Male and female pattern baldness: similarities, differences, and how it works

Updated on October 26, 2020

Losing your hair is an unfortunate reality that many men and women have to deal with during their lifetime. Despite this, many people just don’t know what causes these issues, let alone what can be done about them. 

While genetics do play a role in male and female pattern baldness, there’s more to it than that. There are multiple causes when it comes to losing your hair. We’ll go into detail about many of these causes here.

In general, does affect men more than women. Male pattern baldness, the most common form of hair loss, affects around two-thirds of men by the age of 35.

Whether male or female, hair loss can be a very painful process, causing lack of self-confidence, self-esteem, and increased anxiety. All of this is particularly painful for those who experience pattern baldness at a young age, which does happen.

So how is baldness caused for men and women? Are there any similarities when it comes to the causes, and what are they? 

First of all, let’s take a look at what can make a difference to your hair besides genetics.

Non-genetic causes of hair loss

Although genetics do play a large part in both male and female pattern baldness – which we’ll explain in more detail later – other factors can come into play.

Stress and hair loss

Stress is something that’s obviously prevalent in 2020, whether you’re male or female. From the virtual workplace to your living room, there can be a lot of pressure. This can also have an impact on your hair. It’s important not to resort to hair pulling, as this can lead to weaker hair. If you are experiencing higher levels of stress, you may want to consult a medical professional.

Intense hair treatments

If you’re some that keeps up with the latest trends seen in magazines and on TV, you may well be inclined to be colouring, or relaxing your hair. A word of caution: doing this can potentially damage your hair, and make it weaker. Make sure you’re careful when doing this.

Scalp infections

Scalp infections, despite what you may have heard, do occur, and they can lead to balding if you’re not careful. The good news is that a scalp infection is easily detected. There is likely to be scaly or inflamed areas appearing on your scalp. If you start can see small black dots on your scalp, or notice that you are losing more hair than normal, you should book a consultation with your GP as soon as possible. Scalp infections are very treatable, and after the infection has been cleared, the hair will most likely grow back.

Genes: a common culprit for male and female pattern baldness

Although there are a few different areas that we can look to for causes of male and female pattern baldness, in general, genetics continues to be the main cause.

Male pattern baldness and genetics

When it comes to male pattern baldness, you’ve probably heard the old saying that if your mother’s father is bald, then you will be too. Though there is a certain amount of truth to this widely held belief, there’s actually more to it. First, let’s take a proper look at the link between male pattern baldness and genetics.

Mothers pass a variant of the X chromosome to their children, and this is primarily where we see the cause of early-onset MPB. Several studies have shown a link between baldness on the mother’s side of the family and MPB. But it isn’t as simple as that.

While many studies point to the mother’s side of the family, one study from Germany found that in fact, a variant of one specific chromosome, called chromosome 20, could also be involved in male pattern baldness. This chromosome can be found on either side of the family; mother or father. The study continued to point out that if the chromosome 20 variant and the X chromosome variant are both found, it can be seven times more likely that someone develops male pattern baldness.

Female pattern baldness and genetics

Female pattern baldness, like the male hair loss condition, is also strongly linked to genetics. It is believed by scientists that genetics play a big part, and that female pattern baldness does run in families. Women can inherit the gene which is primarily responsible from either parent.

However, just like MPB, it’s not always quite that simple. Although genetics is often to blame, female pattern baldness can also develop because of an underlying condition which affects the production of the hormone androgen. Tumors of the pituitary gland or ovary, which secrete androgen, can also lead to hair loss in some cases. 

In general, if you are a woman experiencing more hair loss than normal, it is best to consult your GP.

Hair loss is a dreadful experience with a lot of different causes to go through. It might be purely stress-related, which in most cases can be resolved by removing the stressor for your life. Other non-genetic reasons can be how you style your hair or a simple scalp infection. But on the other hand, when talking about female and male pattern baldness, genetics are very important.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.