Hair Loss and Genetics

by • November 9, 2020 • Random NewsComments (0)587

Yes, hair loss is genetic in most cases. It can be passed onto the next generation. But hair loss can also occur due to certain temporary conditions like weight loss, chemotherapy, or use of other medications. Let’s dive deeper into how the normal hair cycle works and how genetics can affect this cycle to cause hair loss.

The cycle of hair growth: 

Hair growth takes place in three cycles. In the first phase, hair keeps on growing 1-2com every month, and this continues for 2-5 years.  The second phase affects 1-3% of the hair, and this is when hair growth stops. This lasts for 2-3 weeks. The last phase is the resting phase which lasts for 1-4 months. After this cycle is completed, hair undergoes a shedding process where new hair may grow out of existing follicles. If you have hereditary hair loss, the production of certain hormones may affect the regrowth process. 

Blueprint for hair loss:

Your genes will determine the following aspects:

  • When you’ll start experiencing hair loss
  • How fast you’ll lose your hair
  • The extent to which you will lose your hair

Hereditary hair loss is also called male pattern baldness (MPB). This condition affects about 95% of men before the age of 35. Before going for hair loss treatments, you should know more about the genetics of hair loss. 

There are specific receptors on hair follicles called androgen receptors that determine dihydrotestosterone sensitivity. If your receptors are sensitive, then you might experience hair loss. The more sensitive your scalp is to dihydrotestosterone, the shorter your hair’s growth phase. In some cases, the follicles shrink, and hair production is further reduced. The androgen receptor gene is present on the X chromosome due to which it is incorrectly assumed that the gene travels from the mother’s side. This is not true, and MPB can come from both sides of the family. 

Yes, the androgen receptor gene has a major role in hereditary hair loss, but genome researchers have found out that there are different genes on all chromosomes that can be implicated for MPB. Therefore, it is very difficult to determine the contribution of each gene and its interaction with the environment to give rise to a certain phenotype. 

Male hereditary hair loss:

The National Center for Biotechnology Information says that genetics account for 80% of a person’s predisposition to hair loss and that this tendency comes from both parents. 

Female hereditary hair loss:

Women can be affected by female pattern baldness at any age, similar to men. Though, it commonly affects women after menopause. In most cases, the process starts in the late thirties or early forties but only becomes more noticeable after menopause. 

The process of hair loss is similar to men, although a clear link has yet not been proven. Females usually produce lighter pigmented hair that is very fine and brittle. 

How can hereditary hair loss treatment?

Losing hair is a normal process associated with aging, but abnormal hair loss should be identified, and proper care should be taken to avoid total hair loss. There is no cure for baldness, but certain treatments can help control it. 

There are different treatments available in the market. These include topical solutions like Minoxidil. While there are oral pills like Finasteride which can stop hair fall. Some cases may require clinical treatments like plasma rich platelets or hair transplant. The course of treatment can be best decided by your doctor, so you must consult him. 

Photo by Sholto Ramsay on Unsplash

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