Question: My mum has just been diagnosed with female hair loss at 47. I'm pretty sure it's hereditary so want to know if she has pattern hair loss does it mean I'll get male pattern baldness? My dad isn't around so I don't know what his hair's like. I'm 20 and think I have a good head of hair and a decent hairline but am worried about losing my hair in the future.
Answer: Hi, Roary. You are right in thinking that pattern hair loss is a hereditary condition; androgenetic alopecia, to give it its medical name, is the result of a number of genes which can be passed on by either your mother, your father, or both.
Although this permanent condition - which causes a genetic sensitivity to the androgen hormone DHT which attaches to hair follicles located around the top of the scalp from the hairline to the crown any time following puberty, leading to gradually weakened, thinning hair and receding in these areas - runs in families, it has been known to skip a generation.
When this happens, it means the relevant genetic traits may have been passed on but instead of being active, they may simply be dormant. This means that there may be no outward signs of hair loss but they can still be passed on to any children.
In terms of age, typically men with the relevant predisposition tend to start developing obvious symptoms of pattern hairloss in their 30s, though it is certainly not uncommon among young men in their 20s, either. These include a general decrease in hair density - how thick your hair feels, thinning on top, receding at the temples and/or a thinning crown.
Regardless of your mother's diagnosis, losing your hair is nothing to worry about. Firstly, although it is - unfortunately - likely, it is not certain it will happen to you.
Secondly, if it does happen, it may not be for a number of years yet, and even when it does start, the rate of shedding may be slow. The speed at which hair thins and sheds varies from person to person so it cannot be predicted but the process of going bald is definitely not a sudden one in cases of androgenetic alopecia.
Lastly, if the worst does happen and you start to lose your hair soon, there are clinically-proven Male Pattern Hair Loss treatments which can be used from the moment a diagnosis of this condition being actively present is made.
These help with inhibiting DHT, promoting accelerated hair growth and, with on-going use (Male Pattern Baldness is, after all, a permanent condition for which there is not yet a cure), preventing baldness.
Additional non-pharmaceutical hair growth supporting products can also be used to help encourage stronger hair regrowth and maintain normal healthy hair growth. These range from food supplements to follicle-stimulating, FDA-cleared low-level laser devices which can be used at home.
Right now, however, it does not appear you have any hair loss concerns so whilst it may be worth keeping an eye on your hairline and overall volume, there is no immediate action you should take.
Should this change, the first step would be to consult a hair loss specialist who can assess your scalp and diagnose any issues, as well as recommending a tailored treatment course where appropriate.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.