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Miniaturization of Hair Follicles

Only recently, scientists discovered that the miniaturization of hair follicles has a direct hormonal pathway with a genetic origin. Whether you are just experiencing hair thinning or trying to restore lost hair, knowing the cause and the treatments available can help you make the best decisions.


"Miniaturization" is a word used to describe the progressive thinning of hair. It is synonymous with the genetic condition androgenic alopecia or pattern hair thinning. The New Hair Institute reports that miniaturization a process where hair follicles that are producing healthy hairs begin to produce thinner, shorter, more brittle hairs with weaker shafts. These hairs are less dense and lead to the appearance of hair loss. According to the Foundation of Hair Restoration, androgenic alopecia or genetic miniaturization is responsible for 95 percent of all hair loss cases.


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According to the Foundation for Hair Restoration, the onset of miniaturization from androgenic alopecia is due to three factors. Genetic predisposition is the first factor. Miniaturization of hair is genetic, the genes can come from either side of your family or both. The presence of dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is the second factor. DHT is the primary hormone linked to hair loss. Age is the third factor. The older you are, the more likely you are to experience miniaturization of your hair.

Significance of DHT

DHT is the primary hormone associated with miniaturization of hair follicles, notes the New Hair Institute. Testosterone naturally converts to DHT through a hormonal pathway called the 5 alpha reductase. Certain hairs on your head may be genetically susceptible to thin if exposed to if excess levels of DHT. DHT can attach to hair follicle, prematurely make it shed and begin to shrink the follicle. Instead of a normal, healthy hair regrowing in its place, a thinner, finer hair replaces it.


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There are currently two treatments approved by the FDA to the miniaturization of hair follicle from DHT. HairSite says minoxidil is an over-the-counter topical treatment that has been used since the 1990s to treat baldness in men and women. It reportedly promotes new hair growth by increasing cutaneous blood flow to shrinking hair follicles. The American Hair Loss Association notes finasteride is a prescription oral treatment for male pattern baldness. It reportedly reduces the active levels of DHT in your body to prevent miniaturization of hair follicles.


Hair loss treatments can be effective, even reversing baldness. In some cases, only a surgical hair restoration procedure can restore density where hair follicles have miniaturized. Hairs are carefully harvested from areas on the back and sides of the head that are not sensitive to miniaturization from DHT. These hairs are then transplanted into areas that are thinning and balding.