Hair Loss Genetics: Does Hair Loss Skip a Generation?
Hair loss can be caused by genetics among other factors. So, if the men in your family are balding or if you’re noticing the women in your family experiencing general thinning around their scalps, you’re likely wondering whether you’re next.
Well, you do have a genetic predisposition to male/female pattern baldness, but whether or not it will affect you is not a yes or no answer. It’s a bit more complex than that. Let’s dive into the details.
What Is Genetic Male or Female Pattern Baldness?
Male/female pattern baldness is a genetic condition. According to a study, 79% of it is heritable so it “runs in the family.” It is triggered by the inability of your body’s hair-making cells to work as they should.
The condition is dictated by complex factors like androgens, and it can be inherited from the father or mother’s side of the family, not just the parents.
That said, genetic influence is more prominent on the mother’s side of the family. This is because the primary gene for baldness — the androgen receptors (AR) — is on the X (female) chromosome. This means you’re more likely to inherit the balding gene from your mother’s side of the family rather than your father’s.
That does not mean you’re in the clear if your father is not balding. This is because your father’s genetic makeup contains an X and Y chromosome which could cause male pattern baldness. There are also other factors and genetic sequences involved which could increase or decrease your chances of going bald.
What Happens if You Have the Trait for Male or Female Pattern Baldness?
If you’ve inherited the genes/traits for male or female pattern baldness, baldness is a likely possibility in your future. It could cause you to lose all or some of your hair depending on your gender.
As of now, there are no definite ways to test whether you’ve inherited the gene, but you can look out for signs. Acting on such a likelihood can help you diagnose the condition early on and get the treatment you need so that you can keep more strands on your head.
So, what signs of hair loss should you keep an eye out for?
Well, it typically starts with seeing more hair in the drain or on the comb or pillowcase. You might also notice a gradual thinning of hair in the crown or frontal area or notice hair thinning in the area around the temples which could leave you with a receding hairline. In female pattern baldness, you’ll see a general thinning of hair which is more pronounced around the top of the scalp.
If you’ve started showing signs of hair loss, you could refer to the Hamilton-Norwood Scale to see where you might be in the various stages of hair loss patterns.
Hair loss is permanent with this type of balding. This can be a daunting prospect if you’ve watched your mother, father, or even uncles struggle with varying stages of baldness.
Does that mean you’re destined to follow their lead or does the old wives’ tale about hair loss skipping a generation bear any truth? Let’s explore.
Does Baldness Skip a Generation?
Many people believe that baldness skips generations, but there’s no scientific basis for it. As with most genetically inherited conditions, there is a chance that baldness could skip a generation. It is explicable as some people in families that carry the genetic trait for baldness luck out and do not go bald.
For example, if a father is balding, the son will not.
The balding gene can also show discrimination between siblings (male or female) within the same generation. This means if your brother is Bruce Willis during his “head that’s bare” era, you could be Elvis Presley with a head full of hair.
So, how do you figure out whether or not you’re in the clear?
As we’ve said before, there’s no way to test what your genes have in store for you. That said, you could consider where you got most of your genes from to figure out whether you’re at risk.
The AR gene is X-linked, and your mother has two of them. This could mean three things:
- There’s no mutation on both X chromosomes.
- There’s an AR genetic mutation on one X chromosome.
- There’s an AR genetic mutation on both X chromosomes.
Here’s the thing —
Even if you get a full genetic panel that shows that you have the mutated AR genes for balding, they can’t tell whether baldness will skip a generation — or you, specifically. The presence of the balding trait in your genetic makeup does little to show your chances of losing hair over the years. This is because factors like hormone levels, stress, diet, and the natural aging process could also put you at risk of losing hair.
Are There Any Treatments for Balding?
Not really, no. You can’t alter your genetic makeup which means there is no cure for balding. Although, you can manage your symptoms to lessen its impact and prevent further hair loss.
You could alter your diet to ensure you’re giving your hair all the nutrients it needs to thrive, get proper sleep, manage stress, and replace your chemically laden hair care products with all-natural counterparts to promote healthier hair and scalp.
Hair Loss Medications
Hair loss medications, such as Minoxidil, have also shown significant potential. You could also try finasteride which inhibits DHT production and can help stop your hair loss from becoming worse.
If you’re seeing significant balding and are looking for a permanent solution, you could try hair transplant therapies. They can help stimulate hair growth in areas with hair loss, are 100% effective, and have little to no downtime.
Talk to your doctor to find the most effective treatment options for your needs.
Take a Preventive Approach
Male or female pattern baldness is permanent so hair restoration of “lost hair” is unlikely.