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The Role of Genetic Factors in Hair Loss

The Impact of Genetics on Hair Loss

Understanding How Genetics Influences Hair Loss

The Impact of Genetics on Hair Loss

Genetics has a huge part to play in deciding how much hair loss and balding you will see with age. Hair loss that’s related to genes can not be reversed; however, you can take measures to decelerate it’s progress and to maximize hair growth prospects.

Understanding Baldness

Understanding the correlation between genes and balding is very complex. Here’s an insight into the hair loss gene and how balding is inherited from both the parents.

Different Types of Hair Loss

Balding and hair loss is determined by your genes; it happens in an expected pattern – the male pattern balding and the female pattern balding, known as androgenetic alopecia.

In males, hair loss manifests around the age 20 to 30 years and is seen as an M shaped receding hairline. Females experience pattern balding, i.e. diffuse hair loss from the crown of the head. The hairline in women seldom recedes.

Gene expression studies and hormonal studies reveal that a scalp that is genetically predisposed to balding and hair loss shows high levels of DHT along with an increased expression of the androgen receptor gene. The receptors in the hair follicles that attract DHT, along with a genetic predisposition causes a combined damage which triggers balding.

Characteristically, men have larger amounts of testosterone in the bodies. 10 % of the testosterone gets converted to DHT by 5 alpha reductase. The DHT in the blood attaches itself to the receptors on the hair follicles and makes them shrivel and shrink and the follicles are no longer capable of supporting a healthy hair. Eventually, the miniaturisation leads to widespread hair loss and balding. Thus, it is the inherited trait along with the presence of the receptors which start the hair loss cascade.

Understanding male pattern balding

Male pattern baldness causes your hairline to recede and causes thinning of hair.


Based on the Hamilton Norwood scale, male pattern balding has 7 stages –

Stage 1

Very little hairline recession.

Stage 2

Marginal hair loss at the temples.

Stage 3

Significant hairline recession at the temples, and the hairline will have an “M” or “U” shape.

Stage 4

Significant hairline recession and hair loss at the crown.

Stage 5

Hairline recession connects to the bald patches on the crown.

Stage 6

Hair between the temples and crown has practically gone.

Stage 7

There’s no hair on the top of your head, with only a thin band of hair around the sides of the head.

Prevalence of male pattern balding

Understanding Female pattern baldness

Female pattern baldness can affect any woman; and tends to manifest if you have a family history of severe hair loss and usually comes on after menopause. The hair starts thinning at the centre of the crown.


Based on the Sinclair scale there are 5 stages of female pattern baldness –

Stage 1

Very little hair loss.

Stage 2

A minor gap becomes apparent in the centre of the crown.

Stage 3

A wide gap along the central parting.

Stage 4

Severe diffuse hair loss and bald patches develop in front of the hairline.

Stage 5

Advanced phase of hair loss.

Prevalence of female pattern balding

The Inheritance of Hair Loss

Hair loss and balding is decided by the genes that you inherit from both your parents. We have 2 copies of each gene, one from the mother and one from the father. This determines the hair traits that you will have.

Inspite of thousands of case studies and research, the relationship between genetics and balding is extremely complex and complicated and there is no conclusive answer. Then again, your family history will tell you what you should anticipate in your future.

Identifying the Baldness Gene

Genetic Testing for Predicting Baldness

Advanced, present day gene mapping has revealed 5 gene regions linked to balding. When assessed correctly, it will help confirm a genetic predisposition to balding, even before hair thinning or receding of the hairline starts.

If the DNA test reveals that you are likely to go bald; remember genes is only one factor, there are others too that cause hair loss.

The Interplay of Genetics and Environmental Factors in Hair Loss

Whilst genetics is a hugely significant factor in hair loss, other elements are also known to contribute to the condition. An amalgamation of genetic as well as environmental components determines the degree of hair loss.

Lifestyle and it’s Impact on Hair Loss

It isn’t possible to prevent or stop hereditary baldness; nonetheless, certain changes and alterations in you lifestyle can be made to reduce the intensity and speed of losing hair. The way you treat your body has a direct bearing on the health of your hair. Factors like a healthy diet, managing stress well, exercising regularly and sleeping well promote healthier hair.

Stress and Hair Loss

Stress is a giant factor in deciding the health of your hair. Under stress, your body releases large amounts of the hormone cortisol, which damages the hair follicles and triggers hair loss. Furthermore, psychological conditions such as – telogen effluvium and trichotillomania are stress induced and are hugely responsible for hair loss in women.

Age And Androgenetic Alopecia

Male pattern balding begins as an M shaped hairline recession at the age of 20 years and gradually progresses. By age 50 years, men lose a sizeable portion of their hair.

More often than not, women experience hair loss around peri menopause and menopause, which is seen as diffused hair loss all over. Thus, women lose hair around 40 years and after.

Hormonal Changes and Hair Loss

Testosterone converts in to DHT. The enzyme 5-alpha-reductase converts testosterone into DHT. DHT shrivels up and shrinks your hair follicles and shortens your hair growth cycle, triggering hair loss. If the levels of the enzyme is high, then more testosterone will get converted into DHT, and there will be profuse hair loss. Male and female pattern balding sets in when you inherit genes which make the hair follicles extra sensitive to DHT. Consequently, the follicles shrink, the hair get miniaturized and thin and eventually they stop growing new hair altogether.

Diet Causes Hair loss

Your diet plays a crucial role in helping you prevent and battle hair loss. A diet that’s unhealthy and comprising of refined and packaged foods and devoid of the correct nutrients will trigger as well as accelerate balding.

Addressing Genetic Baldness: Treatments and Solutions

In order to have successful hair restoration, you need to start the treatment promptly. There are a whole host of treatment regimens that help you deal with hair loss effectively. A multi pronged routine will yield wonderful benefits.


It has been proven scientifically that medicines are truly effective in thwarting as well as preventing hair loss and maintaining the hair that you already have. You could go in for minimally invasive procedures or a hair transplant surgery; discuss details with your doctor.

Over-the-counter Treatments

Over the counter hair loss medicine Minoxidil is usually the go-to drug! It quickly stops hair loss and promptly augments the growth of hair.

Prescription Medications

Your doctor will prescribe oral Finasteride or topical Finasteride to treat the hair loss. This drug puts an end to hair loss and will encourage new hair growth as well.

Dietary Considerations for Genetic Hair Loss

The primary step for you is to eat a protein heavy diet; the hair is made of protein, so it’s prudent to amp up on the nutrient. Alongside, eat a rainbow assortment of foods which give you all the vital nutrients that will promote good growth. Additionally, talk to your doctor and start supplements – vitamin D, biotin, iron, zinc and magnesium help maintain healthy hair.

If you’ve explored and tried all possible options and you still haven’t seen any results, then it’s time for you to get a hair transplant. Hair follicles are extracted from the donor site, which is the back of the head where the hair are ‘permanent’ and they are inserted in to the bald patches, this effectively works around the baldness gene! Within a year’s time, you will have a head full of hair.


Research studies show that genes from both parents influence your susceptibility of experiencing hair loss and balding.

Whether or not you will go bald can be determined by looking at your immediate family; and your future hair can be expected to be similar to that of the male members in your family, especially your father’s. If your father is bald, you are highly vulnerable to experiencing baldness too. Along with genes, there are environmental elements which come in to play too and have an influence on balding; conversely, having a father who is bald increases your chances significantly.

Once you know the cause of your hair loss is genetic, your doctor will prescribe medicines to treat hereditary baldness. By and large, your doctor will prescribe you Minoxidil, which is a powerful drug that thwarts hair loss and promotes new hair growth.

Male pattern hair loss is known to afflict two-thirds of all males and the chances of developing baldness increases with age.

It takes Minoxidil about 3 months of everyday use to put an end to hair loss and to promote new hair growth. Finasteride takes 3 to 6 months of everyday use to see significant improvement. However, do remember, if you stop the medicines, the regrown hair will start to fall out again.


You could select minimal invasive techniques such as PRP or GFC which will take about a month or 2 to show noteworthy results.


Opting for a hair transplant could make things easier. You will see the new hairline instantaneously; hair starts to grow within 3 months and it will take up 12 months to have a head full of hair.

With the correct treatment hair loss will stop and new hair will also regrow. Prompt treatment is necessary though.

Hair loss that is genetic is permanent and there’s little you can do to stop it. However, there are several ways in which it can be slowed down.


Having a healthy lifestyle – earning a wholesome diet, sleeping well, dealing with stress in a healthy manner, exercising regularly will support hair health.


Your doctor will also prescribe topical medications to put a stopper to the hair loss – Minoxidil is usually the the first line of treatment. Oral drugs such as Finasteride are also prescribed to deal with pattern hair loss.


Minimally invasive procedures like PRP or platelet rich plasma and GFC or growth factor concentrate are extremely popular too and they yield brilliant results.


Hair transplantation surgery is recommended when all else fails. Hair follicles are transplanted from the donor site to the recipient area to successfully manage hair loss.

Male and female pattern baldness is influenced by a blend of genetic factors that you inherit from both your parents. The hair loss genes are not solely inherited from the mother or the father; your vulnerability to hair loss is inherited from either your mother or your father, or both. Hair loss and balding is impacted by a complicated teamwork of various genes.

Genes linked to hair loss show dominant or recessive traits. The dominant genes will express their traits, even if only one copy of the gene is present. Contrariwise, the recessive genes, require both copies of the gene for the trait to manifest.


Male as well as female pattern hair loss is related to an amalgamation of genes, some are dominant, whilst some are recessive.


This explains why some people have mild versions of hair loss, while some have severe balding.

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