We can thank, or blame, our mothers for a lot of things. But is hair loss one of them?
We've all heard it before; hair loss is passed down from your mother's side, but how much truth is there to this saying? While it is true that genetics are the main cause of hair loss in men and women; the reality is, hair loss genes can be inherited from either your mother's or father's side of the family, or a combination of the two.
Which means, don't be so fast to blame mom for your thinning locks or receding hairline.
In fact, there are approximately 200 genes that regulate hair growth. After puberty, the hereditary hair loss genes can take over -- causing a gradual and progressive miniaturization of hair follicles. According to the American Hair Loss Association, by the age of 35, approximately two-thirds of men will experience some degree of hair loss; and by the age of 50, 85 per cent of men have significantly thinning hair.
And despite what some may believe, hair loss is not strictly a man's problem. More than half of all women over 40 experience thinning hair, and they can inherit 'hair loss genes' too, just like men. In women, genetic hair loss happens differently than men. While many women can experience significant hair loss -- women do not typically "go bald." That is an important factor in diagnosing and treating female pattern hair loss vs. male pattern hair loss. The main difference between male and female pattern hair loss is the fact that female hair loss occurs more diffusely over the affected areas of scalp, leaving some follicles unscathed while severely miniaturizing others.
Both men and women can inherit the "hair loss gene" amongst other hair characteristics that make hair loss appear more significant. Based on our DNA (from both mother and father) we are prone to thinning hair starting at a certain time in life any time after puberty and progressing at a certain predetermined speed. As our hair ages, the follicle function diminishes in proportion to hereditary risk.
While genetics undoubtedly play a large role in how our hair ages, as well as our susceptibility to hair loss, it is important to remember that there are many other factors that can be contributing to your hair loss, such as illness, medications, stress, social factors and other habits, which can all accelerate hair loss.
So how can you tell if you have the hair loss gene in your DNA? Today, with a simple swab of the cheek, you can accurately determine your chances of going bald later in life. New genetic tests can not only tell whether you're at risk for future hair loss, but can also predict how well you will respond to certain treatments, like finasteride. Early intervention is the key to preventing and managing hair loss. If a patient who's genetically prone to hair loss starts treatments early on, he or she may be able to maintain a full and healthy hairline for many years to come.
The good news is, regardless of how far along your hair loss is, there are medical treatments that can help. A typical multi-therapy approach may include compounded prescription minoxidil, physician-only low level laser therapy devices, as well as nutraceutical and nutritional supplements -- but additional measures like PRP, prostaglandin analogs and hair transplant surgery may also be used depending on the person's individual case.
If you're worried about hair loss, or are interested in learning whether or not you have the 'hair loss gene,' it is important to consult with an experienced hair restoration physician -- someone who specializes exclusively in the medical diagnosis, treatment and tracking of hair loss and its treatment. Only a qualified and experienced hair restoration physician can prescribe the most effective multi-therapy treatment options, including the latest available products, as well as track your results.
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook
Follow Alan J. Bauman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrAlanBauman