Some men begin to experience hair loss as early as their early 20s, while others can last deep into their 70s without any noticeable decline. Why is this?
A number of different factors plays into when adults lose their hair. Let’s dive in.
DHT is Key to Hair Loss
Hereditary hair loss is caused by the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This naturally-occurring chemical causes the “miniaturization” of hair follicles.
Hair follicles cycle through anagen (a growth stage that lasts 2-6 years) and telogen (a resting stage that lasts 1-4 months). But when exposed to DHT, genetically susceptible follicles start spending more time resting than growing. This process causes the aforementioned “miniaturization,” leading to smaller hair shafts. This leads to thinner hair and, before long, balding.
How Age, Genes, and Hormones Impact Hair Loss
The wide age gap for hair loss largely depends on three factors: age, hormones, and genes. The X chromosome is key in determining your rate of hair loss, as it contains an important androgen receptor gene (AR). This is why it is more likely to inherit your hair loss rate from your mother’s side of the family. However, it is possible to receive it from your father’s side as well, but scientists have yet to find the gene on the Y chromosome that causes this.
But this isn’t a direct 1-to-1 correlation to your hair loss rate. The baldness genes need to be “tripped” in order for them to take effect. So what starts the process?
This takes us to hormones. Testosterone, the major male sex hormone, is primarily made in the testicles. During puberty, the testicles develop and add terosterone into the bloodstream. This starts the process of balding in most men. Women’s bodies work in a similar way, as their ovaries give off a variety of chemicals that kickstart the balding process. Also note that the adrenal glands, located above each kidney, release hormones in both men and women.
While hormones and genes play their roles, it is simply natural to lose your hair over time. Hair follicles must be exposed to DHT over time for hair loss to occur, so it is normal for hair loss to occur in everybody at some point. And thanks to modern practices, hair restoration is a viable option for most people well into their 70s.
Need help getting your hair back?
With 30 years of surgical experience, Dr. Love can help you tackle your hair loss treatment. Arrange your hair treatment consultation today by calling (405) 751-LOVE (5683).