Question: My hair is starting to thin but there's no male pattern baldness in my family so I want to know what happens when there's hair loss but it's not genetic? Can you tell me what causes it and can you still treat it?
Answer: Hi, Harry. There are many factors that can cause hair loss, especially when it presents as thinning.
The most common is Male Pattern Baldness - androgenetic alopecia - which, as you know, is inherited. The genetic predisposition can come from either side of the family and it is even possible for it to 'skip generations', yet still be passed on.
This happens where the genes are present but inactive, so the individual does not show any outward signs of hair loss but still has the relevant genes which can therefore be passed on.
Because of this, you may need to look further back in your family tree to determine whether there is any Male or Female Pattern Hair Loss further back.
Another quick way to tell if you have Male Pattern Hair Loss is to find out whereabouts on the scalp the thinning hair is, and where hair fall is coming from. Hereditary hair loss only affects the top of the head - the vertex area - from the crown to the hairline and temples. Any shedding below this is likely to be the result of a different hair loss condition.
Other non-genetic hair loss conditions which can cause thinning hair include Telogen Effluvium or, it's chronic form, Diffuse Thinning. These both cause temporary shedding from all over the scalp.
They are usually caused by an underlying medical or lifestyle issue, including thyroid problems, anaemia, nutritional deficiencies and side effects of certain prescription medications.
Up to approximately 30 to 40 per cent of hair on the scalp may shed around three months after being triggered and normal hair growth should resume naturally within six months, depending on the severity. Treatment can be sought to help accelerate this hair regrowth.
Furthermore, hair breakage - often the result of too-frequent heat styling - can give hair the appearance of being weak and thin, but is not actually a hair loss condition as it does not involve the follicle. It is simply the result of weakened hair snapping along the shaft, and can generally be resolved by getting a good hair cut to tidy up the damaged hair.
If you are seeing thinning edges, also known as a receding hairline, this could be Male Pattern Hair Loss or, if you regularly wear your hair in tight hairstyles such as braids or a man bun, Traction Alopecia. Again, this can be treated but the source of the tension which places excessive strain on the follicles, should also be removed.
If you would like to see precisely how these different hair loss conditions can present, you can take a look at our men's Hair Loss Treatment Success Stories in case any look similar to what you are experiencing.
As you can see, it's difficult to provide an exact diagnosis on just the information you have provided so we recommend having an in-person or online consultation with a hair loss specialist. This will provide you with a confirmation of your condition as well as personalised recommendations for appropriate hair loss treatments, as well as any beneficial hair growth supporting products.
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.