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Is my hair type hereditary? The link between our ancestors’ hair and our own

Our parents’ genetics greatly impacts the type, texture, and growth of our hair — but it’s not as straightforward as you may think.

Your genetics play a major role in determining your hairs texture — straight, wavy, curly, and the general thickness of individual strands. But this also depends greatly on the variations of the genes inherited.

Due to the many different gene combinations involved, two curly-haired parents may not always have a curly-haired child. Curly-haired parents can also carry straight hair genes, which may be passed on. The genes of both parents also interact with each other to determine hair type and texture, which creates the uniqueness and variations of hair types and appearances within families.

While there are many treatments and styling tools available to change the visible appearance of your hair, there is no way of changing its genetic makeup.

What about hair loss?

While other factors of course play a role, genetics is the biggest factor determining hair loss in men.

The androgen receptor, the gene for baldness, is located in the X chromosome, which means many believe it’s inherited from the mother’s side. But studies have also found that men whose fathers are bald run a higher risk of having male-pattern baldness.

In addition to inheriting the androgen receptor gene, children can also inherit a sensitivity to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which is a hormone that causes the hair follicles to shrink over time, also leading to hair loss and baldness.

While these things are important, there are in fact, 200 genes that are involved in regulating hair growth, meaning that pattern baldness cannot be down to one specific gene.

If you’re concerned about pattern baldness and you want to consider your treatment options, one of our specialists will be able to help you to get a clear picture of the cause and what’s happening and from there, decide on the best course of action to take.

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