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Genetic Hair Loss Treatment: What You Should know

Knox Beasley, MD

Reviewed by Knox Beasley, MD

Written by Sian Ferguson

Published 04/17/2021

Updated 05/07/2024

Have you noticed your hairline thinning? Or maybe a bald patch at the top of your head? Genetic hair loss may be to blame. While this type of hair shedding is usually irreversible, there are a few genetic hair loss treatments that can prevent it from getting worse.

Genetic hair loss usually causes pattern baldness, which is characterized by a receding hairline or thinning hair at the top of your head.

While there’s no shame in losing your hair — or embracing it and rocking a bald head — you might prefer to hold onto your hair for as long as possible. In this case, it’s important to know that it is possible to prevent hair loss and promote the regrowth of healthy, new hair.

In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look at genetic hair loss. We’ll dive into the symptoms and causes — and most importantly, we’ll cover how to stop hereditary hair loss. Because that’s why you’re here, right?

When people refer to genetic hair loss or hereditary hair loss, they’re usually talking about male pattern baldness. It’s also called androgenetic alopecia or androgenic alopecia.

Male pattern hair loss is super common. In fact, it affects 30 percent to 50 percent of men by the age of fifty.

But your personal risk of developing this form of hair loss depends on your family history.

Your genetics play a huge role in whether you develop pattern hair loss or not. Compared to the rest of the population, you’re five or six times more likely to experience male pattern baldness if your father had the same condition.

Based on your heritage, there may be some surprising differences in the timing and occurrence of male pattern baldness. According to research, alopecia has been reported to be more common in Caucasian men than in any other ethnicity or nationality.

Genetic hair loss is more common in men than in women, but women can still have the condition. In women, this type of hair loss is called female pattern hair loss or female pattern baldness. It’s most common after menopause.

Genetics can also play a role in whether you develop other types of hair loss, like alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is a medical condition where your immune system attacks your hair follicles, thus causing hair loss.

When people speak about genetic hair loss, they’re usually talking about male pattern baldness.

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Male pattern baldness typically begins with a receding hairline or hair thinning on the crown of your head.

Unless you seek treatment for genetic hair loss, it’ll get more and more noticeable over time.

The most popular baldness scale is called the Norwood scale. While there are other baldness scales out there, the Norwood scale is the one typically used to help men and healthcare providers assess the level of hair loss.

Stages of Hereditary Hair Loss

Stages I and II: Hair loss starts slowly and consists of a slightly receding hairline without major changes to the crown of the head. Stage I begins with light thinning around the temples and a slight hairline recession that often goes unnoticed or ignored. Stage II is marked by balding near the temples, which has moved further inward, creating the “M” shaped hairline that is commonly seen.

Stage III: Recession in the temple area continues to grow to the point that there’s little or no hair in the temporal regions. At this stage, it becomes more difficult to conceal your hair loss.

Stage IV: By the time you reach this stage, you will start to develop noticeable bald spots. The hair on your crown will thin out and you may start losing large patches of hair in the front of your head.

Stage V: This stage marks the beginnings of the horseshoe-shaped hairline. By this point, your hair loss is entering a severe stage and is difficult to treat with medications.

Stage VI: At this stage, your hairline is now on the top of your head. The little hair that remains on your crown is thin and provides minimal coverage of your scalp.

Stage VII: This is the classic horseshoe or cul-de-sac pattern, which leaves the top of the head completely bald. Unfortunately, if you make it all the way to this stage without taking any form of action, your chances of recovering your hair are slim.

Read more about the stages of hair loss in this blog post.

Genetics and hormones both play a role in male pattern baldness.

Your body produces many types of androgens — male hormones. One type is called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

DHT has a lot of important functions, especially during puberty. But as you age, DHT might attach to receptors in your scalp and damage your hair follicles through a process called miniaturization. Over time, your hair grows thinner. Eventually, your follicles might stop producing new hairs altogether.

But all men have DHT, so why do some experience hair loss while others don’t?

In short, genetics.

Your genetics determine:

  • Your dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels

  • How many androgen receptors are in certain areas of your scalp

  • Your levels of 5 alpha-reductase, an enzyme that turns testosterone into DHT

In other words, the main factors leading to this type of hair loss are genetic.

Although hair loss can be caused or worsened by other issues — like stress and certain medications — they don’t seem to have an influence on genetic hair loss.

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If you don’t think you can confidently pull off a bald head like Bruce Willis or The Rock, you’re probably curious about how to stop hereditary hair loss in its tracks.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) advises that it’s important to get a diagnosis and start treatment as early as possible. As time goes on, it can become increasingly difficult to restore hair growth.

Fortunately, there are a few hereditary hair loss treatment options that can help you slow down the effects of male pattern baldness.


Oral finasteride is an FDA-approved hair loss treatment. It’s specifically used for male pattern hair loss — that is, genetic hair loss.

Also known by the brand name Propecia®, finasteride works by reducing the production of 5α-reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT within your body. Clinical trials show that finasteride reduces the DHT levels in your body by more than 70 percent.

This means finasteride can slow down (or stop) male pattern hair loss, helping you hold onto your hair for longer. It typically takes about six months before seeing the results of finasteride on hair growth.

We offer finasteride online, following a consultation with a healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate for you.


Like finasteride, minoxidil is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of hair loss. You may know it by the brand name Rogaine®.

It’s a topical treatment that works by stimulating blood flow to the hair follicles and stimulating the hair to enter the anagen phase — that is, the growth phase — of the hair growth cycle.

You can apply minoxidil directly to your scalp. It’s considered safe to use, but it is possible to experience minoxidil side effects after application. These side effects can include itchy skin and allergic reactions.

Also known as Rogaine®, topical minoxidil is available over the counter. You can purchase it in the form of minoxidil foam or minoxidil solution.

And if you want to boost your efforts, you can use our topical finasteride and minoxidil spray. Research shows that combining finasteride and minoxidil can be an incredibly effective treatment for male pattern hair loss.

Laser Therapy

Although laser therapy for hair loss is a relatively new treatment, it’s increasingly popular. It’s also called low-level light therapy (LLLT).

This type of treatment uses low-level lasers to increase blood flow to the scalp, stimulating the hair follicles. This promotes hair growth.

The research on laser therapy for hair loss is limited, but promising. If it’s in your budget, it might be worth a try.

Hair Transplant Surgery

Hair transplants are one of the most effective treatments for male pattern baldness; the process can actually help you regrow hair in patches that were previously bald. That said, it can be a very costly treatment.

A hair transplant involves taking hair follicles from areas of your scalp that aren’t affected by male pattern baldness and moving it to bald patches.

The good news is that the results are typically very good, and patient satisfaction is high. Side effects of a hair transplant can include infection, epidermal cysts and scarring.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy

Another fairly new hair loss treatment, platelet-rich plasma therapy involves using your own blood cells to stimulate your body’s healing process.

Platelets are blood cells that contain growth factors. These growth factors help produce healthy tissue and heal wounds.

Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a medical treatment that’s used for a number of purposes, including treating hair loss. While the research on it is promising, it’s fairly limited — plus, the treatment can be quite expensive.

Healthy Hair Care Habits

There are a few things you can do to promote healthy hair growth, including:

  • Eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet

  • Taking supplements that promote hair growth, like our biotin gummies

  • Keeping your scalp and hair clean and clear

  • Using a hair thickening shampoo

  • Avoiding tight hairstyles and harsh chemical treatments

Healthy stress-management techniques can benefit your overall health as well as your hairline. Severe stress can lead to telogen effluvium, a temporary form of hair loss.

Let’s be totally clear — healthy hair habits won’t reverse genetic hair loss. But if you’d like your hair to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible, good habits are non-negotiable.

Wanna learn more? Read our science-based hair growth tips.

Scalp Concealers, Toupees and Tattoos

Scalp concealers can be a helpful and non-invasive way to camouflage thinning hair. Keep in mind that they are not a permanent solution to this condition. Scalp powders and concealers may drip or shed in certain weather conditions or after a workout, so you’ll want to be mindful about when and where you use them.

Wigs and toupees are another treatment option. Some toupees are incredibly realistic, adhered to the scalp with glue. This type of customized toupee can last for months if properly cared for.

Another option for concealing hair loss? Hair tattoos. These tiny tattoos mimic the appearance of scalp hair, which can help reduce the appearance of bald patches.

Hair loss treatments, delivered

If hair loss runs in your family, you might wonder if you’ll experience it too. While it’s hard to predict if you’ll start balding, there’s a strong genetic component to hair loss — so it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for the early signs of hair thinning.

  • Most male hair loss is genetic. Male pattern hair loss, which is the most common form of hair loss in men, is strongly influenced by your genes.

  • Plenty of effective treatments are available. Topical minoxidil and oral finasteride are two FDA-approved, effective treatments for male hair loss. They can prevent further hair loss and promote hair regrowth.

  • Genetic hair loss tends to get worse as time goes on. Don’t stick your head in the sand — the earlier you get medical treatment for genetic hair loss, the better your chances at holding onto your hair.

Not keen to rock a bald head? A healthcare professional can help determine the cause of hair loss and advise you on medical treatments that might work for you.

We can help you connect with a healthcare professional so that you can explore your treatment options.

6 Sources

  1. Cranwell, W., & Sinclair, R. (2016, February 29). Male Androgenetic Alopecia. Retrieved from
  2. Ishino, A., Uzuka, M., Tsuji, Y., Nakanishi, J., Hanzawa, N., & Imamura, S. (1997). Progressive Decrease in Hair Diameter in Japanese with Male Pattern Baldness. The Journal of Dermatology, 24(12), pp. 758–764. Retrieved from
  3. Gupta, M., & Mysore, V. (2016). Classifications of patterned hair loss: a review. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, 9(1), pp. 3. Retrieved from
  4. Suchonwanit, P., Thammarucha, S., & Leerunyakul, K. (2019). Minoxidil and its use in hair disorders: a review. Drug design, development and therapy, 13, pp. 2777–2786. Retrieved from
  5. Zito, P. M., Bistas, K. G., & Syed, K. (2020) Finasteride. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. Retrieved from
  6. Khanna M. (2008). Hair transplantation surgery. Indian journal of plastic surgery : official publication of the Association of Plastic Surgeons of India, 41(Suppl), pp. S56–S63. Retrieved from
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Knox Beasley, MD

Dr. Knox Beasley is a board certified dermatologist specializing in hair loss. He completed his undergraduate studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, and subsequently attended medical school at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA. 

Dr. Beasley first began doing telemedicine during his dermatology residency in 2013 with the military, helping to diagnose dermatologic conditions in soldiers all over the world. 

Dr. Beasley is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Originally from Nashville, TN, Dr. Beasley currently lives in North Carolina and enjoys spending time outdoors (with sunscreen of course) with his wife and two children in his spare time. 





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