Hair loss is one of the conditions that both males and females remain highly worried about in their lives. After all, losing hair negatively impacts the way one looks and feels. Different factors, such as heredity, cause different types of hair loss. Hereditary hair loss affects a large percentage of men and women, and we will discuss this particular type in detail in this article.
What is Hereditary Hair Loss?
Most men and women experience gradual hair loss or hair thinning as they age, and it’s pretty normal. However, as per one article published by Harvard Medical School, four in ten people experience hair loss due to genetics. Also known as hereditary pattern baldness, it’s more common in men and affects the hairline that recedes up to the middle of the head.
This hair loss is harmless but is certainly distressing for those experiencing it. It runs in the families and can affect other body parts other than the scalp. There’s no cure for hereditary hair loss, but it can be slowed down and managed with the help of leading hair treatment providers and a well-established hair loss clinic.
Causes of Hereditary Hair Loss
Hereditary hair loss occurs in a predictable pattern, referred to as male pattern baldness (MPB) or female pattern baldness (FPB). For men, it usually starts in the late 30s as an M-shaped recession at the front of their scalp. On the other hand, women experience it after menopause in a different pattern. The hair becomes thinner over the head, and the hairline does not recede.
There’s a myth that men inherit their balding gene solely from their mother’s side. The primary baldness gene is on the X chromosome, which men get only from their mothers. However, other genes are also involved, which come from the father’s side. Many researchers suggest that men with bald fathers are more likely to develop MPB than others who don’t.
What are Symptoms of Hereditary Hair Loss in Men and Women?
Hereditary hair loss or balding in men usually starts with the progressive thinning of the hairline. This happens especially over the top of the head or crown. It eventually causes a bald spot on the crown of the head. Women rarely develop bald patches but have general hair thinning all over their scalp.
The progress and appearance of hereditary hair loss depend on the hair cycle and the hormone named – Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Like our nails and skin, our locks have a finely tuned cycle of growth, rest, and shedding. There are three phases in a hair cycle, and hair loss can occur at any time in these phases. In the Anagen phase's first stage, our scalp hair grows continuously. New hair growing from the scalp keeps pushing out hair that has either stopped growing or is no longer in the Anagen phase. Hair grows about 1 cm every 28 days, and hair remains in this active phase for about two to six years.
The second stage, the Catagen phase, is a transitional stage that lasts for about two to three weeks. The growth stops, and the outer root sheath shrinks and attaches it to the hair root to form club hair. The third stage, Telogen, is the resting phase that lasts about 100 days for hair on the scalp and longer for the hair on our eyebrows, lashes, legs, and arms. During this phase, club hairs are formed, and the hair follicles are at complete rest. If you see a solid white material when you pluck a hair, it indicates that your scalp hair is in the third stage.
Coming back to DHT, which is a male sex hormone, it has a big role in hair loss in both men and women. Too much or too little DHT in your body can disrupt the normal hair cycle and cause hair thinning and balding issues. High levels of DHT can shrink hair follicles and shorten the cycle, making hair thin and brittle and fall out faster. DHT can also prevent your hair follicles from growing new hair after the old ones fall out. You can take vitamins for hair loss that help block DHT and keep hair problems at bay.
Can Hereditary Hair Loss be Diagnosed and How?
Hereditary pattern baldness is usually diagnosed by analysing its pattern and history in the family. No other tests are required for its diagnosis. However, other possibilities of hair loss can be ruled out with a blood test.
Can Hereditary Hair Loss be Treated?
Losing some hair gradually is a normal part of the ageing process and doesn’t require any treatment. However, if hair loss happens suddenly, it is distressing and requires some treatment and attention. The reason could be your genetics, health issues, lifestyle, and more. You can slow down or stop the progression of your hair loss with a mix of medicines and treatments. Here are some of the top medicines that can help you manage your hereditary hair loss:
Available in tablet form, this one is a prescription-only treatment for hereditary hair loss in men. It blocks testosterone from converting into dihydrotestosterone and prevents hair follicles from shrinking. This is presumably considered as one of the best hair loss treatment for men and must be continued for at least six months. It helps increase scalp hair but not body hair. However the efficacy is seen as different in different individuals hence it can be safely considered as not a sureshot answer for all.
People need to talk to their doctor and find out whether this medicine is suitable for them or not. These are effective medicines, but they affect people differently. They might not be of any benefit for some and even cause some side effects. Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should also not use these medicines.
Minoxidil Topical Lotion
Suitable for both men and women, Minoxidil is a rub-on treatment that can be easily bought from a local pharmacy. You are expected to apply it twice every day on your dry scalp for up to six months. If it shows good results, you have to continue its application for a longer period to maintain results. Minoxidil tablets are also available and are more effective in treating earlier stages of hair loss. Again, don’t forget to consult your doctor before using any medicines as it may not give the same expected results to all.
You can also take dietary supplements with biotin, vitamin A, zinc, vitamin C, and iron to fight and manage hair loss. Balding and hair thinning areas can be hidden using wigs, hairpieces, hair sprays, or hair colouring products. Hair transplantation is also a suitable hair loss treatment for men.
Can Hereditary Hair Loss be Prevented?
The answer is a no, as you cannot change your genes. However, there are a few things that you can do to keep your hair healthy and strong for longer. You have to ensure sufficient everyday dietary protein intake, as our hair is made up of a form of protein (Keratin). Other chemical substances that make up our hair are copper, zinc, iron, a small amount of fat, and calcium. One should eat enough protein to maintain healthy hair. You should include tofu, meat, chicken, cheese, eggs, fish, dried beans, grains, and nuts in your diet.
Then there is haircare, which is important for keeping hair healthy. You should always try to be gentle with your hair, avoiding tight hairstyles, twisting, pulling, and rubbing. Avoid long periods out in the sun, say no to excessive heat treatments and avoid using heavily perfumed hair lotions.
Not much can be done to escape hereditary hair loss, but there are ways to deal with this problem. Some leading hair restoration and hair retention companies, like Advanced Hair Studio, offer quality and perfect hair loss treatment in Dubai. After consultation with their expert team, one can find out what hair treatments and procedures are the most suitable for their particular type of hair loss. This hair loss clinic has earned a global reputation and presence with cutting-edge technology and exemplary customer service.