Hair & Skin Glossary

Human skin. Layered epidermis with hair follicle, sweat and sebaceous glands. Healthy skin anatomy medical vector illustration

5-alpha-reductase is the enzyme which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone that triggers Androgenic 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 Areata

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

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 hair loss which occurs over the entire body.


This is the term for the growing phase of the hair cycle which lasts five-seven years in a healthy person.

Androgenic Alopecia

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


Androgens are male sex hormones.


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

Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid is commonly used in the treatment of acne and other skin conditions.


This is the end of the active growth period of a hair follicle, and is marked by changes 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 from a single common cell.

Coronal angled grafting (a.k.a. lateral grafts)

Grafts are placed into recipient sites made with a very small rectangular blade that pierced the skin at right angles to the hair direction.


The cortex is the principal structural component of the hair shaft.


The area at the top of the head

Cyproterone Acetate

Cyproterone Acetate is an anti-androgen. It is prescribed to treat hirsutism and androgenic 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 (5-alpha dihydrotestosterone)

DHT is a male hormone that is suggested to be the main cause for the miniaturization of the hair follicle and subsequent hair loss. DHT is formed from the male hormone testosterone by the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase.

Donor Site

The site where hair follicles are harvested during transplant surgery


Medication for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It is an inhibitor of type 1 and type 2 5-alpha- reductase enzymes responsible for converting testosterone to DHT.


Finasteride is the generic name of a drug that binds with type 2 5-alpha-reductase enzyme to reduce the amount of DHT in the prostate and serum. Finasteride is approved by the FDA for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) as Proscar® 5mg daily dose and hair loss as Propecia® 1mg daily dose.


The follicle is a tube-like structure in the skin in which develops a hair shaft.

Follicular Unit

Groupings of 1-4 hairs that grow together

Follicular Unit Transplantation

A recent technique in hair transplantation where the naturally occurring follicular units of hair follicles are implanted as a natural group.


Pertaining to a substance, product or drug that is non- proprietary

Hair Cloning

A technique under development, which could make an unlimited crop of donor 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 collective name for a group of proteins that are present in the hair and nails.

Ludwig Scale

Classification of female pattern hair loss


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

Micro Graft

A very small hair graft usually consisting of one or two follicles

Mini Graft

A small hair graft usually consisting of between three to ten hair follicles


Minoxidil is the generic name of the brand name drug Rogaine®. Minoxidil is a topical lotion available over-the- counter in 2% to 5% solution. Minoxidil was the first drug to be approved by the FDA for the treatment of androgenic alopecia.

Norwood/Hamilton Scale

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


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


Bulb-like indentation at the bottom of the follicle which contains a vascular loop for nourishment


A brand name for finasteride 1mg, approved for the treatment of male pattern hair loss.


Pertaining to a drug that is produced and still under patent by a pharmaceutical company


The brand name for finasteride 5mg, approved for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (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 into which hair grafts or plugs are transplanted.

Retin-A or Tretinoin

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


The brand name for minoxidil, a topical lotion for the treatment of hair loss.

Sagittal Angled Grafting

Grafts are placed into recipient sites made with a very small rectangular blade that pierced the skin parallel to the hair direction.

Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto is a plant native to North America. It may have some, unproven therapeutic benefits for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It does not lower DHT or testosterone levels and has never been shown to increase hair growth.


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

Sebaceous glands

These are sebum (oil) producing glands found in the skin throughout the body except in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis

Seborrhoeic dermatitis is an extensive and severe form of dandruff.


The oily secretion of the sebaceous glands of the scalp composed of oils and cellular debris.


This drug acts as an antiandrogen and is used in the treatment of androgen-related disorders such as female pattern baldness and hirsutism.


The resting phase of the hair cycle


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


Means to apply directly onto the skin

Traction Alopecia

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


Describes damage to hair follicles that can decrease survival after transplantation


A compulsion to pull out one‟s own hair


The soft downy hair found covering the body.

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