Research Article| Volume 6, ISSUE 4, P218-227, October 1988

Androgenetic alopecia and hair growth promotion state of the art: Present and future

  • Vera H. Price
    Address for correspondence: Vera H. Price, MD, 2350 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94115.
    From the Departments of Dermatology, University of California School of Medicine and Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Francisco, California USA
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      Our current knowledge of androgenetic alopecia and hair follicle metabolism and control has evolved from four phases of scientific evolution. In the first phase, which I have called the era of science, investigators made strides in understanding androgen metabolism in general and clarified the role of androgens in androgenetic alopecia in particular. This phase was followed by what I have labeled the era of antiandrogens when they were sought as the ideal and only treatment for androgenetic alopecia. Though valid, this approach has proved to be limited. The third phase of scientific progress, the era of biologic response modifiers, evolved when investigators discovered a group of unrelated drugs that promoted hair growth. These drugs have a variety of physiologic effects and may act synergistically to stimulate hair follicle growth. Finally, we are on the threshold of the fourth phase, the era of predictability, in which research efforts will focus on finding the active hair growth-promoting sites on these drug molecules, and on clarifying how these drugs, such as minoxidil, stimulate hair growth on physiologic, pharmacologic, biochemical, and molecular levels.
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