What Is The Role Of Genetics In Hair Loss?
Losing your hair can be a tough experience for a man. It might even make you feel like less of a man, even though not having a full head of hair is pretty common. Especially as you age, thinning hair and bald spots are often part of the parcel.
If you’ve been affected by a thinning hairline, you might be wondering what role do genetics play in hair loss? Or maybe you’re wondering whether you need to start taking tablets for hair loss, and whether that’s safe? (It’s good to know you have options if you feel the need to seek treatment).
Here are some facts on the role that genes play in male pattern baldness, as well as some advice on taking common hair loss treatments like Propecia (and how they work).
Hair loss genes can be passed down by either parent
According to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a hair loss tendency on both sides of the family is suggestive of a person’s predisposition to hair loss, with heredity accounting for 80% of the condition.
Not only can you inherit similar hair loss patterns from your parents, but you can also inherit a sensitivity to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a male sex hormone that causes hair follicles to thin out and miniaturize over time, which is what leads to male pattern baldness.
Look at your mother’s side of the family (as well as your dad’s) to get a proper feel for what your hairline might look like in 10-20 years.
There is no single gene for baldness
Male pattern baldness (MPB) is a genetic condition that accounts for more than 95% of hair loss in men and affects two out of every three guys by the time they are 35.
It’s determined by your hair follicles’ sensitivity to DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, an androgen (male sex hormone) that is a byproduct of testosterone. The androgen receptor (AR) gene creates the receptor on hair follicles that interact with testosterone and DHT, and if your receptors are sensitive, hair loss can occur.
The androgen receptor is on the X chromosome, which is what leads many people to incorrectly assume that male pattern baldness comes from the mother’s side of the family.
In fact, it can actually come from either side of the family. (Quick lesson, in case you snoozed off during your high school biology: A male inherits the X chromosome from his mother and the Y chromosome from his father.)
Baldness doesn’t only come from genetics
If your DNA test says you’re likely to go bald, remember that it’s one of many factors that lead to hair loss. Even though the majority of cases of male pattern baldness do stem from genetics, there are other factors that can’t easily be determined from DNA testing kits like lifestyle and stress.
Remember, it’s important to contact a physician if you start experiencing hair loss because it could foreshadow serious health issues.
Here are some non-hereditary issues that can lead to hair loss:
- Autoimmune diseases like Lupus
Remember: Just because your grandpa went bald at 30, doesn’t mean you will!
New hair loss treatments
While you might not be that concerned about losing your hair and are quite content to shave it off, some men might feel the need to proactively address hair loss and seek treatment.
Especially if you’ve unexpectedly started to lose hair at a younger age, getting hair loss treatment might feel more important to you.
These days, there are plenty of affordable hair loss treatments, including prescription hair loss tablets, as well as over the counter creams and shampoos.
On the prescription side, Propecia (UK) is a very popular branded hair loss tablet with great reviews (active ingredient: finasteride).
Buying Propecia online is easy enough if you use an online pharmacy, but make sure you’re using a reputable one with a good online doctor. It’s important you make sure that the treatment is right for you first.
One month of Propecia will set you back about £50 in the UK, though the price does lower if you order Propecia in bulk.
You might also want to try other hair loss treatments such as: over the counter shampoos, cheaper and generic Propecia sold as Finasteride, other prescription tables like Avodart or Regaine, or even hair surgery (quite extreme and expensive, but possible).
Make sure you always read the label carefully and discuss your health in detail with your doctor before commencing a course of Propecia or any other popular hair loss pill.