male and female patterns from a combination of these factors, other possible causes of hair loss include chemotherapy and radiation therapy, thyroid disease and certain autoimmune diseases.
Copper is essential to vital cellular and enzyme processes required for human health and is the third most abdundant trace metal in the body, after iron and zinc, and is an essential nutrient. Copper plays a key role in several of the body’s essential enzyme systems needed for tissue repair, hair growth and other biological processes. These copper based enzyme systems allow tissue to repair itself, blood vessels to form, wounds to close and inflammation to decrease.
In numerous studies, copper peptides have been shown to promote new blood vessel growth, enance the expression of growth factors and stimulate the formation of new collagen and elastin. Copper stimulates the dermal papilla of the hair follicle, which is important to provide structural integrity and improve nutrient supply. Delivered to the base of the hair follicle, copper can stimulate the cells to make proteins responsible for hair growth.
It all began with a pill for high blood pressure. Some perceptive soul realized that the medication controlling the hypertension was causing hair to sprout randomly, thus leading to the development of Rogaine. Minoxidil itself is inactive and incapable of growing hair. But when used topically, it must be able to penetrate the epidermis and be converted enzymatically into an active metabolite, minoxidil sulphite. It is this metabolite that activates cellular potassium channels resulting in hair growth.
Treatment used to be limited to topical Rogaine, but has become more promising since the advent of Propecia. Propecia is an prescription pill taken once a day. It helps both regrow hair recently lost as well as slow down or stop hair loss. As with all hair loss therapies, the earlier the treatment is started, the better.The FDA has only approved its use in men.
Propecia (generic name Finasteride) prevents the formation of DHT by blocking the enzyme responsible for metabolizing testosterone. There are actually 2 forms of 5a-reductase (types I and II). Type I is the main concern in humans and is most concentrated within the hair follicles of the scalp as well as the sebaceous glands. Finasteride blocks Type I 5a-reductase.
Results tend to take approximately 6 months to show, and the medication is taken indefinitely. Propecia can only block the enzyme that forms DHT if you take it. If you don’t, the enzyme will have the opportunity to transform testosterone and the hair loss will begin again.