Hair Loss Advice


Hair Loss Glossary


Alpha Reductase

5 Alpha Reductase is the enzyme which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) the hormone that triggers Androgenetic Alopecia in individuals who are genetically susceptible. 

Type 1 5-Alpha Reductase is found primarily in the skin and Type 2 5-Alpha Reductase is found primarily in the prostate and inner sheath of the hair follicle.


Acne is an inflammatory disease which affects the sebaceous glands of the skin.


Complete or partial lack of hair resulting from various conditions.

Alopecia Adnata

Congenital baldness or baldness at birth.

hair loss glossary

Alopecia Androgenetic

This is the common name for male or female pattern baldness which depends on the genetic predisposition of the hair follicles and the levels of DHT in the body.

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata is the medical term for hairloss which occurs in patches on the scalp.

Alopecia Follicularis

Hair loss due to inflammation of hair follicles.

Alopecia Neurotica

Baldness following a nervous disorder or injury to the nervous system. 

Alopecia Senilis

Alopecia senilis is baldness due to old age.

Alopecia Totalis

This is the complete loss of scalp hair often combined with the loss of eyebrows and eyelashes

Alopecia Universalis

Alopecia Universalis is the term for hairloss which occurs over the entire body.


The process of converting one enzyme to another.


This is the growing phase of the hair cycle which lasts about seven years in a healthy person.


Androgens are often referred to as male hormones.


An antiandrogen blocks the effects of androgens, normally by blocking the receptor sites.

Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid like Retin-A is more commonly used in the treatment of acne and other skin conditions. 

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is non-cancerous enlargement of the prostrate gland. The prostate gland swells, which reduces the urine flow and prevents the bladder from emptying.


The surgical removal of one or both testicles or overies.


This is the end of the active growth period, and is marked by changes occurring in the follicle.

Cicatricial Alopecia 

This is baldness due to scarring. The follicles are absent in scar tissue. 


A group of genetically identical cells or organisms derived form a single common cell.


The cortex is the main structure of the hairshaft. The cortex determines the colour and texture of the hair.


Area at the top of the head.

Cyproterone Acetate

This drug is normally used to reduce sex drive in men who have an excessive sex drive. It is also prescribed to treat hirsuitism and androgenetic alopecia in women.

Dermal papilla

The dermal papilla is situated at the base of the hair follicle. The dermal papilla contains nerves and blood vessels which supply glucose for energy and amino acids to make keratin.

DHT (Dihydrotestosterone)

DHT is a male hormone that is suggested to be the main cause for the miniaturisation of the hair follicle and for hair loss. DHT is formed when the male hormone testosterone interacts with the enzyme 5-alpha reductase.

Donor Site

Site where hair roots are taken from during transplant surgery.


A medication under development by Glaxo-Welcome for the treatment of BPH, which is a dual inhibitor of the  5-Alpa Reductase enzymes responsible for converting tostosterone to DHT. 


One of a group of hormonal steroid compounds that promote the development of female secondary sex characteristics.


Finasteride is the generic name of the brand name drug Proscar. A drug that binds with the type 2 5-Alpha Reductase enzyme to reduce the amount of DHT in the prostate and serum. Proscar is manufactured by Merck and is FDA approved for the treatment of benign prostate enlargement. 

More recently 1mg tablets of finasteride have been marketed under the brand name Propecia as a treatment for hairloss.


The hair follicle houses the root of the hair.

Follicular Unit

Groupings of hair that grow together and share the same blood supply.

Follicular Hair Transplants

One of the latest technique for conducting hair transplants where surgeons harvest hair from naturally growing sections. 


Pertaining to a substance, product or drug that is not protected by trademark. It is identical in chemical composition but not necessarily equivalent in therapeutic effect.

Gene Therapy

Gene therapy is a treatment method which involves the manipulation  of the genetic makeup. 


Excessive development of the male breasts.

Hair Cloning

A technique under development which could make an unlimited crop of donar hair available for transplanting.

Hair Integration

A modern term used to describe hair weaving.

Hair Weaving

A process by which a hair piece is attached to existing hair on the head through braiding or a weaving process.


Excessive body or facial hair.


Keratin is a type of protein that is present in the hair and nails.


Minoxidil is the generic name of the brand name drug Rogaine. Rogaine is manufactured by Upjohn. Minoxidil is available in the form of a topical lotion with varying strength from 2% to 5%. 

Minoxidil was the first drug to be approved by the FDA for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia.

Micro Graft

A very small hair graft usually consisting of one or two hairs.

Mini Graft

A small hair graft usually consisting of between three to ten hair roots.


The medulla is a central zone of cells usually only present  in large thick hairs.

Norwood Scale

The most commonly used scale for the classification of hair loss.


The small area at the base of the hair root which provides nutrients needed for growth. 


The brand name for finestaride. The only drug approved by the FDA to treat hair loss. 


Pertaining to a drug that is produced for profit.


The brand name for finestaride approved for the treatment of BPH.

Punch Graft

The old fashioned way of removing grafts for hair transplants, usually carried out using an instrument called a trephine

Recipient Site

The bald or thinning area where hair grafts or plugs a transplanted.

Retin-A or Tretinoin

Retin-A is a brand name for a topical gel or cream normally used in the treatment if acne.


The brand name for minoxidil. A topical hair growth solution for hair loss. 

Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto is a natural herb that has been shown to be an effective antiandrogen.


A disease of the skin and connective tissue that can cause hair loss over the affected areas.


Fatty or greasy, usually referring to the oil-secrating glans of the scalp.


The oily secretion of the sebaceous glands of the scalp, composed of keratin, fat or cellular debris. 

Seborrhoeic dermatitis

Seborrhoeic dermatitis has been called a more extensive and severe form of dandruff.


This is a drug normally used to treat high blood pressure, however is also acts as an antiandrogen and is used in the treatment of androgen related disorders such as female pattern baldness and hirsuitism. 


The resting phase in the hair cycle.


A predominantly male hormone which promotes the development of male characteristics.


Means to apply directly onto the scalp.

Traction Alopecia

This refers to hair loss which occurs due to traction being placed on hair. Traction alopecia is commonly seen with braids, pony tails and other hairstyles which cause tension on the scalp.


This form of hair loss is caused by pulling out one's own hair, usually without realising it.


The soft downy hair found covering the body.


The top of the head towards the posterior position, including the area at which the hair grows in a spiral pattern.