It may seem that those we see with alopecia are mostly of European descent, but why? It is strange that those of European descent have the fastest growing hair, but the men of this descent “have more hair loss above the forehead than other races. Asians, Native Americans, and men of African descent usually have less hair loss than Caucasians.” It has been theorized that European men make more dihydrotestosterone (DHT, which is a part of the hormone testosterone), which plays a big part of those of European descent having more body hair, but more prone to alopecia. This does make sense when comparing the hairy European to the less so, Asians for example, of which we do not see many balding Asian males. Although, that said, ethnicity is only part, a small part, of why someone would have alopecia; we have to take genetics, lifestyle, and how one takes care of their hair. An example is the alopecia with Afro-Caribbean hair. With those of this culture the hair requires constant pulling of the hair to achieve certain styles.
Now as I stated in the opening I spoke of this condition in a previous blog, and in that blog I explained how the loss of hair in males is mostly a cause of the hormone testosterone, but there are cases of alopecia in females as well, which have a very small dose of this hormone (which is why females tend to have less body hair). When a man is going bald it is usually called “male pattern baldness,” but when a woman is going bald it is referred to “thinning” because they do no experience a complete loss of hair. The reasons for this “thinning” varies from stress to a hormonal fluctuation “such as post-partum or menopause.” But it can also be genetic. Women with the thinning of the hair will sometimes find that their mother and grandmother also has this “thinning.”
In the case of genetics, this is the most common cause for male pattern baldness. It is believed that the mother is one that passes on this androgenetic alopecia because it is on the X chromosome (which is passed on from the mother), but in many cases of alopecia, the father is also suffering from male pattern baldness. Even though alopecia is found on the X chromosome, it is actually the fault of a male sex hormone named androgens. When a male becomes increasingly sensitive to androgens, they will experience hair loss. With all that said, even if the mother, the father, or even the grandparents do not have a case of alopecia, as long as there was any case in a family line it will come up again sooner or later.
For this entire blog I have been explaining several causes and reasons for alopecia, but it all adds up to the question...why? There have been studies to answer this question, but at the end of it we know “how,” but that still leaves the “why?” An extended reasoning in how alopecia happens is that when, in male pattern baldness, the hair follicles become smaller and the growth phase of the hairs is reduced. This reduction the maximum length is shortened, and the same time the resting phase is lengthened. It becomes a cycle and the rest phase becomes the most prevalent. “Over time, the anagen (the growth) phase becomes so short that the new hairs do not even peek through the surface of the skin.”
We may never know when or just why alopecia began. And unlike the things people experience when getting in old age that I discussed in the blog I linked above, alopecia can happen at any time. The most common is when you do get older, but it really can happen any time after puberty. I suppose you can group hair loss in the category of getting older, but...not that much older.
Please feel free to comment on what you thought of the blog, or other physical anthropological subjects you would like me to cover.