The effects of gravity may explain the apparently paradoxical effects of testosterone in male pattern baldness (MPB), or androgenic alopecia, according to a report in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open®, the official open-access medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
The “force of downward pull caused by the gravity on the scalp skin” is the key contributor to the events leading to progressive hair loss in male pattern baldness, says Dr. Emin Tuncay Ustuner, a plastic surgeon in Ankara, Turkey.
In the scalp, DHT has classically been known to cause hair follicles to thin and become dormant over time. However, in other areas of the body, such as the underarms and genitals, DHT and other sex hormones promote thickening of hair follicles. Why would DHT affect scalp hair one way, but hair in other areas in a different way? And why does balding–and the associated increase in DHT levels–occur only on the top of the head?
The answer, Dr. Ustuner believes, is the weight of the scalp on the hair follicles. In youth, the scalp has sufficient fat tissue under the skin, and it is “capable of keeping itself well-hydrated,” buffering the pressure on hair follicles. But as we age, the skin and underlying (subcutaneous) fat cells become thinner, and the pressure on hair follicles increases. Testosterone is known to contribute to the thinning of subcutaneous fat. In women, estrogen prevents thinning of these cushioning tissues, at least until menopause.
As the cushion decreases, hair follicles must strive against higher pressure from gravity, requiring more testosterone to achieve normal growth. This “local demand” leads to a buildup of DHT levels in the scalp, but not in the bloodstream. Rising DHT levels cause further erosion of the subcutaneous fat — creating a “vicious circle,” according to Dr. Ustuner.
The hair growth cycle accelerates in response to DHT, but it’s not enough to overcome the increased pressure. Over time, the hair follicle becomes smaller and smaller, resulting in progressively increasing hair loss.
While Dr. Ustuner acknowledges that his “gravity theory” has met with resistance, we believe it has merit, and have addressed it along with much other science about the nature of hair loss. We recommend a series of special scalp exercises, also known as “Yoga For Your Hair“, in our e-book, Ultimate Hair Secrets. If you would like to learn the secrets of stimulating the scalp, returning blood flow, reliving pressure, and ultimately restoring your hair to good health, please download a free preview of the e-book, Ultimate Hair Secrets.
APA: Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (2013, October 30). ‘Gravity theory’ may explain male pattern baldness. ScienceDaily.