Which physical findings are characteristic of androgenetic alopecia?

Updated: Feb 12, 2018
  • Author: Robert P Feinstein, MD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

In both males and females with androgenetic alopecia, the transition from large, thick, pigmented terminal hairs to thinner, shorter, indeterminate hairs and finally to short, wispy, nonpigmented vellus hairs in the involved areas is gradual. As the androgenetic alopecia progresses, the anagen phase shortens with the telogen phase remaining constant. As a result, more hairs are in the telogen phase, and the patient may notice an increase in hair shedding. The end result can be an area of total denudation. This area varies from patient to patient and is usually most marked at the vertex.

Women with androgenetic alopecia generally lose hair diffusely over the crown. This produces a gradual thinning of the hair rather than an area of marked baldness. The part is widest anteriorly. The frontal hairline is often preserved in women with this disorder; in contrast, men note a gradual recession of the frontal hairline early in the process.


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