Hair loss or baldness is a genetic trait—but unlike what you may have been told, it’s not necessarily passed down from your maternal grandfather. Medical science has come to learn that hair loss genes are actually passed down from both sides of the family, and they affect hair loss in both men and women. Hair loss genes may also skip generations and are utterly random in terms of which siblings (male or female) they will affect. They may even have very different effects on siblings within the same family. What causes hair loss for one family member may differ entirely from what causes another family member’s hair loss, so it is best to not rule anything out before seeking a medical opinion.
- The leading cause of hair loss in men is male pattern baldness, also known as Androgenetic Alopecia. Male pattern baldness is characterized by hair receding from the lateral sides of the forehead (known as a “receding hairline”) and/or a thinning crown (balding to the area known as the ‘vertex’). Both hair recession and hair thinning become more pronounced until they eventually meet, leaving a horseshoe-shaped ring of hair around the back of the head.
Male pattern baldness occurs in men whose hair follicles are sensitive to the hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. Over time, DHT-sensitive hair (usually found on the top and front of the head) becomes weaker, finer, and eventually stops growing. However, even men who experience advanced hair loss typically have healthy hair follicles around the sides of the head. Even though these healthy hairs are exposed to DHT, they are resistant to this hormone and survive for a lifetime.
This is the basis of surgical hair restoration. The procedure works by transplanting these DHT- resistant healthy hair follicles around the sides and back of the head, to the areas where more hair is needed (frontal and top).