The word “balding” refers to thinning or loss of hair. In men, male pattern baldness starts as early as puberty and is related to genes and hormones. Aging, especially after menopause, can accelerate it.
Traction alopecia, caused by tightly braided cornrows and other hairstyles that pull and stress the scalp, is another common cause of balding. It’s usually reversible but can become permanent. Visit Dot Matrix for more information.
While genetics plays a significant role in male pattern baldness, other factors can also influence the development of thinning hair and balding. The most well-known gene responsible for baldness is the androgen receptor (AR) gene on the X chromosome. When your mother conceived you, she had two X chromosomes, and there is a 50% chance that you will receive one of them with the AR gene mutation that causes baldness.
This gene is a regulatory component of the hair follicle growth cycle and controls the response of follicles to circulating androgens. The genetic variation associated with baldness affects how your hair follicles respond to androgens, and it is the primary cause of your predisposition to develop balding as you age.
Men with a strong family history of baldness may be predisposed to the condition at a younger age than others, and some may even go completely bald in their twenties or thirties. One copy of the affected gene substantially increases the hereditary risk for baldness.
However, hereditary traits due to a single gene rarely show a bimodal distribution as they do with baldness. Furthermore, family studies have demonstrated a resemblance of hair loss between fathers and sons that mutations in the androgen receptor gene cannot explain.
A large number of common autosomal genes are also associated with baldness. Heritability estimates of these independent loci are close to zero, suggesting that most of the variance in baldness is due to interaction between many different genes. To investigate this further, heritability estimates were computed using GCTA-GREML with a minor allele frequency cutoff of 1%.
The heritability estimates from GCTA-GREML were used to perform stratified linkage disequilibrium score regression, which accounts for correlations among related individuals. This analysis revealed that approximately 47% of the variation in baldness is attributable to common autosomal gene variants, and about 4.6% is attributable to common X chromosome gene variants. These results were comparable to heritability estimates from GWAS performed on the imputed X chromosome SNP data for UK Biobank.
A hormone is a chemical that signals cells to perform certain functions by passing messages directly from glands to the bloodstream. It is a signaling compound that can spur cellular growth, for example, by delivering the necessary materials to build a new muscle or repair an old one. Hormones may also control metabolic processes like regulating food intake and glucose metabolism.
A hormonal imbalance can lead to many problems, including hair loss in men. Fortunately, modern medicine can often correct the imbalances that cause this condition. Hormones are also important for the body’s overall vitality and function, so balancing them is essential to good health.
The term “hormone” was first used in 1905 to describe compounds secreted by glands that carry instructions to specific tissues within the body. The original definition of a hormone included the idea that the secretions are transmitted to their targets through the bloodstream and can be transferred to other tissues by diffusion across cell membranes. Today, a broader definition of a hormone includes many regulatory substances that don’t necessarily travel through the bloodstream. These include cytokines, growth factors, and autacoid compounds.
Examples of hormones are cortisol, melatonin, and testosterone. The latter is the main male sex hormone, promoting masculine traits such as facial hair, a thick voice, and increased muscle mass. It also prepares the uterus for pregnancy and regulates the menstrual cycle. It also affects body weight, cholesterol, and lipid metabolism. Estrogen, the main female sex hormone, controls the reproductive system and promotes feminine traits. It also influences body weight and bone and muscle growth. Insulin, the main hormone produced by the pancreas, is an example of a peptide hormone. It helps the body move sugar into cells, which are used for energy.
Infections can lead to baldness in some people. They often affect the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, and body hair. This can be due to a fungal infection such as tinea capitis (scaly, itchy scalp) or an autoimmune disease like alopecia areata and lupus.
Fungal infections can cause circular, scaly bald spots that get bigger over time. They can also make your skin red or itchy and sometimes ooze pus. These infections can be spread through skin-to-skin contact or touching objects or other people with contaminated hands.
Bacterial infections are more common and can spread by skin-to-skin contact, touching other people or objects with contaminated fingers, sneezing, or coughing. These infections can cause hair loss called folliculitis, which destroys the tiny openings in your skin from which hairs grow. This can lead to bald patches that don’t grow back.
There are many kinds of folliculitis infections, and staph bacteria, yeast, parasites, or a virus can cause them. A severe infection can cause permanent hair loss. This is especially true for folliculitis that causes boils or carbuncles (furuncles) on the head, which are painful inflamed bumps.
Avoid over-shampooing. Too much shampooing can strip your hair of its natural oils and cause it to feel dry and brittle. Instead, use a sulfate-free shampoo formulated for your hair type and condition. Shampoo less often, and only use a gentle conditioner when you do. Also, avoid using heat-intensive styling tools, such as hair dryers, hot curlers, and a blower, or use heat-protective products when you do.
Some people may experience thinning hair as a result of a psychological or emotional disorder, such as trichotillomania or other forms of repetitive hair pulling. This kind of thinning is usually irreversible, but there are ways to minimize the damage and encourage hair regrowth. Talk to a psychologist or therapist if you think your thinning hair is related to a mental health issue, as they can offer guidance and counseling.
Women with thin hair can still achieve the look of fullness they desire if they know how to style them. The best hairstyles for thinning hair use a mix of texture and sometimes layering to add volume, which is exactly what a woman with thinning hair needs.
A long, textured pixie cut with short sides and a longer crown is an excellent option for many women with thinning hair. This allows them to keep their length while incorporating many face-framing layers. It is a versatile style worn straight, with waves, or even spiked up. Adding some color to this hairstyle can also add depth and dimension.
Whether your client chooses a natural, soft blonde or a vibrant purple hair shade, they will always benefit from adding light highlights to their tresses. This will enhance their hair color and make it look even brighter and fuller. Another trick to making hair look fuller is to use a volumizing spray or mousse. These products are easy to apply and instantly add body to your client’s hair.
A style like pompadour may be appropriate if a client’s thinning hair is more concentrated at the top of her head. This classic ’40s and ’50s hairstyle features a high, slicked-back crown that masks the thinning area and creates an overall look of thickness. However, a chin-grazing bob may be better if your client wants a more feminine look.
A chin-length shag with curtain bangs can add face-framing volume to thin hair and is an attractive option for oval, square, or oblong face shapes. You can style it with your client’s hair up or down; it is easy to grow out when she’s ready for a new look.
A choppy pixie haircut is a stylish way to cover up thin hair. Its blunt shape makes it appear thicker and fuller, and it looks especially great when dyed a bold hue. This look works well for women of all ages and is especially flattering on women transitioning to grey hair.