There’s a lot of debate surrounding the question of whether or not hair loss is a hereditary trait, with many experts discussing this matter its hard to know who to listen to.
We aim to provide you with a better understanding of the topic so you can draw your own conclusion.
Types of hair loss
We must first understand that not all hair loss is the same, there are many forms of hair loss including but not limited to:?
- Involutional alopecia
- Telogen effluvium
- Male and Female pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia)
- Patchy hair loss
- Tinea capitis
- Traction alopecia
It’s worth noting that the most common form of hair loss is Male pattern baldness so most studies are generally surrounding this form of baldness.
What are the main causes of hair loss?
Many studies have shown that ethnicity can contribute to your likelihood of hair loss with people from Caucasian decent suffering from hair loss the most.
According to this study, the correlation between hair loss and ethnicity is due to differences in skull types.
Research has shown that white men in their 50’s have a 50% chance of having some signs of hair loss.
Generally, it is accepted that hair loss is, at least for the most part hereditary with many studies supporting this theory.
It is also a widespread assumption that, at least in men, hair loss is inherited from their maternal grandfather. This is supported by a study conducted at the universities of Bonn and Düsseldorf in Germany that suggests the hair loss gene is carried on the X chromosome which the men get only from their mothers.
Hair loss - contributing factors:
Whilst it is widely accepted that hair loss is hereditary, there are of course many factors that can contribute to hair loss these include medical conditions, certain medical treatments as well as high levels of stress.
Paradi Mirmirani, MD, a dermatologist with the Permanente Medical Group in Vallejo, Calif., suggests that the type of stress will have a different effect on your hair:
Stress because you're late to work or you've got a heavy workload is not going to cause you to lose hair.
She suggests that everyday stress isn't the cause of hair loss, that it requires a more traumatic event to do this:
Something that causes you to lose sleep, or changes your appetite and raises the level of stress hormones.?
However, on the subject of the link between hair loss and stress Amy McMichael MD, professor of dermatology in Winston-Salem, N.C. disagrees that there is any link at all by saying:
There has been, for my entire life, this mythical connection between stress and hair. It's absolutely ridiculous.
As you can see, there is much debate around what indeed contributes to hair loss.
The other side of the debate.
There are also many people who believe that baldness isn't hereditary or at least that genetics aren't the only contributing factor.
Whilst the above-mentioned study suggests that hair loss is inherited from your mother’s side, research shows that men who have a bald father are more likely to develop male pattern baldness than men who don’t.
Many researchers believe that health aspects are the main contributing factors with male pattern baldness being linked to an increased incidence of heart disease and other heart-related health issues.
They also suggest that it can link to blood pressure with those having a higher blood pressure more at risk of hair loss.
Other people suggest that male pattern baldness can be linked to the increased sensitivity to androgens, a male sex hormone.
Conclusion - is hair loss hereditary?
There are certainly many theories around surrounding this question, but we would tend to lean towards the general consensus that hair loss is hereditary, or indeed that genetics plays a major part in it.
We found a short YouTube video that does a great job at explaining the question: