If you’re an adult over the age of 35 with a full head of hair, consider yourself lucky. According to the American Hair Loss Association, a whopping two thirds of men are affected by some form of hair loss by age 35. By the age of 50, about 85 percent of men will have experienced a substantial amount of thinning. Basically, almost all men are affected by hair loss sooner or later. Balding is completely normal. And yet, most of us would rather not be bald. Who, or what, can we blame fore our hair loss?

It’s not Your Food, Your Shampoo, or your Hairstyle

Much like we tend to blame an acute bout of the stomach flu on the latest thing we ate, we think we must have done something to cause our hair loss. Some people think wearing hats too often might trigger hair loss. Others blame it on their shampoo, their nutrition, or even their elevated sex drive.

Rest assured that none of the above hair loss myths are legitimate reasons for your thinning hair. Yes, you can lose hair as a result of serious disease, or as a side effect of certain medications. You might even lose your hair during times of extreme stress in your life. But all of these are examples of temporary hair loss. Once the condition causing it disappears, your hair typically grows back.

The vast majority of permanent hair loss is caused by a condition called Androgenic Alopecia. More commonly, it is known as Male Pattern Baldness or MPB. While women also suffer from hair loss (up to 40% of hair loss sufferers are actually women), MPB causes more than 95% of the hair loss found in men.

You Can Blame Your Mom and Dad

Male Pattern Baldness is a genetic condition. If you want to blame someone for your hair loss, blame your parents and ancestors. People often say they’ve inherited their baldness from their maternal grandfather. There is some truth to that. In a German study at the University of Bonn in 2005, researchers found a DNA difference on the X-chromosome that was associated with going bald. They were further able to narrow down the specific region on the X-chromosome to the androgen receptor gene. Balding men tend to have a different version of this gene than men who keep their hair. Since the X-chromosome is handed down to men through their mother, this study shows that at least some balding in men is inherited through the maternal line.

However, two more recent studies (one in Switzerland and one in Germany), have found another gene that’s responsible for balding. There is a region on chromosome 20 called 20p11 that was found to be associated with balding. Once again, people who go bald tend to have a different version of 20p11 than people who keep their hair. Having the “balding” version of the 20p11 gene can make men more likely to go bald by up to 7 times compared to men with the regular version.

Since this chromosome can be handed down by either parent, you are just as likely to inherit baldness from your father’s side as your mother’s.

Why do Certain Genes Make Us Go Bald?

Without getting too technical, what you are actually inheriting if you suffer from MPB are hair follicles that are sensitive to a hormone called
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is a derivative of testosterone – hence the popular believe that baldness may be connected to an increased sex drive. Somehow having too much DHT shrinks hair follicles so that they eventually stop producing. The hair in your temples and on your crown is most susceptible to DHT. This is why Male Pattern Baldness is characterized by a receding hairline and a thinning crown.

Finding the genes and hormones that are partially responsible for early-onset balding is a huge step. It’s like we’ve reduced the haystack in which to find the proverbial needle from, say, the size of the United States to the size of East Nashville. But a lot of research still needs to be done before we can effectively treat hair loss. We still don’t know what exactly causes balding, or how to prevent it. But there is hope that more research will get us another step closer to finding a possible cure.

The Best Cure for Hair Loss

In the meantime, the best “cure” for hair loss is a hair transplant. There are many non-surgical supposed hair loss treatments on the market, but as we discussed in an earlier blog post, they generally don’t work in the long run. Don’t fall prey to a costly “hair analysis” to find a treatment plan. It’s not rocket science to diagnose Male Pattern Baldness. If your hair is thinning at the temples and on the crown of your head, MPB is likely what you have.

Want to know what type of hair loss you have, and whether you’re a good candidate for a hair transplant? It’s super easy and takes less than 5 minutes of your time. Take a selfie showing your hair and request a FREE online quote from Nashville Hair Doctor or Memphis Hair Doctor. The Hair Doctor team is known for its expertise in the NeoGraft hair restoration technology and offers the most competitive prices in the United States.

 

References:

1. The American Society of Human Genetics, Genetic Variation in the Human Androgen Receptor Gene Is the Major Determinant of Common Early-Onset Androgenetic Alopecia

2. The Tech, Scientists Link a Piece of DNA on Chromosome 20 to Male Pattern Baldness

Nashville Hair Doctor by NuBody Concepts serving patients in Tennessee and beyond

About Hair Doctor

With over 20 years of experience in FUE hair restoration and led by a double-board certified plastic surgeon, we are a leading provider of affordable hair transplants in the Southeast. Visit us at our Nashville Hair Doctor or Memphis Hair Doctor offices, or take advantage of our complimentary travel package for out-of-town patients. Read more>>

Modern Hair Restoration is as close to a medical miracle as you can get. It’s relatively easy to understand how a person can look thinner after liposuction. It doesn’t strike you as rocket science that fat can be suctioned away. It’s even less surprising that plastic surgeons can enhance a woman’s breasts with the simple addition of implants. But to grow natural human hair where there was none before? It never ceases to amaze.

Hair Transplant Surgery is Easy

What’s even better about a hair transplant is how easy and pain-free of a procedure it is. There are several different methods of hair transplantation, and some are more invasive than others. But compared to other plastic surgery, hair restoration is a walk in the park. Or, rather, a very slow crawl in the park – a hair transplant is not a fast procedure. Depending on how many grafts you are having transplanted, your surgery can take from half a day to a full 8-hour day. Most patients pass the time chatting to their surgeon or specialist, listening to podcasts, or watching TV.

NeoGraft Master Technician at Nashville Hair Doctor

Nashville Hair Doctor patient David during his hair transplant procedure

You don’t need general anesthesia to have a hair transplant. A bit of local numbing is usually sufficient to take away the small sting where hair follicles are extracted or re-inserted. It is reapplied as needed throughout your procedure. In the aftermath, you might experience some swelling for several days. Your head will be covered in small red marks that will scab over and heal within a week. Most patients feel perfectly fine within a day or two, ready to return to their regular activities.

So all this is great news if you are balding, right? You book yourself a hair transplant, continue with life while the new hair grows in, and eventually you’re no longer bald. True?

Not quite. To understand the limitations of a hair transplant, let’s talk about how medical hair restoration works.

How Hair Restoration Works

Most balding occurs in a certain pattern. In fact, the most common type of hair loss in men is called male-pattern baldness. Your hairline recedes back towards the top of your head, often at a faster rate in the corners, and your crown begins to thin out. The one place where there remains a healthy growth of hair is the ring around the back of your head.

For women, hair restoration works a little bit differently. When women lose hair, it’s not always constrained to a particular area as it is for men, though it can be. Most often, women’s hair loss is more uniformly distributed. This means that the donor hair is not harvested from one concentrated area but rather from all over the head. This can be done inconspicuously so that the longer hair helps disguise these spots. Read our blog post Hair Transplants are for Women Too if you want learn more.

When you first meet with your hair restoration consultant, he or she will assess your hair loss type. Where are the balding areas, and how many grafts will be needed to restore your hairline and fill in your crown the way you imagine? At this stage, it’s important to manage your expectations. The more healthy hair you have in relation to your balding areas, the easier it is to harvest from (and thereby thin out) this healthy hair without it being noticeable. But if your baldness is more advanced, this becomes harder to do. Once the area of healthy hair becomes smaller than the bald area, it becomes increasingly more difficult to achieve a full head of hair with a hair transplant. This is when you may reach the limits of hair transplant surgery.

pictograms of different hair loss types

Hair loss types 3, 5, and 7 respectively. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for a specific hair loss type. You should ask for a consultation at a hair restoration clinic to find out if you are eligible for a hair transplant.

Managing Your Expectations of a Hair Transplant

This doesn’t mean that you should lose heart entirely if your balding is more severe. Even entirely bald areas can be transformed. It’s not a matter of how bald a particular spot is. Once you transplant hair follicles, they grow in their new area, whether it was just thinning out or entirely bald. More important is the size of the area of healthy hair. The larger it is, the more hair you have available to be transplanted.

If you look at before and after pictures of hair transplants, you will some incredible transformations, even with varying degrees of baldness. The important thing is to be realistic. You wouldn’t be happy if your hair clinic promised you a mane of hair when it’s more realistic to expect modest growth.

At Nashville Hair Doctor, we take extreme care in giving you a realistic assessment. If you’re not sure what hair loss type you are and what results you can expect, let us assess you for a quote. It’s super easy and it’s completely free. Simply upload your picture(s) to request an online quote, and our consultant will reach out to you to give you a quote. We won’t overpromise or talk you into something bigger than you need. And we will give you plenty of time to do your research and make a decision without badgering you. We know it’s not an easy decision to take this step. But we also know that it’s one that you won’t regret!

Nashville Hair Doctor by NuBody Concepts serving patients in Tennessee and beyond

About Hair Doctor

With over 20 years of experience in FUE hair restoration and led by a double-board certified plastic surgeon, we are a leading provider of affordable hair transplants in the Southeast. Visit us at our Nashville Hair Doctor or Memphis Hair Doctor offices, or take advantage of our complimentary travel package for out-of-town patients. Read more>>

With more and more men turning to hair transplantation to reverse their hair loss, it’s a fair question to ask: Since a hair transplant moves hair from one area to another, does it therefore thin out your hair?

The answer is “Yes, but…”.

How a Hair Transplant Works

Hair transplant surgery restores your own natural hair. There are different procedures to achieve this. Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), often referred to as the Strip Method, relies on a strip of hair that is surgically removed from the back of your head and separated into its individual follicles that are then transplanted to the recipient area. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) does not require a surgical incision but rather relies on modern technology such as NeoGraft or Artas to extract individual hair follicles from the donor area using pneumatic pressure. The transplantation of the follicles into the recipient area occurs in the same way for FUE as it does with FUT.

Does that mean you end up with thinner hair after a hair transplant? No. Your hair is simply moved from one area of the head to another. Overall, it’s a zero sum game and you are left with the same amount of hair.* But for your hair to become thicker in the balding areas of your scalp, it has to become thinner in another.

All Hair Loss is not Equal: Male Pattern Baldness

However, the nature of hair loss, and male pattern baldness specifically, gives a big assist: Balding, particularly in men, does not occur uniformly. Rather, the typical progression of hair loss begins with a receding hairline and moves across the top of the head to eventually affect the entire crown, or top of the head. In most men, a ring of hair remains around the sides and back of the head. This hair is typically resistant to hair loss.

It’s ironic that we should be thankful for the nature of male pattern baldness to make hair transplantation possible, since premature baldness is to blame for the problem in the first place. But if men lost their hair more uniformly, hair restoration would be less straightforward (as it is for many women: women’s hair does indeed tend to thin out more uniformly).

What this means: As long as all the donor hair is extracted only from the area of the back of the head that’s not affected by hair loss, you will not notice the difference. Since this area has not been thinned out by hair loss, you can spare the extra hair easily, and the difference in density won’t be noticeable.

What’s more, your new hair, i.e. the hair on top of your head where you were previously balding, will not fall out again like the hair that was originally there. Because the new follicles are harvested from the area that is safe from hair loss, the new follicles will also be safe from hair loss. While some hair loss occurs in all of us, your new hair growth should last well into advanced age.

The Art of Hair Restoration is not Just About Thick Hair

In the area where your surgeon is implanting the hair to, you will of course never reach the same density as before (which, for healthy hair, is over 90 follicular units per square centimeter). It will likely amount to something like 40 follicular units per square centimeter. But a skilled transplant technician can implant the follicles in such a way that the results look very close to the original density.

It is important to choose an experienced hair clinic and/or hair restoration technician, especially if you opt for the FUE procedure. It is easier to confine a strip of hair to the precise area of the scalp not affected by hair loss, whereas the extraction of donor hair during FUE will have to be carefully planned to not stray into lower-density areas. On the plus side, FUE leaves you with no scar whatsoever, which is why so many patients prefer this method.

Do you have any more questions about hair transplants? The Nashville Hair Doctor is here to help. Request an Online Quote if you’d like to know what a hair transplant would look like for you.

* During hair transplantation, not all hair follicles “take” to the new location. The rate at which hair grafts are unsuccessful during transplantation is called the transection rate. It is typically fairly small, but if you factor in the transection rate, a hair transplant does indeed thin out your hair by a small amount. However, the overall effect of hair transplantation is so positive for most patients that this should not discourage you from undergoing hair restoration.

Nashville Hair Doctor by NuBody Concepts serving patients in Tennessee and beyond

About Hair Doctor

With over 20 years of experience in FUE hair restoration and led by a double-board certified plastic surgeon, we are a leading provider of affordable hair transplants in the Southeast. Visit us at our Nashville Hair Doctor or Memphis Hair Doctor offices, or take advantage of our complimentary travel package for out-of-town patients. Read more>>

I was watching the Royal Wedding 2018 in all its glory this morning, marveling over Meghan Markle’s dress, the cute little boys and girls carrying her train, and the splendor of St. George’s Chapel. Suddenly I sat up with a jolt. The camera had zoomed in on Prince Harry bending over the bride, and I saw – gaaah! – a growing bald spot on the back of his head. Not Harry, I wanted to yell! He was supposed to be the prince with hair! Is Prince Harry going bald too?

Prince harry kissing Meghan Markle at the royal wedding

The Myth of the X-Chromosome

For some reason, when it comes to hair loss we are eager to find someone to blame. Perhaps not surprisingly, the idea that hair loss is passed down to a son via the X-chromosome of his mother has become quite entrenched. Of all the reasons why we might be going bald, we somehow find the one blaming our mother the most compelling. But is this true?

Today’s nonstop news coverage of the Royal Wedding gave me ample time to conduct a little bit of research around signs of hair loss among members of the royal family.

Baldness in the Royal Family

There was Prince William of course, Harry’s older brother and best man, who has shown signs of premature balding for years. At age 35, his hair loss is quite advanced (somewhere between Class 5 and Class 6 if you follow the official classification system – find out here why we advise you not to worry about such classifications too much). Then there was Prince Charles, heir to the throne – yikes, how old he looks all of a sudden! But surprisingly, his hair loss is less advanced than that of his first-born. If you Google images of him in the 1980s when he would have been in his 30s, you will find that he had a full head of thick hair. The same is true for Prince Philipp. At age 96 he has little hair left, but until well into middle age his main issue seemed to be a receding hairline at the corners, leaving his crown intact.

Does that mean the male pattern baldness among the British royals is indeed passed down through the female side, meaning Princess Diana and her parents? Another quick Google search is inconclusive. Her father seems to also have had a rather receding hairline. Her brother Charles Spencer, who is still very much alive and attended the wedding (at the back of the Chapel behind the Clooney’s, so The Sun accusingly reveals), has a full head of silver-gray hair.

The Genetics of Hair Loss

The point is, hair loss can indeed be blamed on genetics to a large extent. It is believed that up to 80% of balding has its roots – no pun intended – in genetics. A 2008 study revealed that for men afflicted with male pattern baldness, a small area on Chromosome 20 is associated with their hair loss. Men with that particular genetic variant are seven times more likely to experience premature hair loss than those who don’t carry it. We don’t yet know why, but we do know that it’s there.

To be sure, other factors outside of genetics play a role too. Diet, exercise, stress levels, your general health, and perhaps even toxins we are exposed to, can all have an effect on your rate of hair loss. But genetics is indeed the biggest predictor of premature baldness. Just don’t blame it on your maternal grandfather.

If you are among the 40% of men who experience hair loss by the age of 35 and want to blame somebody for it, you have to look on both sides of the aisle. If you want to find out if premature balding is in the cards for you, take a look at male relatives on both your mother’s and father’s side of the family.

You CAN Reverse Hair Loss

Beyond making healthy eating and exercise a part of your daily routine, you always have the option of reversing your hair loss with hair transplant surgery. FUE hair transplants such as NeoGraft are particularly easy because of their short recovery time and their natural look. You can’t beat re-growing your own hair to give you the full coverage you last enjoyed in your 20s!

We doubt that we can entice Harry or William to stop by for a hair transplant consultation at the Nashville Hair Doctor – even though we offer a generous travel package to out of town patients – but we invite YOU to give us a try. Simply snap a few pictures, upload them using our Online Quote form, and we will get back to you with a personalized hair restoration quote.

In the meantime, here is to the happy couple and the modern fairytale of their wedding!

Nashville Hair Doctor by NuBody Concepts serving patients in Tennessee and beyond

About Hair Doctor

With over 20 years of experience in FUE hair restoration and led by a double-board certified plastic surgeon, we are a leading provider of affordable hair transplants in the Southeast. Visit us at our Nashville Hair Doctor or Memphis Hair Doctor offices, or take advantage of our complimentary travel package for out-of-town patients. Read more>>