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The Baldness Gene: Can Your Genetics Predict Hair Loss?

Have you ever questioned why some people are born with gorgeous locks of hair while others experience an early onset of baldness?

Genetics can play a big role in hair loss, and we're here to talk about the baldness gene, try to dispel a common balding myth, and discover ways to slow down hereditary hair loss.

What is the Baldness gene?

photo of DNA strands

The "Baldness gene" is real, and it's not only one gene. The most popular is the androgen receptor gene or the AR gene, which is linked to the development of hair follicles. Other genes linked to hair loss include the 20p11 gene, which is responsible for the production of prostaglandin D2, which is known to inhibit hair growth. The FoxC1 gene is another recently identified gene known to regulate hair follicle development. Lastly, the LSS gene may also cause hair loss as it can lead to lower production of lanosterol.

Male pattern baldness

photo of man with male pattern baldness

Androgenetic alopecia is the medical term for male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness.

To know the prediction of male pattern hair loss, it starts as an M-shaped recession at the front of your scalp.

The male pattern baldness gene causes forehead and temple hair loss first, then moves backward, eventually causing total or partial hair loss on the sides and top of your head.

Female pattern baldness

photo of woman losing hair

Female pattern baldness, on the other hand, begins with the Ludwig pattern hair loss and is often experienced after menopause. Female pattern hair loss differs from male pattern baldness because women have no receding hairline. What you'll notice is hair loss at the crown of the head.

Is hair loss hereditary?

Yes, hair loss can be hereditary, with an estimated 80% of androgenetic alopecia arising from genetics. We also need to consider that hair structure genes determine hair size, shape, and texture, and mutations may cause hair loss.

Which side of the family does your baldness gene come from?

One of the baldness myths we need to address is believing that if your mother's father is bald, you're surely going bald. Another myth is that if your grandfather went bald in his 20s, you should expect to start losing your hair around the same age.

Baldness genes can come from both sides of your family.

Does baldness skip a generation?

Baldness genes may skip generations, which means you may have male pattern baldness while your brother has a full head of hair. If you notice most men in your mother's and father's families are bald, then there's a higher chance that you'll go bald as well.

Genetic factors may play a part in determining your fate when it comes to hair loss, but it's not easy to predict male pattern baldness.

Can you stop genetic hair loss?

Unfortunately, genetic hair loss can't be stopped or reversed. You can either slow it down, treat hair loss, or choose to rock your baldness like me.

Early onset androgenetic alopecia hit my dad in his 30s, while I started noticing severe hair loss in my 40s.

What Does it Mean if My DNA Test Says I am Likely to Go Bald?

photo of soldier getting swabbed for DNA test

DNA tests, while increasingly popular, aren't foolproof. Typically, these tests involve simply providing a saliva sample, which is then analyzed in a lab. Despite their simplicity, the results aren't always accurate. This is especially true for non-Caucasian populations, where the data may be less reliable or lead to incorrect conclusions.

It's important to understand that having a gene linked to baldness in your DNA doesn't guarantee you'll go bald. You might carry and even pass on this gene without experiencing baldness yourself. Thus, DNA test results should be seen as predictions, not definitive diagnoses.

What Are Other Causes of Baldness?

While genetic and environmental factors play a significant role in hair loss, they're only part of the puzzle. Other factors include lifestyle, stress, diet, medications, and hairstyles.

Stress

Do you notice more hair falling out when you're stressed out? I do. When I'm stressed, I develop bald spots on my head, which grow back when the stress is gone. Stress makes our bodies produce more of the cortisol hormone, which can damage hair follicles.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss where your immune system attacks your hair follicles, resulting in bald patches. The condition can be triggered by stress or certain medications.

Telogen Effluvium

This condition is characterized by sudden and large amounts of hair loss due to stress, hormonal changes, or medications.

Before you choose a treatment, you need to consider all factors that contribute to hair loss.

Medications

Certain medications like chemotherapy, high blood pressure, seizure drugs, and antacids can cause hair loss by damaging hair follicles.

How to Slow Down or Treat Baldness?

Eat a healthy diet

A diet that's rich in vitamins and minerals can help slow down hair loss.

Avoid tight hairstyles

Hairstyles that put stress on your hair can lead to traction alopecia. Avoid tight ponytails and hats that are too tight.

Quit Smoking

Smoking may cause hair loss by destroying the remaining hair follicles you have. If you want to take care of the remaining hair on your head, quit smoking.

Topical Medications

Rogaine is a popular solution for treating hair loss. Initially used to treat hypertension, patients started to report unusual hair growth after taking minoxidil. It works by increasing the blood flow to your hair follicles to stimulate hair growth. It is available in a topical solution or foam.

Oral Medications

Propecia or Finasteride may be prescribed by your doctor to treat male pattern baldness. It works by blocking the production of the DHT hormone, which is connected with hair loss. Finasteride is also used to treat prostate problems.

Hair Transplant Surgery

If you don't mind surgery, a hair transplantation surgery may solve your hair loss problem. Hair follicles are harvested from other parts of your scalp or donor areas into balding spots.

For me, anything that involves drugs and surgery is a red flag. I'm not ready to risk my health for a few extra hairs on my head.

Scalp Micro Pigmentation

If you don't mind having a tattoo on your head, then scalp micropigmentation may be a good option. This non-surgical treatment for hair thinning involves tattooing the scalp to create the illusion of a buzz cut or having short hair. While it's good at hiding hair loss, it's not permanent. You may need to repeat the process every few years.

Hair Shaving

Imagine waking up clean-shaven, worry-free, happy, and confidently bald.

No more counting the strands of hair on your pillow or stressing out why your hair growth product is taking too long to work.

Break free from worrying about hair loss, damaged hair follicles, and hair growth products that don't work. Focus on enhancing what you have compared to what you're losing.

Hair doesn't define who you are as a person. Try to look at those who have chosen head shaving, and they look better shaved.

Ready to join the club?

Conclusion

bald and bearded man shaving his head smiling while sitting in his car

Genetic hair loss is not the only factor in male pattern baldness, but it plays a big role. Now that we understand the baldness gene and various factors that can affect hair growth, we can determine the best course of action moving forward.

The battle against male and female pattern hair loss can be exhausting and frustrating.

If you've grown tired of fighting hair loss, especially now that you know you can't win, head shaving is always a good option to consider.

Happy Shaving!

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