Genetic Hair Loss: The Impact of Genes, Hormones, and Age
Science has tried to determine the cause of hair loss for many centuries, and at this point, we know genetics to be the main factor.
Baldness is genetic for both men and women, meaning their hair loss is at least somewhat determined by the traits they inherit from previous generations. While no two hair loss cases are exactly alike, we’ve seen patterns emerge over time that reveals how genes, hormones, and age can all contribute to the issue.
There are other causes for hair loss that aren’t as well-researched, but we’re looking specifically at the genetic factors at play resulting in hair loss for men and women.
From there, we can get a better understanding of what treatments and procedures can help slow loss and even restore hair in some cases.
Family History Truths and Myths
Despite a wealth of research from the world’s best scientists, many of us still buy into the same old stories about hair loss’s genetic component.
You’ve probably heard that the trait for hair loss in men is inherited through the mother, and you should therefore look to the men on your mother’s side of the family to see a glimpse of the future for your own hair.
You might also hear that factors like high testosterone are correlated with thinning, which is why you see so many high-level strength athletes with big muscles and bald heads.
Not to say that these assessments are totally unfounded, but the correlations aren’t exactly clear. As with any aspect of science, things are never so cut and dry.
What’s more important is figuring out the facts about genetics and hair loss to identify a proven path to restoration and recovery.
Androgens and DHT
We know that hair loss appears to have a close connection with the AR gene, which dictates androgen receptor protein production in the male system. This is crucial because the AR protein plays a key role in determining hair cycles, i.e., how long it takes for a follicle on the scalp to live and die.
There is a huge variation in the length of hair cycles, ranging anywhere from two to six years. It appears to be the job of the AR protein to tell these follicles how much to grow and how long to stay in place. This is the origin of the term Androgenetic Alopecia, also known as Male Pattern Balding.
AR proteins are just part of the story, however. DHT is commonly cited as the culprit that interferes with the healthy growth and development of follicles on the scalp, especially in men. DHT is one of the many compounds that result from the breakdown of testosterone, which is why people draw that common connection.
One of our clues to the role of DHT is identifying concentrations in the scalp itself, revealed by the Norwood Scale Chart used to diagnose men’s hair loss. Medications like Finasteride also aim to manipulate DHT levels and have shown to be effective in slowing hair loss.
The Age Factor
We tend to associate age with hair loss, but there’s a genetic component to hair loss, too. Once a man has gone through puberty, his balding chances increase dramatically due to the rapid increase in testosterone, which rises with each consecutive year.
The common wisdom is that balding is roughly 1% more likely to occur with every year of aging, meaning that by the time a man is in his 50s, it’s essentially a coin flip.
With women, menopause appears to be the main factor in determining hair loss, which generally occurs as thinning along the center “part” of the scalp. Once again, the thinning becomes more likely with age, as hormone levels change and genetics express themselves.
To address this issue, women may turn to products such as Minoxidil, which have a strong track record of stopping and possibly reversing the trend of thinning hair on the scalp.
Hormones and Health
There’s no denying the genetic component of hair loss, but you can help your cause by staying in good health and optimizing your hormonal profile. Genetics might determine the eventual fate of your hair loss, but lifestyle factors and smart choices can push the timeline back further than you might think.
For example, a man might be genetically inclined to start balding in his mid-40s, but a stressful life filled with junk food and lack of activity might cause his hair to fall out much sooner. Alternatively, a well-rounded diet, exercise regimen, and low-stress life could allow him to keep his hair for longer than expected.
It’s also recommended that men avoid supernatural levels of exogenous hormones like testosterone or other performance enhancers since these do have a closer correlation with DHT production and hair loss.
The key is to optimize your lifestyle and give your body the best fuel and fitness routine to stay healthy inside and out. Your hairline will thank you for it!
We know enough about hair loss to look at factors like genetics, hormones, and age. The important part is taking this information and using it for good.
This is where a hair loss specialist can give you life-changing advice on slowing the balding process and even bringing some of your lost hair back. Rather than talking to your general practitioner about hair loss, team up with an expert in the field to get the best possible treatment.
Whether it’s Finasteride, Minoxidil, natural supplements, and shampoos, or a more serious procedure like Follicle Unit Excision, your hair loss doctor will map out the best route forward based on experience and skill.
How Dr. Jae Pak Can Help
The impact of genes on hair loss is not crystal clear. But our understanding improves each year, allowing us to deliver better treatments and preventive strategies to patients at every level.
Still, you have so many questions about hair transplants: Is it safe? Will it hurt? What kind of results can I expect? Hair transplants are not a common topic of discussion. So, who do you turn to?
A successful transplant process starts with a consultation with a hair transplant expert who truly wants to understand your personal goals. Dr. Jae Pak of Jae Pak, M.D. Medical is a board-certified physician and a hair transplant artist with over 15 years experience. With a complementary background in engineering, Dr. Pak uses precision-like skill to bring his patients a natural and balanced hair line they can be proud of.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Pak today and discover what hair transplants can do for you.