Is baldness hereditary?
When recovery is concerned, genetic hair loss is one of the hardest to recover from because fighting your own genetics isn’t child’s play. It takes a lot to overcome and reverse something that is programmed into you since birth.
Of all sorts of genetic defects that run down with the family tree, one of the most common and emotionally devastating one is Pattern Baldness.
The Golden Questions
‘If my uncle has hair loss, will I have it too?’
Well, the answer would be yes and no.
‘What if my father and my uncle both have Male Pattern Baldness?’
Well then, it would be still be a yes and no.
‘How about most males in my family have baldness?’
There is still a chance that you may avoid it!
That is the beauty of genetics, there is no way to actually know whether you will inherit that defective gene or not. The genes can stay dormant and skip a few generations before it hits you.
The field of genetics itself is a very broad and sophisticated field where there is still a lot to learn.
In fact, scientists had just managed to map the human genome less than a decade ago.
There are still many questions regarding genetics and hair loss that scientists have yet to answer, but it’s very clear that your genes play a crucial role deciding whether you will be bald or not when the time comes.
Hereditary Hair Loss Signs
Genes are our life blueprint. Imagine them as the engineers of our body. They tell our body how it is built. When you are born, you get 2 copies each your genes from your mother and father.
- you get both copies of your parents characteristics (ie. Hair Color)
- if your father’s genes are dominant, you will end up with your father’s hair color.
- Your father gets his from his parents too. So if one of your father genes are dominant, you might end up with your father’s family side hair color too.
So when the genes are passed down, you get a combination of genes that are good and bad acquired through your family tree. Its just a matter of whether which genes will be dominant. Same as the genes for your hair.
Confused? You are not alone with that feeling.
The top part of the diagram show X and O are both genes traits. If your paternal grandparents both have genes X and O, the will pass them down to your father. Same goes to your mother’s parents. Then both your parents will pass this genetic copies to you. You will have an average chance to get the X gene to be the dominant gene.
In the lower diagram, if your father’s parents both got the X genes, your father will get both the X genes. If your mother’s parents got both an X and O, your mother will have both of the gene copies and as she passes it to you. So your chances of getting the X gene is higher but that does not mean you will surely get it.
It’s all about the luck!
How Genetic Hair Loss Starts
Like all other genetic defects, genes are passed down through generations from both sides of your family. That explains why you might have your father’s nose or your grandmother’s eyes and now, probably your relative’s bald head too.
In Pattern Baldness, the hair loss genes allow certain concentration of hair follicles on your head to react and interact with Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the male hormone that causes hair loss. When DHT attaches itself to the androgen receptors, it brings negative effects to the hair follicle, preventing normal growth thus leading to miniaturization and consequently hair loss.
Not every hair follicle is affected though. Hair follicles that are concentrated at the sides and back of your scalp are less sensitive to the effects of DHT, therefore they are not highly influenced by the hormones thus spared from the effects too. That is why Male Pattern Baldness are common on the top and front part of the scalp only.
It Affects Both Men and Women as Well
Although the chances of women getting Androgenic Alopecia are less common than men, women can get it too. The male hormone Testosterone which is dominant in males, is also found in women. The female hormone Estrogen however, keeps the Testosterone in check from causing hair loss.
During menopause, where the Estrogen levels decrease, women are more susceptible to the effects of Testosterone. An increase in Testosterone coupled with several factors like stress can lead to Female Pattern Baldness.
At the present moment, scientists and researchers are still finding ways to locate the genes that causes genetic hair loss. So what you can do is to reduce your DHT levels in your head. That in part will slow down your hair loss. Find a suitable regimen of hair treatments to increase your hair growth and strengthen your hair.