Men who are short in height and have light skin colour are more at risk of premature hair loss, researchers have found in a new genetic data of 20,000 men.
The findings suggested that premature hair loss is linked to a range of various physical characteristics and illnesses such as shortness, earlier occurrence of puberty and various cancers.
“We were able to identify 63 alterations in the human genome that increase the risk of premature hair loss,” said lead author Stefanie Heilmann-Heimbach, human geneticist at the University of Bonn in Germany.
“Some of these alterations were also found in connection with other characteristics and illnesses, such as reduced body size, earlier occurrence of puberty and various cancers,” Heilmann-Heimbach added.
Further, the immune and fat cells in the scalp were also found involved in hair loss along with the cells of the hair follicle, the researchers said, in the paper published in the journal Nature Communications.
“We have also found links to light skin colour and increased bone density,” explained Markus Nothen, Professor and Director of the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Bonn.
“These could indicate that men with hair loss are better able to use sunlight to synthesise vitamin D. They could also explain why white men in particular lose their hair prematurely,” Nothen said.
The genetic findings also confirmed the link between hair loss and an increased risk of prostate cancer and heart disease.
In their study, the researchers analysed genetic data from around 11,000 men with premature baldness. Around 12,000 men with no hair loss served as a control.
“However, men with premature hair loss do not need to be concerned,” reassured Nothen.
“The risks of illness are only increased slightly. It is, however, exciting to see that hair loss is by no means an isolated characteristic, but instead displays various relationships with other characteristics,” he added.