The Biggest Myths About Genetic Hair Loss

causes for hair loss

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation going around the internet about the true causes for genetic hair loss otherwise known as hereditary hair loss. In fact, some of the so-called causes of hair loss are so outlandish that it seems wrong to even mention them in this article. However, for the sake of education, we will be going over the biggest myths about male and female pattern hair loss.

Myth #1 The Hair Loss Gene Is Strictly Maternal

Hair loss from parent side

Some of you reading this may have heard "is your mother's father bald? If no you're in the clear". Unfortunately, that isn't how genetics work, both the mother and the father pass their genetic information to their offspring. This is why siblings can have different eye-color, hair-color, and even skin-color.

The fact that there is no hair loss on the maternal side of the family doesn't exclude any individual from inheriting the androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss) gene from their paternal side. In fact, genetics aren't subject to immediate family either.

The hair loss gene can skip a generation or two and unfortunately land on one person in the family. This is why you may see a family of people with full heads-of-hair and one bald person. Genetics can be a cruel mistress at times.

Myth# 2 Hair Loss Only Occurs In Men

female hair loss pattern

The general public still views hair loss as a condition that only affects men, but this couldn't be further from the truth. An estimated 30 million women suffer from hair loss in the United States alone. The figures worldwide are shocking. Furthermore, women suffer from other forms of hair loss, which include alopecia areata and traction alopecia to name a few.

Women who suffer from hair loss are often too ashamed to seek treatment because society still views hair loss as a male-condition.

Myth# 3 Hair-Gel, Hats and Other Styling Products Cause Hair Loss

hair gel

We have all heard the old wives tale' that wearing hats too often can restrict oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles which causes them to thin and go bald. While the reasoning behind this thought may sound reasonable to some, it is definitely a myth. So those of you who have thrown away hats and other hair-products out of fear, go ahead and stock up again.

Hair loss is related to a genetic sensitivity to the hormone called DHT. This hormone attaches to androgen receptors in the hair follicles and causes the follicles to shrink. The growth cycle of the hair follicles become shorter and the hair follicle itself becomes thinner until the hair follicle no longer grows. This process is called miniaturization.

So How Do You Prevent Genetic Hair Loss?

Currently, there are two FDA-approved medications that stop the progression of male and female pattern hair loss. The first medication is called Propecia or the generic version finasteride. Finasteride is a tablet that is taken daily to inhibit the conversion of testosterone to DHT. By reducing the amount of DHT available in the body, hair loss is significantly reduced.

The other medication is called Rogaine or the generic version minoxidil. Minoxidil is a topical solution that is applied to the scalp twice a day. Minoxidil does not inhibit DHT and the exact mechanism is still somewhat unknown. However, many believe that minoxidil works by prolonging the anagen (growth) phase of the hair follicle while increasing blood supply and nutrients to the hair follicles.