How Hair Loss Actually Works

How hair loss actually works - there’s more to it than just your mother’s father.

Losing your hair isn’t an easy feat to deal with. Many men and women are confronted with this problem during their lifetime. 

Hair loss can cause a whole range of problems, ranging from a lack of confidence and self-esteem, right through to anxiety and depression. This is particularly concerning when it comes to younger people who are experiencing hair loss.

There are many societal standards of beauty placed upon men and women, and many of these involve hairstyles and hair health. As a result, balding is often stigmatized, leaving those experiencing conditions such as male or female pattern baldness feeling cast out, and ashamed about their physical appearance.

Despite the negative consequences often seen from experiencing hair loss, most people going through it don’t really know why it’s happening to them or just blame it on bad genes. While genetics do play a role in baldness for both genders, there’s often more to it than that. There are multiple causes when it comes to losing your hair. Most of them we’ll discuss here.

First, let’s take a look at non-genetic causes for hair loss.

Non-genetic related causes of balding


One of the biggest and most known cause besides genetic factors that causes hair loss in men and women is stress. But there are other reasons like faulty hair care or an infection. Let’s take a closer look.

The impact of stress on your hair


Who doesn’t suffer from stress these days? It’s almost strange if you hear someone say they don’t feel stressed out most of the time. The issue is actually far more problematic than you might think because it has an effect on many areas in your life. Your hair being one of them.

After only as little as three months of prolonged stress, you can notice the impact it has on your hair. Be it temporary hair loss due to the body redirecting it’s energy or simply pulling out hair, it has major repercussions on your scalp. Luckily if the stressor is removed the hair usually grows back.

Hair care routines that destroy your hair


If you’re very into todays’ trends of coloring, perming or relaxing you hair to match beauty standards, you might be doing permanent damage. Using these styles on a constant basis will result in hair loss. Even irreversible hair loss if you’re not careful. So take this into consideration when you’re trying to pick out a new go-to style.

Scalp infection


Yes, this does exist. And yes, it can lead to balding. A scalp infection is easily detected. There will be scaly, inflamed areas around your head. If you can spot small black dots and if you start to lose your hair you should go see a qualified medical doctor. Infections are treatable and once cleared, the hair will grow back. The most important thing to do is not ignore any problems with your scalp, and consult a professional as soon as you notice anything that doesn’t look right.

Genes: the main reason for pattern baldness


We’ve taken a look at some other causes of hair loss, like stress. Yet, the most common pattern for hair loss is still simple genetics. Especially when talking about male and female pattern baldness.

Firstly, let’s look at male pattern baldness. You’ve probably heard people say if you look at the head of your mother’s father you know what you’re future scalp will look like. While there is a certain amount of truth in this piece of common knowledge, there’s more to it than that.

There is a variant of the X chromosome, which is inherited from your mother, that is mostly responsible for early-onset MPB. So studies have proven that when people say it’s your mothers’ fault, that saying is in fact based on truth. But it isn’t as simple as that. In fact, there can be a lot of other factors at play, as we’ve already briefly mentioned.

Because it’s not always your mother’s fault. Another study from Germany found that a variant of one specific chromosome could also be at the base of male pattern baldness. We’re talking about chromosome 20 here. This study discusses that if both the chromosome 20 variant and the X chromosome variant are found, chances are seven times higher that you’ll develop MPB.

So not only your mother is to blame here. Because the variant of chromosome 20 can be either from your father’s side or your mother’s, putting a lot of doubt on the long-held myth.

Next, let’s examine the genetic link for female pattern baldness. Like MPB, there appears to be a significant link between genetics and female pattern baldness. However, unlike the male condition, females can actually inherit the gene responsible from either parent.

However, as female pattern baldness often develops after menopause, hormonal changes may also be a contributing factor here, and so they need to be considered to complete the picture. 

In short


Hair loss is a dreadful experience with a lot of different causes to go through. It might be purely stress-related, which in most cases can be resolved by removing the stressor for your life. Other non-genetic reasons can be how you style your hair or a simple scalp infection. But on the other hand, when talking about pattern baldness, genetics do come into play. Two main causes have been detected so far: a variant on the X chromosome given down through your mother or a variant on chromosome 20.

Despite all the science, it’s important to remember that your hair doesn’t define you. Just because society places a lot of expectations of beauty standards on men and women doesn’t mean that those experiencing pattern baldness need to feel ashamed. In fact, many people actually embrace the look, wearing their bald head with pride – although that’s completely up to you as well. The most important thing to remember is that it’s your head, and your choice. Even though there’s a lot of options out there for battling hair loss, nobody’s forcing you to go down a certain path.

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