Why do you lose hair as you age?

I looked into the mirror the other day and horror crept over. A few loose strands fell out which promoted this post. Everyone seems to take it for granted but why does it happen? It’s also a problem that’s really hard to ignore. Nearly half of men and a quarter of women will be affected by hair loss by the time they’re 50. So, what causes so many of us to lose our hairdos?

A wide variety of factors can cause baldness in men and women. Scientific studies show that chromosomes from both father and mother can lead to hair loss. Environmental factors also play a role.

Illnesses, medications, and primping habits can spur hair loss. But the most common cause? Androgenic alopecia (aka male and female pattern baldness). This leads to defective hair-producing follicles on the scalp. Over time, they lose their ability to function. The begin producing thin hair for women and for men, eventually no hair at all. Most can thank their parents for that hair loss.

Pattern baldness in largely genetic. The primary baldness gene is found on the X chromosome. This comes from the mother, but don’t blame it all on her! Other factors can come into play as well. Studies found that men with bald fathers are more likely to go bald. Hats, hair products, and washing your hair a lot won’t cause balding. But you should be careful with teasing combs and hair irons. Using these could speed up the balding process.

Both Rogaine and Propecia both claim to prevent hair loss. Hair transplants are also popular. Or you can go with the flow: both men and women naturally lose hair as they age. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The fact that one can be genetically predisposed to baldness suggests that hair loss has (or had) some evolutionary advantage. Since mates are selected for genetic worth, a physical trait that boasts of some genetic edge is more likely to spread throughout a species. A shiny pate may indicate a man’s advanced stage of physical and social maturity. This could encourage increased status in a social group as well as less aggressive behavior from other males, as the bald man is visibly past the threatening stage of high sexual activity, and perhaps more likely to be a nurturer to younger groups as well. This could be a selling point to women looking to mate!

But hair loss may be inevitable for many of us. Make sure to enjoy those lovely locks while you can.

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