Both my dad and brother barely have any hair loss. But I’m going completely bald! Why is this happening? Shouldn’t I have minimal hair loss as well?
The old adage is that hair loss “comes from your mother’s father.” Look at mom’s dad; if grandpa still has his hair, you’re fine. Right? Well, not so much.
Androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness) is a very tricky and poorly understood condition. However, we do know a few things. We know it is “poly-genetic.” This is a fancy way of saying there are multiple genes that contribute to male pattern baldness. It also means you can inherent these genes from either side of the family.
We also know it has “variable penetrance.” This is another scientific way of saying if you have a hair loss gene, it can be expressed in any conceivable pattern. This means if dad or brother are a Norwood level II pattern, you have some sort of hair loss gene in your family. In fact, you and dad probably have the same gene. The problem is that the way this gene is expressed varies. Dad’s body may choose to suppress the gene or only express it a little bit. This means he has a slight amount of hair loss. Your body, on the other hand, chooses to fully express the gene. This means he ends up with minimal loss — a Norwood level II — and you end up completely bald — a Norwood level VI.