Hereditary baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in the world. Even in the United States alone, around half of all men and women will start showing signs of baldness as early as age 40 — according to a study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic.
Hormones and Hereditary Hair Loss
Hereditary baldness isn’t exactly a disease, but more of a natural condition that’s caused by a bad combo of some genes.
The levels of hormones in your body can also affect baldness along with your age. Nearly all men and women will notice hair loss or at the very least hair thinning as they get older. That said, as much as 40% of men and women will notice more significant forms of hereditary baldness.
Hair loss usually starts as early as the 20s and 30s for men whereas the most obvious changes in women are most apparent shortly after menopause. The condition is also sometimes called androgenetic alopecia for women and male-pattern baldness when occurring in men.
Researches have begun to expand their understanding of how this type of hair loss works and what causes it. A form of testosterone can alter the normal cycle of hair growth, which leads to shorter, thinner, and overall “miniaturized” hair. Hair growth will even completely stop eventually in certain parts of your scalp, which is what causes the usual pattern of hair loss.
Despite what folk wisdom suggests, baldness isn’t inherited from the family on your mother’s side, the condition is actually dependent on the genes that were passed on to you by both parents. If you start to lose hair due to hereditary baldness, you might be able to slow down its progression by using minoxidil or finasteride.
Solutions for Hereditary Hair Loss
Minoxidil can be used by women and men alike whereas finasteride is usually limited to male applications. Minoxidil is one balding solution that’s available over the counter — meaning you won’t need a prescription to get it.
You apply it to your scalp two times a day. It can slow further hair loss in some people, and after four to eight months of regular use, you might even notice some hair regrowth. When it comes to male baldness, a higher strength is needed — usually around 5%.
For women, however, it seems as though there’s no discernible difference in the results of 2% strength minoxidil and 5% strength minoxidil. Furthermore, women run the risk of growing facial hair when they go for 5% strength. A word to the wise, unless you are intent on becoming a bearded lady, stick to 2%.
It’s worth noting that if you stop applying minoxidil regularly, you’ll most likely any hair that you might have saved or restored through the use of the medication. Finasteride, unlike minoxidil, isn’t available over-the-counter, and you’ll actually need a prescription to get this pill.
It functions by blocking the type of testosterone that stunts hair growth in those with hereditary baldness. Higher strengths of finasteride are also used to stop the benign growth of the prostate gland.