Jodie Katia »
June 19, 2017 at 2:43 am
“Of all the genetic traits — height, weight and so forth — baldness is one of the few which is 80 to 90 percent genetic, and only 10 percent environmental,” Sinclair told HuffPost Australia.
In fact, when it comes to male pattern baldness, the trait is so ingrained in your genetic makeup, identical twins will go bald at the same age, rate and pattern irrespective of their diet or lifestyle.
As for how it works, in males, you can compare the process to a teenage boy first growing facial hair (though of course, when it comes to baldness, it happens in reverse).
“Someone with a full head of hair might have big hair follicles, which produce big thick, pigmented hairs,” Sinclair said. “When someone starts losing their hair, these follicles essentially transform into tiny little follicles.
“Think of the the upper lip of a teenage boy. A boy starts off with tiny little hairs which are almost invisible — those tiny, wispy little hairs — which eventually grow stronger and larger until that boy has a full beard or mustache.
“Interestingly, the same process is happening in the exact reverse on scalp.”
In terms of exactly what is causing this to happen, the basic gist is that androgen [male] hormones can (and do) bind to receptors in scalp follicles. This process is essentially what causes the hair follicles to shrink, making it impossible for healthy hair to survive.
Or, in Sinclair’s words: “What we do know is the androgen hormones binding to the androgen receptors is what stimulates hair follicle minimisation.”
Female pattern hair loss (FPHL) is also a genetic trait — one which, according to Sinclair, almost 60 percent of Australian women are predisposed to.
While hair thinning/hair loss may affect women differently to men (more on that later), the cause behind it is essentially the same.
Basically, FPHL occurs when a woman who is already predisposed to the condition (thanks, Mum and Dad) is exposed to androgens. (Just because androgens are male hormones, it doesn’t mean women don’t have them).
Much like in men, those pesky, hair-hating androgens then minimise susceptible scalp follicles until they become so small they are no longer able to support normal hair production.
For more on the genetic causes of hair loss, I recommend this article:
Genetic hair loss in women and men
Information about Genetic hair loss in women and men: