Jul 5 / Skillmed Institute

Genetic Basis of Different Types of Hair Loss

Millions of people worldwide are affected by the common and frequently upsetting hair loss problem. While hormone fluctuations, stress, and specific drugs can all contribute to different forms of hair loss, genetics is still a major component in many cases.

In this article, we will examine how genetics affects various forms of hair loss. We'll also look at the genes involved in these processes and the heritability of hair loss.

Understanding the Different Types of Hair Loss

Hair loss is a complicated, multifaceted illness with many different symptoms. The underlying causes and distinctive traits of various types of hair loss offer important insights into the complicated medical issues involved. Let's explore the complex nuances of the different types of hair loss and the hereditary factors that influence their occurrence.

1. Androgenetic Alopecia (Male/Female Pattern Baldness):

Male or female pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is a frequent kind of hair loss having a genetic basis. [1] It results from a complicated interaction between hormonal and genetic factors.
In particular, this syndrome develops when the hair follicles become incredibly sensitive to the testosterone derivative dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT attaches to hair follicles, causing them to gradually shrink and, eventually, stop growing hair. This genetic predisposition is frequently inherited and passed down through families.
2. Genetic Impact on Hair Structure:
Our genes greatly impact our hair's composition, affecting things like texture, thickness, and growth rate. [2] The protein production that determines these crucial features is controlled by the genetic code encoded within our DNA. Differential hair textures, from fine and straight to coarse and curly, can result from variations in these genes. Additionally, genetic variables influence the density and toughness of hair strands, leaving some people more vulnerable to breaking and damage.
3. Alopecia Areata:
Alopecia areata is one of the most well-known autoimmune-related hair loss diseases. Even if there is a hereditary component, the sickness results from a complex interaction between the person's genetic makeup and environment.
In this case, the immune system wrongly views hair follicles as foreign substances and attacks them. Round bald spots and patchy hair loss are the end outcomes of this. Stress, certain medicines, and genetic predisposition can all exacerbate this issue.
4. Telogen Effluvium:
It can be challenging to comprehend the genetic roots of telogen effluvium. This condition is characterized by unexpected hair loss because of a disruption in the hair development cycle. The precise significance of genetics in putting a person at risk for telogen effluvium is still being investigated.
A person's vulnerability to these triggers may also be influenced by heredity. The illness might flare up in response to stress, hormonal imbalances, or medicines, among other things.

Genes and Their Role in Hair Loss

Numerous factors, including genetics, can affect hair loss. While the androgen receptor gene (AR) is frequently recognized as a significant contributor, other genes are also involved. For example, the 20p11 gene affects the production of the protein prostaglandin D2 (PGD2), which is bad for hair growth. [3, 4] Variations in the 20p11 gene, which can also cause hair loss, may cause PGD2 levels to increase.
It is now known that the FOXC1 gene, which regulates hair follicle growth, plays a significant hereditary role. Hair loss may come from genetic differences in FOXC1, which can reduce the number of hair follicles.
Lanosterol, a protein essential for hair development, is produced by another gene called LSS. Reduced production of lanosterol can occur from variations in the LSS gene, contributing to hair loss.

Hereditary Aspects of Hair Loss

The fact that hair loss is inherited cannot be contested. Hereditary factors account for up to 80% of cases of androgenetic alopecia, the most common hair loss. [5] In addition, hair structural genes are crucial in determining hair traits. Although heredity is an important component, it's important to recognize that lifestyle, environmental circumstances, and general health also impact the onset and course of hair loss.

Hair Loss Inheritance Patterns

The inheritance patterns for different types of hair loss can be complex and change over time. For instance, androgenetic alopecia is a polygenic characteristic since numerous genes and environmental variables impact it. A Mendelian inheritance pattern, on the other hand, indicates that mutations in a single gene bring on some rarer types of hair loss. For instance, an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern is possible for alopecia areata.
Empty space, drag to resize

Pattern Baldness: Male and Female Differences

Gender-specific patterns and traits are seen in both male and female pattern baldness. Women frequently detect an overall loss of the scalp's hair, but men typically experience receding hairlines and thinning at the crown.
Genetic factors, including the genes for the androgen receptor and aromatase, mostly influence male pattern baldness. Contrarily, female pattern baldness involves a more complex interaction of genetic and hormonal factors, making it a focus of continuing research.

What Causes Hair Loss: Other Causes Besides Genetics?

Even though genetics play a big part in hair loss, it's not the only one. Other factors are present:
Stress: Long-term stress can cause an overproduction of the hormone cortisol, which harms hair follicles and promotes hair loss.
Diet: A diet deficient in critical vitamins, minerals, and proteins can weaken hair, making it more prone to shedding.
Medication: As a side effect, several medications, such as those used to treat depression and hypertension, as well as chemotherapy therapies, can cause hair loss.

Taking Preventive Action to Reduce Hair Loss Risk

Even though total prevention may not always be achievable, the following techniques can help lower the risk of hair loss:
Diet: A balanced diet improves general hair health and growth.
Stress management: Using stress-reduction practices like meditation and relaxation exercises can help hair growth inadvertently.
Gentle Hair Care: To minimize damage, doctors should advise their patients to avoid treatments and hairstyles that put undue stress on the hair shafts.
Taking Care of Health Issues: Hair can be healthier if underlying medical issues like thyroid abnormalities are managed.

Examining Hair Loss Treatment Options

Patients seeking treatment for hair loss have a different options:
Medications: Both over-the-counter and prescription medications, such as finasteride, can help decrease hair loss and encourage regrowth.
Hair transplants: During surgery, hair follicles are moved from locations where healthy growth is present to areas where hair is thinning or nonexistent.
Scalp Micro-Pigmentation: This non-invasive process creates the appearance of a tightly shaven head by tattooing pigments that resemble hair follicles onto the scalp.


Genetics is just one of several variables influencing the complex hair loss problem. Understanding and efficiently treating this issue depend on understanding the complex interactions between genes, lifestyle, and environmental factors.
Research developments continue to clarify the complexity of hair loss, giving hope for more precise and efficient therapies.


1. Gokce, N., Basgoz, N., Kenanoglu, S., Akalin, H., Ozkul, Y., Ergoren, M. C., Beccari, T., Bertelli, M., & Dundar, M. (2022). An overview of the genetic aspects of hair loss and its connection with nutrition. Journal of preventive medicine and Hygiene, 63(2 Suppl 3), E228–E238. https://doi.org/10.15167/2421-4248/jpmh2022.63.2S3.2765

2. Types of hair loss. Patient Care at NYU Langone Health. (n.d.). https://nyulangone.org/conditions/hair-loss/types

3. Ho CH, Sood T, Zito PM. Androgenetic Alopecia. [Updated 2022 Oct 16]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430924/

4. Hair loss: Who gets and causes. American Academy of Dermatology. (n.d.). https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/causes/18-causes

5. Liang B et al. Genetic variants at 20p11 confer a risk of androgenetic alopecia in the Chinese Han population. PLoS One. 2013 Aug 26;8(8):e71771. doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0071771. PMID: 23990985; PMCID: PMC3753324. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0071771