Does My Genetics Play a Role in My Hair Loss?
12 / 14 / 21

Does My Genetics Play a Role in My Hair Loss?

Often thought of as a predominantly male issue, thinning hair and hair loss can affect anyone, regardless of gender. Many factors such as stress, nutrition, medications, and hormones can trigger hair loss. Still, genetics play a significant role in determining how much hair loss you will experience as you age.

Hereditary Hair Loss Explained

Hereditary hair loss, often referred to as male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness, is caused by genetics and occurs in a predictable pattern. Androgenetic alopecia, the medical term for male and female pattern baldness, is the most common cause of hair loss.

In men, the condition typically starts with a receding hairline and the familiar M-shaped recession at the front of the scalp. In some men, the hair loss can begin as early as their 20's and nearly 80% of men experience male pattern baldness by the age of 80. Women often experience female pattern baldness after menopause. While women do not usually experience complete baldness like men, they often first notice thinning in the part of their hair, followed by thinning all over the scalp. Nearly half of all women will experience female pattern baldness by the age of 80.

Male Pattern Baldness

The genetic component of male and female pattern baldness is still not fully understood. While the condition has often been thought to be inherited solely from the mother's father, hereditary baldness involves more than one parent or gene. Your chromosomes determine everything about you, including the color of your hair and eyes, the length of your middle toe, and your genetic disposition to hair loss.

One of these pairs, known as the "X" and "Y" chromosomes, determines your biological sex. Men are born with one "X" and one "Y" chromosome, while women have two "X" chromosomes. Research has found that hereditary baldness is closely related to a gene in the "X" chromosome. In addition, studies have found that while men with this specific gene are twice as likely to experience male pattern baldness, it is not the only gene that determines whether you'll go bald. In fact, a 2017 review published in the National Library of Medicine identified 63 genes that are believed to play a role in genetic hair loss.

Cases of both male and female pattern baldness are often common among people whose fathers experienced noticeable hair loss. While many contributing factors determine when and if a person will experience hair loss, one theory is that an enzyme in the body converts testosterone into a hormone called dihydrotestosterone. DHT can shrink your hair follicles, causing hair to grow thinner and more brittle and fall out faster.

How You Can Slow Your Hair Loss

While genetic hair loss is hereditary and can't be reversed, there are steps you can take to minimize your hair loss and maximize your hair's growth potential.

  • Healthy lifestyle habits. Eating a well-balanced diet, minimizing stress, getting adequate sleep, and regular exercise can improve your overall health and the health of your hair.
  • Topical medications. Topical medications are applied directly to the affected area of the scalp and are often the first line of treatment.
  • Oral medications. FDA-approved oral medications are sometimes prescribed to help slow hair loss.
  • Laser light therapy. Laser therapy uses low-level laser light to help improve circulation to the affected area.

Does My Genetics Play a Role in My Hair Loss?

Regardless of gender, your family history and genetics play a key role in hair loss. While genetic hair loss is permanent, there are several steps you can take to slow your hair loss and stimulate the growth of new hair. At New Image, our team of professionals are experts at helping to determine the cause of your hair loss and can help recommend treatment options that will enable you to keep your full head of hair. To learn more about what you can do about genetic hair loss, contact us today and schedule your FREE initial consultation.