Genetic(Hereditary) Hair Loss Cure and Treatment in Men & Females
By Dr. Kapil Dua
Your hair is an integral part of your personality and losing it can often be quite traumatic for most people. However, as simple as the hair might seem, it is actually quite a complex structure and within the hair and below the scalp, there is so much happening that it is often tough for the mind to fathom. Its complexity also arises from facts such as some people have thick lustrous hair, but some keep losing them, no matter how much they take care of it. Then there are also genetic issues, wherein, for no apparent fault of their own, they end up losing much hair.
Most of the times, people are not even aware of the fact that there is something known as genetic hair loss. However, it is actually easy enough to observe – if your father had lost most of his hair during his late 30s or early 40s and you are going the same way too, chances are that you too are suffering from genetic hair loss. Studies have shown that genetic hair loss need not be passed on only from father to son or mother to daughter; if there is someone in your immediate family who has suffered massive hair loss, it could be passed on to you too.
Can genetic baldness be stopped?
There is actually no way to stop genetic baldness, because it is already ‘engrained in your DNA’, however, there are methods by which you can reduce the hair loss. In addition, there are also methods by which you can regain some of the hair that you might have lost. If you have noticed that there are people in your family who are suffering from hair loss, at an early stage in life, then you might want to start taking some precautions in your early years too. Ideally, you need to make sure that you eat right and not indulge in unhealthy habits, which could lead to hair loss.
In order to attempt stopping genetic hair loss, it is important to understand how it actually happens – medically known as androgenetic alopecia, the condition is also known as male or female pattern baldness. The hair loss will start and progress in a certain manner – normally starting at the temples and then working inwards or starting at the crown and working outwards towards the side of the head. The condition actually manifests itself, when there is an increase in the DHT or Dihydrotestosterone levels in the body. These elevated levels of DHT reduce and generally hamper the life cycle of the susceptible hair.
The moment you start noticing a few extra hair on your comb, or on your pillow, you can meet a Dermatologist/trichologist. Chances are that they will prescribe medication such as Minoxidil or Finasteride along with some multivitamins (e.g. Biotin) and anti-oxidants, which will help to reduce the hair loss. You could also ask your doctor about herbal options, which will reduce the effect of the DHT, allowing hair to grow in a better way.
Can hereditary hair loss be reversed?
There would be those who argue that hair loss is something that cannot be reversed, but if you have started losing hair because of genetics, there are some steps you can take to ensure that you slow the process, if not completely stop it. For starters, you can practice better hair care procedures, such as oiling regularly and washing and conditioning it with good brands of products. While it might be tempting to wash your hair every day, it is not the healthiest option for your hair, because every time you wash it, you are stripping your scalp of natural oils, leaving the hair weak and vulnerable to breakage. Increase the intake of foods such as meat, eggs, cheese, legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables and milk. All of these will help increase the natural levels of protein in your body and since hair is made of a protein named keratin, it will help in the long run.
Can female genetic hair loss be reversed?
As is the case with male genetic hair loss, with female genetic hair loss too, getting the same hair back might not be possible; however, you could try to slow down the process by investing in good hair care products. Women tend to spend a lot of time styling their hair, using chemical products, heat and tools that often damage the hair. If you are starting to notice the genetic hair loss, it would be wise to stay away from the curling or straightening irons, strong chemicals, such as those used for straightening or perming and also curlers. You might also want to switch to a better shampoo and conditioner – one which is gentler on the scalp and hair. Increase the regular intake of foods which are high in protein, such as eggs, meat, spinach, kale, milk, legumes and nuts, which help improve the keratin levels in your body. Ask your hair specialist for herbal oils that you can use for hair massage, because these are known to show results.
In more severe cases, in both men and women, you might be prescribed topical medications such as Minoxidil or oral tablets such as Finasteride and some multivitamins containing Biotin. However, you need to make sure that you talk to your doctor first, and take these only on their advice. If the hair loss has gone beyond saving, then you could consider getting a hair transplant.
What is the normal genetic hair loss pattern in men?
Androgenetic alopecia or male pattern hair loss presents itself in mostly two ways – the hair will start receding backwards from the temples. This means that you will start noticing a larger forehead and it will keep getting more prominent. The other pattern that is commonly noticed is the appearance of a bald patch on the top of the head and the patch starts to enlarge, moving in an outward direction. In very rare cases, hair will start falling off in random patches and in just as rare cases, the hair loss will be absolute in less than a year.