The hair loss condition often referred to as ‘common baldness’ is androgenic alopecia, or pattern baldness. It occurs most frequently in men, and is the most common cause of male baldness. However, the condition does affect a surprisingly large number of women too.
Androgenic alopecia (also known as androgenetic alopecia) is thought to be a hereditary condition, triggered in people with genetic sensitivity to an androgen hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is believed that DHT causes hair follicles to miniaturise or shrink, therefore shortening their lifespan and interrupting hair growth.
In men, pattern baldness generally occurs in a well-defined pattern starting at the temples and also occurring at the crown of the head. It causes the hairline to recede and a bald spot to appear at the crown. This rarely leads to total baldness, however.
This type of hair loss in women is different to classic male pattern baldness, as it causes hair to thin all over the head. The hairline does not generally recede and again, the condition does not usually cause total baldness.
There are numerous treatments for hair loss of this kind – including medication, hair transplants, creams and lotions – but none are guaranteed to work. See your doctor and then a hair loss specialist to find out more about baldness treatment.