Hair Growth Is Genetic: True or False?
Look, we're not going to beat around the bush, so we'll get straight to the point—hair growth is genetic. Not everyone wants to hear this, especially if you have family members who are balding. But, it's true. Hair growth is genetic, and we've got the science to prove it.
If your family is genetically blessed with long luscious hair, then you're in luck. You'll probably have long luscious hair well into your 80s. But if you notice that a lot of your family members are balding, then you might not be as lucky.
The fact of the matter is, we can't control our genetics. It may be a bummer knowing your hair growth isn't something you can necessarily control—but that isn't what we're saying.
Just because hair growth is mostly genetic, that doesn't mean you're entirely hopeless. What if we told you that there is a way to slow down genetic hair loss? It's true - there are plenty of things you can do to slow the effects of genetic hair loss. But before we get into that, let's first try to understand how exactly genetics affects our hair growth.
How Genetics Affects Hair Growth
Our genes affect our hair growth in many ways. They affect our hair type, density, color, and texture. One study conducted in 2008 found that two specific types of genes are responsible for increasing hair thickness in people of Asian descent, for example 1.
Another study conducted in 2018 found specific ancestry-related patterns in hair morphology among people of African, European, and East Asian descent 2. These are just a few examples of how genetics affect hair growth.
Contrary to popular belief, hereditary hair loss doesn't only affect males. It also affects females. In medicine, this condition is also known as androgenetic or androgenic alopecia. But in layman's terms, this is known as female or male pattern baldness.
Female and male pattern baldness aren't exactly the same, which is why we'll discuss the differences between the two below.
Male Pattern Baldness
Male pattern baldness (MPB) often begins in the early 20s or 30s. It starts as an m-shaped pattern at the front of the scalp, slowly receding until you've lost the majority of your hair. About 80% of men experience MPB by the time they reach 80-years-old.
Males have X and Y chromosomes. MPB is strongly linked to the AR gene commonly found in the X chromosome of males. A study conducted in 2017 showed that men with the AR gene are twice as likely to develop MPB than men without it 3.
But the AR gene is not the only gene linked to balding. Another study found that 63 other genes are also linked to balding in men, and they aren't all found in the X chromosome 4. It was also found that 80% of men with fathers who are balding also lost their hair 5.
Female Pattern Baldness
Females usually start to experience hair loss after menopause. Unlike men whose hair loss begins at the front of their scalp, women experience hair loss in a Ludwig pattern. This hair loss pattern starts from the middle of the scalp spreading outwards.
It's still widely unknown which genetic factor specifically causes FPB. But scientists assume that several different genes are responsible for it. They just can't pinpoint which one 6. The closest they have to a verdict is the production of aromatase. Aromatase converts testosterone to estradiol, which may explain why females start losing their hair after menopause.
Other Factors Affecting Hair Growth
Aside from genetics, several other factors can affect hair growth and hair loss. Maybe you're experiencing hair loss and none of your elderly family members exhibited signs of balding. In this case, something else might be causing it. We've listed down all the other possible factors that affect hair growth below:
Women experience a lot of hormonal changes in their lives. Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, or menopause often cause hair loss. Thyroid problems also affect hormones and may lead to hair thinning and hair loss. If you're pregnant, we have a complete guide on how to take care of Black hair during pregnancy.
There are several kinds of alopecia. FPB and MPB are androgenetic alopecia caused by genetics. Alopecia areata and cicatricial alopecia are diseases that cause our immune system to attack our hair follicles. They often result in permanent, patchy hair loss in facial and scalp hair. Lastly, there's traumatic alopecia that is caused by injuries to the scalp. Not all forms of alopecia are genetic.
This is a rare impulse control disorder (i.e., kleptomania, pyromania, and pathologic gambling) that urges a person to compulsively pull out their hair. Doing so provides a feeling of satisfaction that can soothe stress and anxiety. But it also leads to major hair loss.
Ringworm isn't caused by worms. Instead, it is a fungal infection that can spread easily throughout your body, even on your scalp. When it does, the areas affected by ringworm often experience hair loss. Ringworm is easy to identify because it forms a red circle on the affected area. It can be treated with anti-fungal creams or shampoos.
Excessive styling, such as the frequent use of heat tools, bleaching, coloring, perms, and other chemical hair treatments, can injure your hair follicle and cause hair loss. Tight hairstyles can also damage your hair follicle.
If you notice hair loss and damage due to excessive hairstyling, you need to give your hair a break. Let it rest now and then to allow it to recover and regrow. We've got tons of great advice on Black hair care for hair growth in our blog.
Drugs and Supplements
Some drugs, such as those used to treat depression, heart problems, gout, high blood pressure, cancer, and arthritis, can also lead to hair loss. But these are rare side effects and are usually temporary.
If you stop taking birth control, this may affect your hormones and cause temporary hair loss. Don't stress though. The hair follicles will return to their normal state once your hormones have a chance to rebalance.
Cancer patients often undergo radiation therapy. It is common to lose hair during this aggressive treatment. But it doesn't lead to permanent hair loss - at least, not often. Once patients have completed their radiation therapy, their hair follicles will start growing back.
Stress has been said to play a role in alopecia areata. If you find yourself under a lot of stress, it may be good for both your mental health and hair health to relax. We know - easier said than done. But, coming up with a wellness regimen that helps you manage and eliminate sources of stress will do you wonders - so look into this!
Our hair requires a lot of nutrition. Zinc and protein are some of the most essential nutrients for hair. If your hair isn't getting enough of these essential nutrients, it can eventually lead to hair loss.
How To Stimulate Hair Growth & Slow Down Hair Loss
So, to answer the question of whether or not hair growth is genetic - yes. But this is just one of the many factors that may be causing hair thinning, as you now know.
If baldness happens to run in the family, all hope isn't lost. Sure, your stuck with your genes. But, you can do certain things to help promote hair growth and slow down your hair loss. Such as:
Make Lifestyle Changes
Making drastic lifestyle changes is usually the first recommendation when it comes to treating hair loss. Some things you can do to help include:
- Learn how to manage stress more effectively
- Eat a more balanced diet (specifically, one conducive to hair health)
- Get enough sleep
- Adjust your hairstyle if necessary
- Get regular exercise
This not only improves your hair health but your overall health as well. For a list of all the top foods to promote hair growth and health check out our blog post.
Studies have shown that red light therapy or laser therapy might help increase hair density in people experiencing genetic hair loss 7. But more studies still need to be made to measure how effective this treatment really is.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections
This type of therapy is said to help amplify your body's natural ability to heal tissue. Although this procedure is mainly done to help rehabilitate sports injuries. It is also said to have beneficial effects in promoting hair growth 8. But similar to laser therapy, more studies still need to be done to see how effective this treatment can be for those with thinning hair.
Hair Transplant Surgery
Hair transplants are probably one of the most effective ways to combat hereditary hair loss. But it's also one of the more expensive methods. It is done by taking healthy hair follicles from the back of your head and transplanting it onto the areas you're experiencing hair loss.
If you have hereditary hair loss, oral medications such as finasteride might be recommended to you by your doctor. Only your doctor can prescribe oral medications to you. Do not try to take finasteride or any other oral medications to treat hair loss if your doctor does not recommend it.
Minoxidil is a common topical treatment used for hair loss. But similar to oral medications, you still need to consult a doctor to determine if this approach is right for you. Plus, minoxidil doesn't work for everybody.
Don't worry, it isn't the only topical treatment out there. In fact, there is one that actually has real results to back it up: Allurium's Hair Growth Serum.
Slow Down Hair Loss With Allurium Hair Growth Serum
Hereditary hair loss doesn't have to stop you from achieving healthy, full-looking hair. If you can't afford a hair transplant, Allurium Beauty has an affordable and effective topical treatment that can help you promote hair growth and slow down hair loss.
Made from 100% organic ingredients, Allurium Hair Growth Serum is one of the most effective hair growth serums on the market. It's specially formulated for Black hair and is packed with vitamins and ancient herbs that are great for promoting hair growth.
Each bottle contains coconut oil, hemp seed oil, alma, castor oil, tea tree, chamomile, ginseng, horsetail, rosemary, sage, thyme, and so much more. There are no synthetic additives and fillers, just natural ingredients that have been used from generation to generation in Black hair care. Get yours today and achieve that luscious-looking hair!