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"Evidence-Based Insights: Unmasking the Genetics of Hair Loss and Tackling the 'Balding Gene'"

by Sarbjeet Singh 04 Nov 2023
"Evidence-Based Insights: Unmasking the Genetics of Hair Loss and Tackling the 'Balding Gene'"

How to Combat Genetic Hair Loss and Its Contributing Factors


Hair loss is a widespread concern that affects people of all genders and ages. While genetics undeniably play a crucial role in the extent of hair loss, it's essential to acknowledge that various other factors contribute to balding. In this article, we will unravel the genetic underpinnings of hair loss, dispel common myths, and explore practical strategies to manage hereditary hair loss effectively. Regardless of your gender, it's imperative to understand that hair loss can happen to anyone, and there are proactive measures you can take to optimize your hair growth potential.

The 'Balding Gene' Explained:

Genetics plays a substantial role in determining the extent of hair loss, whether it's male pattern baldness (MPB) or female pattern baldness (FPB). Understanding this genetic component is crucial to addressing hair loss effectively.

  • For men, MPB typically starts with an m-shaped recession at the front of the scalp, often emerging in their 20s or 30s. Approximately 80% of men experience MPB by the age of 801.
  • Women often experience hair loss in the Ludwig pattern, which involves a gradual recession along the part of their hair2. Roughly half of women will experience female pattern hair loss by the time they reach 803.
  • Androgenetic alopecia is the medical term for MPB and FPB, and it stands as the most common cause of hair loss1.
  • Studies on twins estimate that genetics account for about 80% of male pattern baldness1.

Male Pattern Baldness:

Debunking the myth that baldness is inherited solely from one's maternal grandfather, we delve into the complex genetic factors that contribute to male pattern baldness.

  • Male pattern baldness is polygenic, meaning it involves multiple genes4.
  • It is associated with the AR gene found on the "X" chromosome1.
  • A large study on 12,806 men of European ancestry found that individuals with the AR gene had more than twice the risk of developing MPB compared to those without it1.
  • Besides the AR gene, a 2017 review identified 63 genes that may play a role in male pattern baldness, with only six of them found on the "X" chromosome5.
  • Furthermore, research has shown that over 80% of people experiencing noticeable balding had a father who also lost their hair6.

Female Pattern Baldness:

The genetic component of FPB remains less understood, but it is believed to involve various genes that affect the production of an enzyme called aromatase7. This enzyme plays a role in converting testosterone to estradiol, which might explain why many women experience hair loss after menopause7.

What Else Causes Balding?

In addition to genetics, a range of other factors can contribute to hair loss, affecting people of any gender. These include hormonal changes, autoimmune conditions like alopecia areata, mental disorders like trichotillomania, various medical conditions, certain hairstyles, drugs and supplements, discontinuation of birth control pills, radiation therapy, prolonged stress, and nutritional deficiencies8910.

How to Slow Down Hair Loss:

While genetic hair loss is permanent, there are several strategies that can help slow it down:

  • Healthy Lifestyle Habits: Maintaining a balanced diet, getting adequate sleep, managing stress, and engaging in regular exercise can support overall health and hair health.

  • Topical Medications: Topical treatments such as minoxidil (Rogaine) can be applied directly to balding areas to promote hair growth.

  • Oral Medications: Doctors may prescribe medications like finasteride (Propecia) to treat male pattern baldness.

  • Hair Transplantation Surgery: Procedures like follicular unit transplantation and follicular unit extraction can transfer hair follicles from one part of the scalp to balding areas.

  • Laser Therapy (Red Light Therapy): Laser therapy may help improve hair density, particularly for genetic hair loss or hair loss resulting from chemotherapy. However, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness11.

  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) Injections: PRP injections may stimulate hair growth in areas experiencing hair loss, though further research is needed to understand their effectiveness12.


Genetics play a significant role in hair loss, but it's crucial to recognize the numerous factors contributing to balding. While genetic hair loss is permanent, there are various approaches to slow it down and improve hair growth. Whether it's a healthy lifestyle, topical or oral treatments, or surgical interventions, there are options available to help individuals combat the effects of the baldness gene and regain their confidence.


  1. PubMed Central - Genetic basis of androgenetic alopecia 2 3 4 5

  2. Harvard Health Publishing - Hereditary-patterned baldness

  3. PubMed Central - Female pattern hair loss

  4. PubMed Central - The genetics of androgenetic alopecia

  5. PubMed - A genetic basis for male baldness

  6. NCBI Bookshelf - The influence of genetics in hair loss

  7. PubMed - Genetics of female pattern alopecia 2

  8. Mayo Clinic - Hair loss

  9. PubMed - Alopecia areata

  10. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery - Platelet-rich plasma in androgenetic alopecia

  11. PubMed - Low-level laser (light) therapy

  12. NCBI Bookshelf - Platelet-rich plasma therapy for hair loss


Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The use of the information in this blog is at your own risk, and the blog's author and publisher are not liable for any potential health issues or consequences arising from its use.

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