Which Parent Carries the Hair-Loss Trait?

By Candice Coleman
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While you may dream of conceiving children who have thick, luxurious hair, the family gene pool may have a different plan in mind. Hair thinning and baldness is most common in men, though women may also find themselves going thin on top. While you may fear being blamed by your child later on in life, tracing the cause of hair loss is not always so simple.

Types of Hair Loss

There are many types of baldness that could affect your children. Female-pattern baldness usually involves thinning at the crown of the head, starting with a widening of the center part, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. In male-pattern baldness, the hairline may recede and hair loss eventually goes back to the crown of the head. Male-pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, can also affect women, though it rarely leads to total baldness.

Which Parent Is Responsible for Hair-Loss Genes?

Fearful that your son may point fingers at you in the future when his mane is fading? Though it is a commonly cited belief that women are to blame for male-pattern baldness, the condition is actually more complicated, according to Bernstein Medical Center for Hair Restoration in New York. Male-pattern baldness tends to be a little more strongly linked to the mother's side of the family, though it can also come from the father's side of the family or from both sides. Women who are balding may have a family history of male or female-pattern baldness on either side of the family, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. In reality, both parents can carry genes that influence hair loss in their children.

Environmental Influences on Hair Loss

Environment can also play a role in whether your child balds, no matter your child's genetic history. Nutritional deficiencies, hormonal changes after menopause, allergies, hair treatments, and several other medical conditions may contribute to hair loss, according to KidsHealth. Brushing too frequently or too roughly can also lead to pulling hair from the head, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Additional Information

If your child begins balding at a young age, contact a doctor immediately for an evaluation. Some causes of baldness, such as a nutritional deficiency, can be corrected. In many cases, some degree of hair thinning or balding is normal during the aging process, with more than half of all men older than 50 experiencing some degree of hair loss, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.