What Patients Should Know About the Genetic Factors of Hair Loss

September 8, 2013 — by Robert True
Tags: Hair Loss Balding

Hair Loss / Balding - Genetics and HeredityThere are many different cause of hair loss, but one of the causes that confuses many people is heredity. You've likely heard a lot of talk about signs of balding within your own family, and while there's some truth to these snippets of information, it's not really the whole truth. The team at our hair loss clinics would like to take a brief moment to look at the issue of genetic hair loss and what this means for patients.

Is hair loss / balding genetic?

By and large, genetics and hereditary factors are the leading causes of balding / hair loss, especially in men. Genetic-factor hair loss is known as androgenic alopecia, and it affects roughly 70% of men and 40% of women. In men, this results in typical male pattern baldness, starting from around the temples and working along the rest of the scalp. Women, by contrast, experience thinning of the hair but not total hair loss.

Are there myths or half-truths associated with hair loss and heredity?

Yes, quite a few, actually. One of the biggest half-truths is that if your maternal grandfather was bald, you will be bald as well. This is not entirely true, but it's not entirely false either.

There is a hair loss gene is found in a person's X chromosome, which is inherited from that person's mother. For men (who have an X and a Y chromosome), if the X chromosome does have the baldness gene, there is a 50/50 chance of becoming bald later in life. For women (who have two X chromosomes), both of their X chromosomes must exhibit the hair loss gene for hair thinning to occur later in life.

So is my maternal grandfather a sign that I'll be bald or not?

Genes don't express themselves so simply. To put the above information another way, if your maternal grandfather has a full head of hair, it's no guarantee that you won't go bald later in life because he may still have the hair loss gene; and conversely, if your maternal grandfather is bald, it's not necessarily the case that you will be bald as well since there is still a 50/50 chance of keeping your hair.

What are the facts related to balding and genetics?

The facts are much more complicated than just looking at the X chromosome of pictures of your mom's dad. Science has shown many other genetic factors that contribute to baldness that are not sex-linked, and that there are some contributors to balding and hair loss that are linked to the Y chromosome. Environmental stressors may also affect genetic predispositions for baldness.

If you are experiencing some degree of hair loss, our team of hair restoration specialists can help you address these matters through a variety of treatment options.

Surgical Options for Treating Hair Loss

One of the most popular options for getting a full and natural-looking head of hair is surgical restoration, such as follicular unit transplantation. The results are much more natural than the plugs and techniques of the past

Non-surgical Options for Treating Hair Loss

If you would prefer not undergoing surgery or are not a good candidate for that sort of treatment, there are also a number of non-surgical treatments to consider, such as Rogaine and Propecia, both of which have proven quite successful with numerous patients.

Learn More About Techniques for Hair Restoration

For more information about surgical hair restoration and various non-surgical treatments to address hair loss and balding, be sure to contact our hair restoration surgery centers in New York, Boston, and New Jersey. The entire team at our various practice locations looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve a full and natural head of hair.