Understanding hereditary balding is complex. Most people believe that they can blame their baldness gene on their mothers. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. At the Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery Institute, the best dermatologist in South Florida, we share our vast insight into the baldness gene and how being bald is a condition genetically inherited from both the mother and father. 

The ‘Baldness Gene’ Explained

What determines baldness are your genes, and hair loss happens in a predictable pattern commonly known as male pattern baldness (MPB) or female pattern baldness (FPB). Men can often expect to see MPB begin occurring as an m-shaped receding hairline. Usually starting around the age of 20 to 30, it will appear first at the front of the scalp.  For women, it is more common to experience hair loss after menopause. The balding pattern for women is commonly referred to as the Ludwig pattern, a gradual hairline recession along the part of your hair.   [1] A study investigating the baldness gene in twins found that genetics account for 80% of male pattern baldness.  While male pattern baldness isn’t entirely understood, one aspect is becoming more apparent. Male pattern baldness is polygenic – involving one or more genes.  [2]Another study showed that more than 80% of people with fathers who had lost hair also began experiencing noticeable balding. 

What Determines Baldness? 

For many years people have blamed hair loss on receiving the male pattern baldness gene and their hair genetics. Specifically, people believed that a gene was passed down from mothers to sons on her X-chromosome. But our Lake Worth dermatology office is here to put that widespread hair myth to rest.   If you would like to point a finger and blame anyone for your baldness gene, be sure to blame both your father and mother. While genetics play a huge role in hair loss, various other factors can also influence thinning or hair loss. 

Other than Genetic Hair Loss, What Causes Balding? 

While the baldness gene plays a considerable role in genetic hair loss, other contributions can cause baldness. For women, it is common to experience hair loss once menopause has begun, and as for men, they can often see balding begin in their early adulthood. Some other influences to hair loss are: 
  • Hormonal changes
  • Alopecia areata
  • Trichotillomania
  • Stressful hairstyles like tight ponytails
  • Drugs and supplements
  • Birth control 
  • Radiation therapy
  • Stress
  • Nutritional deficiencies 

Does Baldness Skip a Generation? 

This is one of the most often asked questions that our South Florida dermatology institute gets asked. The simple fact of the matter is that the inheritance pattern of male-pattern baldness is complex and not fully understood, but it is generally believed to be determined by multiple genes. It is possible for baldness to skip a generation, but it is not a universal rule. Overall, while baldness may appear to skip a generation, it is not a reliable or predictable pattern of inheritance. If you are concerned about your risk of baldness, it is recommended that you speak with a healthcare professional or a genetic counselor who can provide more personalized information based on your family history and other factors.

If Your Dad Is Bald Will You Be Bald?

Since a good measure of whether or not you will be bald is looking at your immediate family, a good idea of what your hair will look like in the future is seeing what the immediate male members of your family look like, including your father. If your dad is bald, you may be at a slightly higher risk of experiencing male-pattern baldness than someone without a family history of the condition. However, it is not the end-all-be-all of discovering your future head of hair. There are many genetic and environmental factors that play into your propensity for baldness, but having a father that is bald does increase your chances of becoming bald. 

Does Baldness Come From Your Maternal Grandfather? 

Much like your father, how much hair your maternal grandfather has is a strong indicator of whether or not you will be bald in the future. This is because one of the main causes of baldness is someone’s sensitivity to DHT, which is a byproduct of testosterone. DHT can also have a negative effect on hair follicles, leading to hair loss in some people. DHT can bind to receptors on the hair follicles, which can cause the hair follicles to shrink and produce thinner and shorter hair. Over time, the hair follicles may become so small that they are unable to produce visible hair, leading to hair loss. Since it is believed that this trait is passed down from the mother’s side, it could be deduced that the maternal grandfather is a good indicator of how sensitive the mother’s offspring will be to testosterone and DHT production. 

Who Do You Inherit Your Hair From? 

Our dermatologist consultants in South Florida would like to point out that hair traits such as texture, color, and thickness are determined by genes inherited from both parents. Each person has two copies of each gene, one inherited from the mother and one from the father. The combination of these genes determines the hair traits that a person will have. The simple fact of the matter is that hair loss and hair genetics are rather complex, which means that there is no concrete answer about hair and hair genes. However, your family history is a good indicator of what you could come to expect in your future. 

More About DCSI

If you are seeking treatment for noticeable balding, then it may be time to see a dermatologist. We can help take control of the issues and find a treatment plan that works best for you. Our dermatologists in Wellington and our Palm Beach dermatology institutes specialize in a wide range of dermatology conditions, including hair loss. We pride ourselves on providing the best hair loss treatment in South Florida.  If you are suffering from hair loss, we want you to know that there is treatment available! Dr. Mounir Wassef can treat all dermatology conditions and diseases present. Contact our Wellington, FL dermatologists today to learn more about what we could offer you and what makes us one of the best dermatologists in South Florida.  Additional Readings:  Vitamin C Benefits for Skin, Hair, and Health Is It Bad to Self-Diagnose on the Internet? Fungal Acne Treatment

Sources:  [1] NCBI – Genetic Prediction of Male Pattern Baldness [2] NCBI – Male Androgenetic Alopecia