As you probably know, some level of hair loss is usually tied to genetics. But if your dad went bald at an early age, does that necessarily mean you’re guaranteed to do the same?
Balding and Genetics
Traditionally, people have always said to look at your mother’s father. If your maternal grandfather is bald, then it’s likely that you’ll go bald, too. If he has a full head of hair well into his later years, then you’ll probably enjoy the same outcome.
But it’s not always this clear-cut. While genetics certainly play a big role over hair loss and balding, it’s more complicated than studying your grandparents. To get the complete picture, you must be willing to conduct a more comprehensive analysis of your family tree.
Male pattern baldness, which is the most common type of baldness among men, does appear to be primarily determined by genes. And if you’re a man experiencing hair loss, it’s likely that these genes come from your maternal grandfather (though genes from all parents and grandparents are involved). If your father is bald as well, that’s two strikes against you.
Markus Nothen is a geneticist at the University of Bonn in Germany. He’s spent much of his career studying factors that contribute to male pattern baldness. Some of his most interesting studies have looked at identical twins experiencing hair loss. And based on these studies, he believes that somewhere around 79 to 81 percent of baldness is influenced by genes.
As far as the influence of the maternal grandfather goes, this comes back to the basics of genetics. As you may remember from science class, each of your cells has one pair of sex chromosomes (which are used to determine your biological sex). Everyone has at least one X chromosome that comes from mom. The other chromosome is provided by your dad. It’s either an X or a Y. If it’s an X, you’re a female. If it’s a Y, you’re a male. This means every male’s X chromosome is provided by the mom. Interestingly enough, the gene that’s most strongly correlated with baldness is found on the X chromosome.
“If you’re a man, you got your X chromosome — which either has or does not have the variation of this gene that promotes baldness — solely from your mother,” Joseph Stromberg writes for Vox. There’s a fifty percent chance that she in turn got it from her father — so if your maternal grandfather had the X chromosome genes for baldness, there’s at least a fifty percent chance you do too.”
However, research also shows that not all baldness-related genes are located on the X chromosome. There are a total of 11 other genetic sequences that researchers believe are important in this discussion. These sequences are located on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 12, 17 ,18, and 20. And these chromosomes are derived from both parents (who inherited them from both of their parents).
“All these genes interact in complex ways that we don’t yet totally understand to increase or decrease the chance of male pattern baldness,” Stromberg mentions. “So simply having the baldness genes on one’s X chromosome is no guarantee of going bald, and not having them isn’t a sign you’re safe either.”
If you’re looking for a simple answer, you’re going to be disappointed. While it’s impossible to look at your maternal grandfather (or father) and determine your future based on their history, it’s certainly a good starting point. Each of your parents and grandparents plays a role. And the more history of baldness there is in your family, the more strikes you have against you.
Non-Genetic Hair Loss Factors
If hair loss started and ended with genetics, that would be the end of the story. You could study your family tree and that would be it. But the truth is that hair loss is also influenced by a number of non-genetic factors. This includes:
- Age (the older you get, the more likely you are to experience hair loss)
- Medical conditions (such as lupus, diabetes, and thyroid disorders)
- Medications, major surgery, and/or chemotherapy
- Poor nutrition (such as a diet that’s lacking in protein, iron, or vitamin D)
- Chronic stress
- Unhealthy life choices (like smoking)
The more of these factors you have present in your lifestyle, the more likely it is that you’ll experience hair loss. And if you already have a genetic profile that makes you prone to hair loss, these factors will exacerbate the underlying odds.
How to Prevent and Reverse Hair Loss
The good news is that there are ways to fight back against balding – even if it’s genetic. The exact solutions you choose will depend on a myriad of factors. However, here are a few of the most common non-surgical options:
- LLLT. Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is one of the safest and most effective options on the market. Also known as photobiomodulation or cold laser therapy, this method uses LED lights to stimulate hair growth by enhancing cellular function and circulation in the follicles of the scalp. LLLT has been used in hair clinics for many years (with impressive results) and is now available for in-home use via laser caps. It’s FDA-approved, safe, and painless. Results are usually obvious within a few months of use.
- Medication. If you’re looking to stop or slow hair loss, there are a couple of effective medications. This includes minoxidil (sold under the brand name Rogaine) and finasteride (sold as Propecia). You’ll want to consult with a doctor before trying either, as they both have their own intended uses and possible side effects.
- Supplements/hair products. In addition to LLLT and medication, there are also a variety of hair growth supplements and hair products on the market. This includes Kiierr DHT conditioner, Kiierr DHT blocking shampoo, and Kiierr DHT blocking hair growth vitamins.
Conclusion – Regrow Hair With Kiierr
Whether your hair loss is caused by genetics, lifestyle factors, or a combination of the two, there are always options for slowing and reversing hair loss. The key is to understand what’s causing your hair loss and launch a safe and proactive hair loss treatment plan that addresses these elements.