Thinning Hair and Baldness
For many men - whether hair loss is known by its scientific name, androgenetic alopecia, or simply as male-pattern baldness - it’s unwelcome news. Typically hair is is first lost on the top of the head or at the temples. By age 60, 2/3 of males have significant hair loss. It is believed that men who lose their hair have hair follicles that are predisposed to produce smaller and less visible vellus hair over time as a result of hormonal changes. Smoking may also play a role in male-pattern baldness.
Women may experience "female-pattern" baldness as they age, resulting in thinning hair and a visible scalp. It may be due to genetics, shifting levels in "male" hormones, or androgens, vitamin deficiencies or certain health conditions.
What You Can Do
Currently there is no cure for baldness. Some treatments aim to stimulate the growth of new, more visible hair, and include topical minoxidil (Rogaine) and Finesteride, which is taken orally. For women, the only treatment approved by the FDA is minoxidil.
A hair transplant involves grafting tiny segments or plugs of healthy scalp from thicker patches of hair to the balding area. It's expensive solution that requires many treatments, but the results are permanent.
Too Much Hair
On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes too much hair is the issue. Hirsutism is condition in which hair starts to appear on a woman's body in areas that are associated with male body hair: the face, neck, chest, thighs and back. It's caused by genetics, aging and certain medications.
Though hirsutism is often a harmless condition, it can be embarrassing for women. In rare cases it's a sign of a tumor in the adrenal gland or ovary.
What You Can Do
If temporary solutions like tweezing, waxing and depilatories aren't working for you, see your doctor. More involved hair removal techniques include laser therapy and electrolysis.