From Which Parent Does Baldness Come From?

The commonly held wisdom is that male pattern baldness is inherited from the female side of your family. As is so often the case with commonly held beliefs, this myth contains some truth but it's by no means the whole story.

Why male baldness is linked to your maternal family

One of the key genes related to baldness, the androgen receptor gene is carried on the x chromosome. This means it can only be inherited from your mother. So in this respect, if you're looking for an answer to the question, how to know if you will go bald, looking at your mother's male relations will give you some big clues. If your mum's brothers, uncles, father and grandfather have all started to lose hair at a young age, your chances of doing the same increase.

Why looking at your mother's side of the family doesn't give you the whole picture

It's actually pretty rate for any aspect of your appearance to be controlled by a single gene. This is as true for an early receding hairline as it is for your height, skin tone or overall build, there's more than one baldness gene. Genes that have been linked to androgenetic alopecia (this being the medical name for male pattern baldness) can be found on just about every chromosome. Unravelling how any of them will interact with the others is an incredibly complex process.

It's also true that genes can skip one or several generations and that while they certainly give rise to an increased likelihood of something happening they're only one factor amongst many. Environmental factors, diet and lifestyle play a part in most conditions including whether hair is lost early or maintained throughout a lifetime.

How to tell if you're likely to experience early hair loss and what to do about it

Basically you need to look at both sides of your family. The more instances there are of male pattern baldness on both sides, the more likely it is that you'll also have an early receding hairline.

Baldness will NOT make you less attractive to others, but being self-conscious and unhappy about your appearance definitely will. If the prospect of hair loss distresses you remember that a good diet and developing strategies for dealing with life's inevitable stresses can help to slow the process down while both surgical and non-surgical hair replacement treatments are more advanced, discrete and affordable than they've ever been.

Other reasons to pay attention to male pattern baldness

Research into male pattern baldness has shown is that there is a link between early hair loss, high levels of cholesterol, hypertension and an increased risk of heart attacks. This being the case, you could regard hair loss as an important indication that it's time to start taking care of your health. Regardless of how thick your locks are, a good diet, limiting alcohol intake, not smoking and an active lifestyle all keep your heart and circulation system health and maximise your chances of living a long and happy life.