Men Home > What Every Man Ought to Know About Hair Loss
It's long been recognized that baldness seems to run in families. A study in 1916 confirmed that male pattern baldness is genetic and that it seems to be passed from mother to son. Later, gene studies confirmed that earlier study, identifying one gene in particular on the X chromosome that is linked to male pattern baldness. Because it's on the X chromosome, it means that that gene is passed from mothers to sons (but not from fathers to sons).
These studies were the source of some of the common myths surrounding the genetics of balding. For instance, you may have heard that the only way to know if you will be bald is to look at your maternal grandfather (your mother's father). If he's not bald, you're safe. Or you have heard that baldness skips a generation.
While these myths make some sense based on the early genetics studies, they don't really fit what is seen in real life, as many cases of male pattern baldness don't fit in with the usual genetic pattern. We now know that it's more complicated that just one gene. In fact, a second baldness gene (this one located on the Y chromosome) has been identified. This explains why baldness can be passed from father to son.
More baldness genes will probably be identified in the future. It is likely the complex interplay among several genes that accounts for differences in susceptibility to male pattern baldness among men.
In order for a man to develop male pattern baldness, two things must happen. First, he must have the right genes. Next, he must have a hefty amount of male hormones (like testosterone) surging through his bloodstream. We know this is true because boys or young men who are castrated (have their testicles removed) do not develop male pattern baldness as they get older, regardless of their genetics.
Need more proof? Think of famous bald men. Men like Bruce Willis, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Michael Jordan, Terry Bradshaw, Mike Tyson, and Vin Diesel are just a few of the scores of powerful, successful, "manly" men who have male pattern baldness.
So, if you've lost your hair, you can be proud of your virility. However, be aware that it doesn't work the other way around. Just because a man has a full head of hair doesn't mean he has low testosterone
(because a man won't develop male pattern baldness regardless of his testosterone levels, unless he has the right genes).