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Male Balding Genetics: Where Does The “Balding Gene” Come From?

Hereditary baldness affects 80% of men before they are 80 years old. By the time men are 35, around 66% will experience hair loss to some degree.

Read on

Hereditary baldness affects 80% of men before they are 80 years old. By the time men are 35, around 66% will experience hair loss to some degree.

We can hear a resounding “But WHY?” coming from the peanut gallery.

The popular belief is that your hairline is entirely determined by your mother. But hair genetics is a little more complicated than that. Let’s dive a little deeper into this topic and figure out what genes determine the fate of your locks.

Balding genetics explained

In all honesty, there is a lot about hair loss heredity that we just don’t understand yet. But this is what we do know…

The AR gene is found on the X chromosome

The androgen receptor (AR) gene is thought to be the big bad wolf of hair loss genes. Certain variations of this gene are thought to be a contributing factor in the case of androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness. (Yes, this gene is found on the X chromosome.)

The AR gene creates the androgen receptors on hair follicles. Your unique genetics can determine how sensitive your androgen receptors are to the androgens testosterone and DHT. When you are genetically sensitive to increased levels of DHT binding to androgen receptors, it could cause the miniaturization of follicles and result in male pattern hair loss.  

In a 2013 study, researchers shared “It appears that in balding men DHT binds to androgen receptors in susceptible hair follicles and, by an unknown mechanism, activates genes responsible for follicular miniaturization.”

There are 71 genes that may contribute to the risk of male pattern hair loss

While it’s easy to want to blame one pesky gene on a receding hairline, the reality is your hair is a polygenetic trait (which means it’s influenced by more than just one gene). In a 2017 study including more than 70,000 men, researchers found there are 71 genes that increase the risk of male pattern hereditary hair loss.

This is the real kicker though, only 6 of these genes (!) were found on the mother-gifted X chromosome. Food for thought, eh? Our genetic traits are determined by a vast combination of scattered genes -- “the genetic architecture” of our gene expression. This is why scientists are still discovering new information about hair loss genetics.

What is the solution to hereditary hair loss?

If we can’t necessarily pinpoint who and what is causing hereditary hair loss, the next step is to find a solution. There are many things you can do to combat hereditary hair loss. One of the more common and effective ways to combat hereditary hair loss is by treating DHT sensitivity.

Neil Sadick A clinical professor at Weill Cornell Medical College says “Propecia [the brand name of Finasteride] is probably the most important advance in hair loss therapy in the last several decades."

Finasteride is an oral tablet that is known as a DHT blocker that may be able to pump the breaks on DHT-related hair loss. To those of you who inherited sensitive androgen receptors thanks to your AR gene variation, this medication is really great news.

Treating DHT-related hair loss early is a great way to retain your hair as DHT can permanently damage the hair follicle and thus disrupt hair growth permanently.

Learn more: DHT blockers: Benefits for hair and where to find them

Bottom line:

  • So, is your hair loss genetically gifted from your mom or dad? The truth is, there’s not a clear cut answer since it isn’t all about one specific gene.
  • But, you can inherit hereditary hair loss from your family.
  • The AR gene can determine hair follicles androgen sensitivity.
  • There are whopping 71 genes that have been identified as being associated with a higher risk of male pattern hair loss.
  • You can combat hereditary hair loss with DHT blockers like finasteride.

Strut Health helps guys keep their hair

If you’re worried about heredity hair loss getting worse, you might consider speaking to your doctor about your treatment options. Trying DHT blockers might help pump the brakes on hereditary male pattern hair loss.

Here at Strut, we help guys keep their hair. This is why we offer prescription finasteride tablets or topical finasteride gel online. If you’d like to try this DHT blocker, start by completing a free online questionnaire-based doctor's consultation. This will determine if you’re a good candidate for this hair loss treatment.

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