Why Is Hair Loss More Common in Males: Exploring Gender Differences in Hair Health

WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

While both sexes can experience genetic hair thinning, male pattern baldness affects a significantly higher percentage of men compared to women. Hormonal factors particularly dihydrotestosterone play a major role.

Why is hair loss more common in males?

The main biological reason men face higher risks of balding is due to higher levels of DHT, a byproduct of the androgen testosterone that makes scalp follicles more susceptible to miniaturization over time.

Impact of DHT

Testosterone converts to DHT within dermal papilla cells via the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. DHT binds permanently to androgen receptors on the hair follicle, sending signals that weaken the hair shaft and shrink the growth phase.

Higher Testosterone

From puberty onward, males have 10-15x more circulating testosterone than females for muscle/bone growth. Even a small fraction metabolizing to DHT near the scalp attacks hair follicles more powerfully.

Genetics Factor

The X-linked gene for androgen receptors resides on the sex chromosome. Inheriting a variant from the mother increases sons' chances of developing DHT sensitivity instead of daughters with two X chromosomes.

Androgenetic Alopecia

This male/female pattern baldness specifically responds to androgens. 80% of Caucasian men exhibit some degree of thinning by age 80 versus 50% of women experiencing noticeable shedding.

Lifestyle Impacts

Stresses from career/family obligations along with unhealthy diet/exercise/drinking habits can also raise cortisol/DHT levels in genetically susceptible males.

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.