Have you ever wondered why men lose their hair as they get older? Most people know that male pattern baldness is genetic, but very few people understand the whole picture.
Today, we’re going to discuss and decipher everything involved with male pattern baldness genetics and what you can do to fight the onset of hair loss.
To begin with, male pattern baldness is technically a genetic condition called androgenetic alopecia.
Both men and women can suffer from it, but men get the worse end of the stick when it comes to hair loss.
Women tend to suffer hair thinning, while men go through hairline receding, crown balding, and, eventually, some get a complete “horseshoe” pattern.
Regardless of your gender, nobody enjoys losing their hair.
For starters, losing your hair is a sure sign that you’re getting older.
Secondly, almost everyone believes that losing your hair lowers your attractiveness to the opposite sex.
While this may or may not be true, the psychological effects of thinking it and experiencing it can be all the same.
Just how prevalent is hair loss among men?
According to the American Hairloss Association, two-thirds of men will see noticeable hair loss when they reach 35. What’s even worse is that 25% of men will begin losing their hair by the time they turn 21.
Most people do not understand how common this condition is.
So what are the genetic markers for male pattern baldness?
According to one of the most extensive studies ever conducted in 2017 by the University of Edinburgh, which studied 57,000 men on their hair loss genes, over 250 different genetic markers can signal the later onset of hair loss.
So, where do we inherit these genetic markers?
Does looking at your mother’s father (maternal grandfather) mean anything?
Actually, yes, it does.
Based on the findings we linked to, scientists generally agree that the genetic trait for MPB comes from the X chromosome.
That being said, if you’re a male, you only get a Y chromosome from your father, so the dominant hair loss trait can only come from your mother’s inherited X chromosome.
Specifically, one gene in the X chromosome gives you a 50/50 chance of developing hair loss.
All that being said, this is just the starting point.
(Keep in mind that genetic traits can skip a generation, so looking at your mother’s father is not always a foolproof way of determining your destiny when it comes to future hair loss.)
So, let’s say that you do have that gene, the one the predisposes you to early hair loss. How does it work?
How do male pattern baldness genetics take effect?
In the interest of simplicity, we’re going to keep this explanation rather basic.
In short, if you do inherit the genes necessary for male pattern baldness, your body will have a sensitivity to testosterone.
In particular, it will begin a process where it converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
This conversion will signal your body to begin shedding hairs.
On top of that, 5AR (Alpha-reductase) inside the follicle’s sebaceous gland will add to the sebum lubricant buildup on your scalp and increase hair fall.
These factors combined can lead to rapid and noticeable hair loss as a man reaches early adulthood.
What can you do about it?
The first thing you need to understand about the hair loss industry is that it is riddled with pseudoscience and snake oil products that don’t do anything.
There are only a handful of treatments that can prevent, stop, and reverse hair loss.
The first thing you should take a look at it as how you are handling your hair.
When you’re too rough on your hair, you make it susceptible to early fallout and damage.
One of the most common forms of damage people do to their hair is vigorously towel drying it.
When you wet and shampoo on your head, you’re putting your hair in a state where the cuticles are open (because the hair is damp and swelled up).
When you rub a dry towel across your strands, the open cuticles can be damaged by friction.
The safest way to dry your hair is with a blow-dryer on low heat, according to a study that looked at hair shaft damage from heat and drying over time.
- Daily Care and Washing
The next thing you want to do is begin using an anti-hair loss shampoo and conditioner.
These products will have different ingredients than your regular off-the-shelf shampoo and conditioner.
The shampoos and conditioners you want to consider will use a small percentage of medical-grade ingredients to topically fight the DHT buildup and 5 Alpha reductase we spoke about earlier.
You should be able to get these products for slightly more than your standard shampoo and conditioners.
Since you are already using these products anyways, it makes the most sense that this is your next step of intervention.
- Diet and Nutrition
Just like your skin, diet plays a vital role in the health of your hair.
Many people do not get the recommended amount of prescribed vitamins and minerals from their typical diets.
If you’re not eating a well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, you should look into supplementing anti-hair loss vitamins into your diet.
These vitamins can come in either gummy or pill form, but they will help you make sure you’re getting enough essential nutrients for your hair.
Many of these supplements will also add ingredients like biotin, Sawgrass Palmetto, and a few others, which have indirectly been shown to increase hair health.
- Topical Treatments
The most widely used and longest approved topical medical treatment for hair loss is the chemical minoxidil (most people know as brand-name Rogaine).
This treatment’s most famous formulation is a 5% active ingredient mix of minoxidil in either a liquid or foam state.
Minoxidil has been clinically proven to help regrow hair in the majority of men who use it.
Minoxidil’s downside is that it is a treatment you have to do every day, and if you eventually stop treatment, over time, your hair loss will resume.
That being said, just like brushing your teeth, if you’re going to commit to fighting your hair loss, you might as well do it every day.
Once you build it into your daily routine, it doesn’t take more than 2 minutes.
- Orally Ingested Treatments
With reservations, the next thing we want to mention here is an orally ingested 5 Alpha reductase inhibitor.
Finasteride (brand name Propecia) is the most commonly prescribed such inhibitor.
Finasteride works by stopping testosterone’s conversion into dihydrotestosterone, thereby halting male pattern baldness’s internal mechanism in its tracks.
Finasteride has been proven to work in many men who take it.
One important note – according to multiple studies, there is a small percentage of men who develop irreversible symptoms after using finasteride for an extended period. They are known as post finasteride syndrome (PFS).
You need to talk with your doctor about this because finasteride is only available with a medical doctor’s prescription.
- Hair Transplants
Lastly, the most effective treatment for somebody who has already lost a large portion of their hair, or somebody that can tell they’re going to, is an FUE hair transplant.
Hair Transplants have come a long way over the last 20 to 25 years.
Many people still have the misconception that a hair transplant is still reminiscent of old hair plugs or even the more recent FUT hair transplant procedure.
That’s not the case anymore.
These modern hair transplant procedures are exact, and doctors individually harvest and plant hair follicles from the back of your head (donor area) to the top of your scalp.
These modern hair transplant procedures use medical equipment that does not leave any scars, and they provide such natural-looking results that most people will not even be able to tell that you’ve had a hair transplant.
We advise our clients to opt for international hair transplant options over using finasteride because, in our opinion, it is just not worth the sexual side effect risk when there is a dependable and affordable option available.
We used to live in a time where if you had the predisposition for Male Pattern Baldness genetics in your DNA, it was your destiny to be bald. We finally live in an age where that’s not the case anymore.
If you’re someone who’s suffering from male pattern baldness genetics and you want to do something about it, schedule a virtual consultation where we’ll discuss the entire process involved and everything you need to know about getting an affordable transplant without breaking the bank.
Hopefully, this article has helped deepen your understanding of male pattern baldness genetics.
Ideally, now you’re better equipped to fight hair loss if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of dealing with it.