Since ancient times, people have tried to reverse male hair loss. The Egyptians wore wigs, and the Romans rubbed myrrh berries on their heads. Centuries later, baldness is a phenomenon that continues to fascinate humans. What about you? Is a receding hairline in your DNA? An AncestryDNA test could help indicate if male hair loss runs in your family.
More About Male Pattern Baldness
Male pattern baldness is one of the most common types of hair loss that men experience.The scientific name for this condition is androgenetic alopecia. Men as young as teenagers can start to have hair loss, but it's more common in adults, especially older ones.
A receding hairline and hair thinning on the crown of the head are typical. As the hairline recedes, it makes an "M" shape on the head. The hair follicles shrink and hair eventually stops growing.
While definitely not always correlated, male pattern baldness can sometimes be linked to health problems, such as an enlarged prostate, prostate cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
The Genetics of Baldness
Scientists don't know exactly how baldness is passed down in families. But they do know environmental factors play a smaller role in male hair loss than genes. They also know male sex hormones like testosterone (called androgens) play a role, by regulating hair growth cycles.
If you look at balding genetics, you'll see it's more common to have several family members with premature male pattern baldness. So having family with early hair loss increases your risk.
Though most men don't start losing their hair until adulthood, their male pattern baldness is in their DNA from birth. Over 200 genetic markers likely influence this trait.
Science Behind Hair LossPredictions
Predicting hair loss and hair thinning in men is tricky because so many genetic markers have been identified that influence this trait.And these markers can interact with one another, making it even more complex.
AncestryDNA looks at three well-studied genetic markers. Differences in these genes help determine how likely the test taker or their male relatives are to have hair loss.
One of the variations associated with hair loss is found on the X chromosome. In men, this variation comes from their mom. But other genetic variations have been identified that prove hair loss can be passed on from both parents.
Interesting Facts About Hair Loss
Many people think male pattern baldness only affects men. But it can actually affect both genders.
Men, are however, more likely to have the condition: 50 million men in the U.S. have male pattern baldness compared to about 30 million women with some degree of hair loss. And in men over age 50, more than 50 percent have hair loss.
Male hair loss was long believed to be inherited from the mother's side. But male hair loss is actually influenced by several genetic and environmental factors.
Science has evolved, but even ancient Egyptians made concoctions to stop hair loss—made of fried dog paws, ground up donkey hooves, and dates.