Hypotrichosis: Definition & Treatment

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson goes over a condition known as hypotrichosis. You'll learn what it is, how it's different from more famous forms of lack of hair, and if there are any treatments for it.

Hair Loss

You're probably pretty well aware that many people, especially men, suffer from hair loss as they get older. There are many names for this kind of hair loss, including (fe)male pattern baldness, androgenic alopecia, androgenetic alopecia, and others.

But this is not the same thing as hypotrichosis. In this lesson, you're going to find out what this condition is and if it has any treatments.

Hypotrichosis

Hypotrichosis comes to us from 'hypo-', which denotes a deficient amount of something,'-trich-', which refers to hair and '-osis', which refers to an abnormal condition of some sort. So, in literal terms hypotrichosis refers to an abnormal condition involving a deficiency of hair.

Now, in some sense, you might think that hypotrichosis also involves the forms of hair loss we discussed in the introduction since a man with androgenetic alopecia is deficient in hair in a sense. But this isn't what the term hypotrichosis implies in practice.

See, sometimes in medicine, conditions that involve a lack of something immediately from birth (or shortly thereafter) have the prefix of 'a-' or 'hypo-'. In such cases, the prefix implies a deficiency right at or near the start of life. In other words, there was a deficiency of hair from birth. It wasn't lost over time as with aging men and their hair loss.

Most of the different types of conditions that lead to hypotrichosis occur due to genetic issues or as a result of the improper development in the womb.

Treatment

Unfortunately, there really is no treatment for most forms of hypotrichosis as they are genetic or congenital issues, which are often hard or impossible to treat. Some exceptions exist, however. For instance, hypotrichosis that affects a person's eyelashes, might be treated with a medication known as Latisse, the brand name for bimatoprost. This medication might help a person grow longer, thicker and/or darker eyelashes.

People with hypotrichosis may also consider the use of wigs.

Lesson Summary

Hypotrichosis refers to a sparsity of hair that is present right at or soon after birth. This is not the same thing as androgenetic alopecia, which is where a person is born with and develops normal amounts of hair, but loses it with age.

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