Hair Type and Genetics
Is Your Hair Type Random, Or In Your Genes?
Initially, your hair type comes from your genes, although it isn’t always as simple as “What hair do mum and dad have?”
Each gene consists of a pair of alleles, one from each parent.
Alleles can be either dominant or recessive. Now, usually, one allele is completely dominant.
For example, if both parents had green eyes, you could still have blue eyes if they both had the dominant green and the recessive blue allele, and they both passed the recessive down to you.
They’d both hold the blue allele, but the green is dominant, so their eye colour shows as green.
While this still applies to hair in terms of inheritance, hair alleles have incomplete dominance, so your visible trait is less predictable. Let’s take a further look.
Straight or Curly?
So, for hair, you have the straight (s) and the curly (C) alleles. Having ss presents as straight, CC presents as curly – as you’d expect.
The difference is that Cs doesn’t present as curly since C isn’t a completely dominant trait. Therefore, Cs presents as wavy hair. Neither allele takes control, so you exhibit the feature somewhere in between the two.
Can I Predict Hereditary Androgenetic Alopecia?
Again, this isn’t necessarily a straightforward answer.
Although this specific type of alopecia is genetic, it isn’t necessarily predictable.
The gene passes down from both sides of the family and can skip generations randomly.
In addition to this, it doesn’t present itself the same way in women as it does in men. Men experience receding hairlines and male pattern baldness, whereas women experience it more as thinning of the hair.
So, although you can take an educated guess based on patterns from both sides of your family, it isn’t that easy to predict.
Nature VS Nurture
Of course, genes don’t fully determine your hair type. It’s highly likely that your choices and environment have a much more significant impact.
For example, illnesses, medication, processing (bleaching or styling, etc.), and many other factors can and will impact your hair type.
Even though you may have inherited thick wavy hair, you may experience hair thinning due to factors outside of your genetics – such as stress.
So there you have it! Genetics does influence hair type, but it’s by no means straightforward.
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