For generations we've been told that if your maternal grandfather started balding young then you should prepare young for your hair to pack its bags. You may have been told that if your dad has a full head of hair but your uncle on your mother's side is rocking a bit of a Prince William look, then prepare your head for a royal hairstyle.
While this definitely has some legs, there's a little more to it than meets the eye. Hereditary hair loss goes by a couple of names, if you're in the medical profession or you've spent countless hours already doing your research you might know it as androgenetic alopecia but the most common name for it is male pattern baldness.
Now I know you're asking, "Why the heck have I been told for so long that it all comes from my mother's side? You're telling me now I've gotta watch out for my dad's genes too?"
Well this myth stems from the fact that scientists found that the most influential hair loss gene is found on the X-chromosome which is passed down from your mother and her father. If you want to understand the whole chromosome thing a little better, let me break it down for you. Biological males have both an X and Y chromosome, while biological females have two XX chromosomes. Men get their X-chromosome and its traits from their mothers and due to the lack of another X-chromosome (like in females) to balance it out, the likelihood of it expressing itself is significantly larger. For example, if on your mother's side the gene for hereditary hair loss is strong, the X-chromosome from her father will be passed on to you which is why it has long been thought that you'll cop your grandfathers genes (and his male pattern baldness). Following so far? Great!
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that there are a possible 287 genes that alter the hair growth cycle and are a sign of male pattern baldness. Now going off the old tale that you inherit baldness from your mum you would expect to find all 287 genes on your mother's side right? Not quite! This is where it gets interesting because only 40 are thought to be passed down from your mother, all the remaining genes are passed on from your father. Thanks for the mad beer belly, wing-nut ears and now the chance of a bald head dad... just what I always wanted.
What I'm trying to tell you here is that if you start losing your hair quite young, don't freak out on mum and blame her for everything, your old man has a bit of skin in the game too.
You'd think it's 2019, this whole hereditary hair loss thing should be pretty predictable huh? Well when there are so many variables at play it really isn't. It can be so unpredictable that both parents could have a history of male pattern baldness and one brother will have a luscious full head of hair and the younger brother is rocking the Dr. Phil at age 30. Genetics sure know how to deal out a pretty rough hand.
Unfortunately genetics aren't like a weigh n pay at the shops where you choose what you want and take it to the register. If your family history on both sides has a pattern of chrome domes then I'm sorry to tell you but odds are on you to share that same shiny bowling ball head... You do have options if you act before it's too late.
The quicker you recognise the early signs of balding and find a treatment that works for you, the better chance your noggin and those locks have. If you're still a little unsure if you're destined to join your family's no hair club, then check out the link below and learn everything you need to know about men's hair loss and how to reverse it.