While some types of hair loss are caused by external factors such as strain on the follicles (traction alopecia), others are influenced by our genes.
What are genes and what do they do?
If you studied biology at school, you might remember that human body cells contain a nucleus where chromosomes are stored. The chromosomes are made from strands of DNA, segments of which are called genes. Genes hold information to tell your body to make specific proteins and control the development of traits. The information in our genes is inherited from our parents and includes eye colour and hair colour, as well as some health conditions.
Are my genes making me go bald?
The most common hair loss condition, androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness), is strongly influenced by genetics. Researchers have found that a variation of the DNA code causes individuals to be more sensitive to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). In these people, DHT causes the hair follicles to miniaturise, producing finer, weaker growth and eventually going dormant. In men, the hair affected is usually located around the hairline and vertex of the head, while women experience generalised thinning.
Can I avoid genetic hair loss?
Looking at your parents and older family members can often give a hint as to whether you’ll experience hair loss or not. If your father is bald on top, or your granny had thinning hair, it is likely that you’ll develop androgenetic alopecia too. Until relatively recently, hair loss caused by androgenetic alopecia was considered to be permanent and there were no satisfactory solutions for sufferers.
Today, there is a great range of treatments available to prevent and treat this type of hair loss. The medications finasteride and minoxidil are a particularly effective choice for people who have early-stage balding and can halt the progression of pattern baldness. They can be used alone or as part of a treatment plan with LLLT and mesotherapy to enhance the results. Hair transplant surgery offers another practical solution, allowing even those with more advanced balding to get their hairline restored. A third option which continues to become increasingly popular is Micro Scalp Pigmentation. It is a non-surgical technique that creates the illusion of short stubbly hair growth through the application of specialist pigments to the scalp.