Is Hair Loss Genetic? Understanding Your Hair Anatomy
From the color of our hair to the way we taste certain foods, we inherit a whole lot from our parents. Because of this, it probably comes as no surprise to you to learn that we’re born with a hereditary predisposition to hair loss. Yes, hair loss is genetic, but it’s not as clear-cut as you might think (in other words, it’s not as simple as “if your mom’s dad was bald, you’ll be bald too”). You inherit a unique set of genes from both parents, creating a medley of DNA that may or may not make you more likely to go bald or lose your hair as you age.
Though it seems like a big-time bummer, genetic hair loss is one of the “best” kinds of hair loss to have, because it can be addressed by many effective treatment options. It is possible to re-grow thick, healthy hair using low-level laser therapy devices such as the Capillus laser cap and others. However, it’s important that any hair loss sufferer pinpoints the impetus for their condition before seeking out treatments. Read this guide to learn a little bit about this form of hair loss and to see if it might be the impetus for yours.
What Is Androgenetic Alopecia?
When hair thinning or balding is caused by a predetermined genetic factor, it’s called androgenetic alopecia. This kind of hair loss is among the most common forms in both men and women. When we refer to pattern baldness—when the hairline recedes to create an identifiable “M” shape in men or with a thinning hairline in women—we are typically referring to androgenetic alopecia. Those with hereditary hair loss also have thinning at the crown, which may progress to complete baldness, especially in men.
We know that genetics cause hair loss, but it’s a bit more complex than that. Researchers believe that the main reason why genetic hair loss occurs is that people with the condition inherit a sensitivity to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a testosterone derivative or androgen which binds to receptors in the hair follicles, shrinking them and killing them so they can no longer produce strong, healthy strands of hair. There is no one specific ancestor or parent who would contribute to a person’s likelihood of being sensitive to DHT, but rather a mix of genetic contributors.
Is It Hair Loss Caused by Other Factors?
Genes aren’t the only things that play a role in whether a person goes bald or not, but they are the most common. Other reasons why a person may experience hair loss or thinning include extreme stress, hormonal changes (including those triggered by pregnancy, menopause, childbirth, and problems with the thyroid), as well as certain medication and treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. Another oft-overlooked cause of hair loss is called traction alopecia, which occurs when people (usually women) damage their hair follicles from consistently wearing tight hairstyles, such as braids or ponytails.
How Can You Treat Genetic Hair Loss?
As previously mentioned, there are some tried-and-true ways to treat androgenetic hair loss, including some treatments that are quite easy, affordable, and non-intrusive. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is one of the very best solutions out there, and one of the few that has been clinically proven to effectively spur hair regrowth in people with androgenetic alopecia. You can expose the scalp to these cutting-edge lasers in treatment centers or at home using special devices.
One of the easiest ways to achieve natural hair regrowth is by using a Capillus laser hair growth cap once a day for six minutes at a time. These caps are made with powerful red lasers that stimulate and energize the cells of the hair follicle and provide them with the nutrients needed to grow strong locks with no surgery or medication. Low-level lasers also increase the health of the blood vessels in the scalp and stimulate the sebaceous glands, leaving thicker, more durable, silkier-looking hair.
How to Tell if Hair Loss is Genetic
If you have a distinct pattern of baldness that began in your 20s and 30s, there’s a good chance you have androgenetic alopecia. You can also diagnose this condition the old-fashioned way—by looking at family photo albums and identifying how many people in your family appear to have lost their hair! No matter the results, don’t let genetics get you down. This type of hair loss is extremely common, so there are many helpful treatment options available.