Hair loss works in mysterious ways, and whenever the topic comes up, someone always raises the question of genetics.
Is it true that baldness is inherited, and if so, how big of an impact does family history have on the overall hair loss equation?
Many folks also want to know how the environment plays into the equation, too. Is it possible to override our genetics and fight hair loss by leading a better lifestyle?
We’re here to provide you with an overview of the hereditary aspect of hair loss, and what you need to know when combatting baldness with the cards you’re dealt.
Passed Down Through Generations
The most common assessment of genetic influence on hair loss is that it’s “passed down” from one generation to the next. The layman version of the story attributes the hair loss “gene” to the maternal side, suggesting that a man’s grandfather on his mother’s side will be the best predictor of his follicular destiny.
Does this theory hold water in the scientific community, or is it just a wives’ tale?
According to the genetics experts at Helix, this idea takes root from the fact that the AR gene, which codes for the androgen receptor protein, is located on the X chromosome, and thereby inherited from the mother.
This begs the question: how much does the AR protein contribute to hair loss?
Scientists have concluded that this protein definitely plays a role in how hair is distributed around the scalp, and can also dictate how much the hair grows in those designated areas.
More importantly, the AR protein determines when a man’s hair grows over the course of his life, which brings us to our next point regarding hair cycles. The most powerful evidence for the hereditary nature of hair loss comes from research in this area.
Scientists have discovered that genetics can greatly impact hair cycles, too. This means that there is a clear genetic encoding for when hair cycles begin and end, and how much growth the follicles generate at various stages of life.
The conversion of testosterone to DHT is the other big piece of the hair loss puzzle that is widely regarded as an inherited trait. This chemical process is thought to determine when a man begins to lose his hair, how rapidly the loss takes place and the likelihood that he will be able to recover with the use of treatment.
Female Hair Thinning
A lot of the hair loss conversation centers on male-pattern balding, but there are millions of women around the world who struggle with losing their hair in a different way.
While men typically experience the patchy, horseshoe-bald hair loss pattern, women tend to see an overall thinning of the hair as they reach a later age.
The truth is, after menopause, women can experience hair thinning at an accelerated rate, and they may seek ways to improve the strength and vigor of their hair as a result.
Like their male counterparts, hair thinning in women is considered to be largely genetic.
Hairline lowering is one of the most popular procedures for women in this predicament, and thousands of positive testimonials confirm it to be among the best options available.
Scientists have been hard at work for decades trying to decode the genetic components of baldness, but as we can see from the evidence above, they haven’t reached any definitive conclusions about heredity.
On the other side of the debate is how environment plays into balding, which is becoming a more widely discussed part of the conversation.
Take circulation, for example. A man or woman can improve their cardiovascular health through diet, exercise, and smoking cessation, all of which have been linked to improved hair growth.
Supplementation is also a factor. Too many of us are deficient in vital nutrients and minerals, meaning our bodies are not operating at full capacity.
There’s no denying that an overall healthy lifestyle can boost the body’s functionality, but whether or not it has a real impact on hair growth is inconclusive.
It is better to be safe than sorry and live a healthy life regardless, because daily stress, poor diet, and other negative conditions will only accelerate the rate at which you lose your hair.
In other words, there is no downside to being a healthy person, so make that commitment early!
Common Balding Myths
It’s hard to say for sure whether the X-chromosome inheritance of the AR gene is the make-or-break factor in male pattern baldness. Scientific debates can seem to continue forever.
Rather than getting stuck in the weeds, there are more devious balding myths you need to debunk right away.
According to a list from U.S. News, there are a lot of crazy rumors floating around about hair loss!
For starters, let’s get rid of the notion that only old folks experience hair loss.
Men and women can both experience balding or thinning as early as their 20’s, and there are plenty of elderly folks with youthful hairlines out there! That is some strong evidence supporting the genetic influence on hair loss.
On the environmental side of the aisle, the article demolishes the idea that wearing tight-fitting caps can accelerate thinning and male pattern baldness. That is misinformation as well, although dirty hats can lead to infection and hurt healthy hair.
Some people think that simply having more testosterone is a sure way to go bald early, when in fact it is the conversion of this hormone to DHT that ultimately determines hair loss.
As you can see, there is much more nuance to the hair loss conversation than you think, which just goes to show that nobody has all the answers.
Winning the Battle
Regardless of how baldness or thinning comes about, those battling hair loss at any stage of life want to know one thing above all else: how to fix it.
Just as the New Zealand Health Navigator declares, the best way to win the fight against balding is to identify the problem and address it early on.
So you’ve done the right thing and caught male pattern baldness at the earliest signs. What now? There are a number of powerful solutions on the market, and you will likely need the support of a high-level hair restoration professional to assist you on the journey.
Whether you decide to hop on a regimen of Finasteride and Minoxidil, or proceed to the clinic straight away for a follicular unit transplant or follicular unit excision hair restoration procedure, you have more options than you think.
Don’t let genetics be an excuse for not taking action to battle hair loss. Accept that some things are out of your control and make the best decision moving forward with input from the pros.
Ask 10 hair loss experts on the genetic components of balding, and you’ll get 10 distinct varying answers.
The jury may still be out on the specifics, but a general consensus has been reached in the industry: balding is largely hereditary, but environmental factors definitely play a role.
Just remember that real-world solutions are more important than debate.
What matters most is catching the signs of balding or hair thinning early on and making sure you tackle the trend head-on.
Do everything in your power to address hair loss quickly and you can win the fight!
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