Question of the Week

Why do we lose hair on our heads and not the rest of our bodies?

Tue, 17th Nov 2015

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Big Data, Big Deal?

Question

Pam and Colin Colin Janit asked:

I am quite bald in the centre of my head all the way towards the back. My question is: How come the hair on the rest of my body has not diminished as it has on my head?

Answer

To stop Rosalind Davis pulling her hair out trying to get to the bottom of this, she Bald Manasked Professor Robert Foley, from the department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge to help her out.

Robert -   We do lose hair from our heads and from our bodies throughout our lives.  You only have to clean a shower out or a bath out to realise that thatís true and, of course, we donít really notice or see the loss of hair on our bodies because the hair is miniaturised , very small and itís not very dense, the loss is virtually invisible.  In addition, of course, itís replaced so we donít see a long term effect either on our bodies or our hair. If we turn to the bigger, and obviously more important question is the permanent loss of hair.  In other words, going bald and there, there is a particular pattern to it.  It is men, rather some men, who go bald.  Why some men become bald is partly a matter of genetics.  There seems to be quite strong evidence that there are genes, and those genes are on the X chromosome, and that produces a sex-linked pattern of inheritance.  So that men inherit their baldness from their motherís father.

Rosalind - Surely though, as a species, we would have all evolved to keep our glossy locks.

Robert - It  might well be that baldness has actually got some evolutionary advantage.  Not many men feel that, but there have been studies showing that bald men can be seen as more attractive, often because itís associated with longevity, with success, wisdom, knowledge, maturity.

Rosalind - Okay, so if you are wise and mature but also, unfortunately, bald.  Is there anything you can do?

Robert - In terms of doing anything about it, all one can really say is ďbuy a hat and be happy.Ē  Thatís almost certainly a signal of long term survival-ship as anything else.

Multimedia

Subscribe Free

Related Content

Comments

Make a comment

well friends,
In ancient days, question of bald head is very rare and at present reverse is happening.
Hereby i call upon scientists to carry out experiments more seriously keeping in view of some of the points noted by me.
01  At present we are using shampoos to clean our hair. 
02  These shampoos are prepared from food items that are exactly needed by our hair.
03  Vitamins in these shampoos actually helps our hair to strengthen.
IS IT PROPER TO GIVE THEM DIRECTLY:
01  Actually if we take food, it is properly digested, and supplied to hair.
02  But here what we are doing, giving them food directly.
IN MY VIEW:
01 suppose if we are thirsty, drink water and not a bath.
02  Suppose if we are hungry, eat food and not attach it to stomach.

Suppose if we sits in water for long time, what happens outer layer of our skin is damaged.

Here also we are using shampoos to clean our hair on head only.  Contents of these shampoos are attaching hair and weakening them.

Let us start the process immediately and save our future generation from bald head.

Yours
Psreddy

pasala, Wed, 18th Nov 2015

I have no real evidence but I have a theory that baldness is linked to lack of vitamin D3 in your ancestry and going bald would enable future generations to obtain more D3 through letting the skin absorb more by revealing the very most prominent part of the body to sunlight. It is also noticeable that in the the very few parts of the world that get adequate D3 in their diet, then baldness is almost unknown. It is also noticeable that darker skinned people from warmer climates seem to be losing their hair as they go from generation to generation, just a thought. Nev, Tue, 1st Dec 2015

See the whole discussion | Make a comment

Not working please enable javascript
EPSRC
Powered by UKfast
STFC
Genetics Society
ipDTL