Family History and the Risk of Hair Loss

Family history genetics
It’s the question most men ask – how much does family history affect hair loss?

Hair loss happens to both men and women for a variety of reasons. The most common form around the world is androgenetic alopecia. That’s the reason more than 50 million people in the United States alone are affected by hair loss. One out of every three men has some degree of this type of hair loss by the time they’re 35.

Unfortunately, the primary cause for androgenetic alopecia hair loss is genetic, though that is not the sole cause. Environmental and hormonal issues also play a part. Researchers are hunting for all possible conditions and factors that contribute to hair loss from androgenetic alopecia.

Hair Loss Myths vs. Facts

An old myth that’s still commonly repeated says that the mother’s side of the family carries genetic hair loss. So if your dad still has a thick head of hair, but your maternal uncles or grandfathers have thinning hair, you will, too. The reality is not that simple.

Androgenetic alopecia hair loss, also called male pattern hair loss or female pattern hair loss (the cause is the same in both but the pattern of hair loss is different depending upon the gender), does tend to cluster in families. However, it can show up in both the mother’s and father’s genes.

Obviously, the family hair loss trend has been very noticeable on the mother’s side of a family, leading to the myth. One prominent example of hair loss originating from the father’s side of the family is the British royal family starting with Prince Philip and continuing through to his grandchildren, Prince William and Prince Harry.

Hair Loss Genetics

While genes affecting hair loss can be carried on either side of a family, the X chromosome, which men get from their mothers, is the dominant hair loss gene. However, research indicates that men with a bald father are much more likely to develop male pattern hair loss than men who do not.

New research has shown that in addition to the hair loss-related genes on the X chromosome, 11 other relevant genetic sequences have been identified. Chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 12, 17, 18 and 20 can all influence a tendency toward hair loss and these chromosomes can be inherited from either side of the family.

While researchers have identified new factors in genetic hair loss, these genes interact with each other and the environment in complex ways that aren’t fully understood yet. Researchers are quick to point out that just having the gene on the X chromosome doesn’t guarantee hair loss nor does not having it guarantee full, thick hair.

X Chromosomes and Hair Loss

The reason why male hair loss deriving from the mother’s side of the family seems so dominant is due to chromosome function. Men only have one set of X chromosome genes and two sets of autosomal genes. When a person has two sets of genes, if one version has a trait, like a tendency toward hair loss, and the other doesn’t, you have a medium risk for that trait.

However, when you only have one set of a gene, such as the X chromosome, the risk is more concentrated. If that chromosome carries a trait for hair loss, like the androgen receptor gene that’s a factor in androgenetic alopecia, it’s more likely to be active.

The Robotic Hair Restoration Solution

Regardless of your family history, if you’re starting to show signs of androgenetic alopecia contact the experts in hair loss at RHRLI. Hair restoration surgeon Dr. Baiju Gohil has a state-of-the-art facility using the ARTAS®. Contact RHRLI for a personal consultation with Dr. Gohil himself to assess whether robotic hair restoration is appropriate for you. Learn more by contacting us today.

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