Because all of our hormones are raging during puberty, androgenetic alopecia can begin as early as a person’s teens, and risk increases with age. By age 35, approximately two-thirds of men will have lost at least a little hair, and by 50, about 85 percent have said goodbye or experienced hair thinning, according to the American Hair Loss Association . In women, the condition can also develop early but usually occurs after menopause — this effect isn’t caused by higher testosterone levels, but rather a sharp drop in other hormone levels. And while men typically lose their hair in a defined pattern — think a widow’s peak and a bald crown — women lose hair and experience thinning all over, although they never fully go bald.
Clinical research still hasn’t determined a hard threshold level for when symptoms of low T begin appearing . Some recent research suggests that symptoms of low T might begin appearing in men when their total testosterone level dips below 320 ng/dl . According to anecdotal evidence from the owner of Peak Testosterone, many men start noticing low T symptoms when their total testosterone dips into the 400s . Of course, it’s anecdotal, so take it for what it’s worth, but it’s probably a good idea to stay above 500 ng/dl if you don’t want to experience symptoms of low T.
What researchers have found is that individual hair follicles have different expression of genes within the follicle. Each gene expression reacts differently to androgen. Some genes inhibit follicle health and some increase follicle health. Since each follicle is independent of one another, each gene expression is also independent of one another. This is why hair transplants work. The follicles on your head might be dying, but the ones in other areas of your body are not, so doctors can simply move them. The transplanted hair follicle will not die because the genes associated with that follicle are not negatively affected by androgen, no matter what area of the body they’re in. Nothing like back hair on your head! The process that allows a specific gene to be expressed in a certain follicle isn’t yet understood. What is known is that the programming occurs in the pattern processing during development.