Our genetics impact a great deal of our physical attributes, from our body types to our complexion, eye color, and hair. One common inquire is which parent do we primarily inherit the genetic traits for our hair from. In truth, we receive equal genetic information from both of our parents, but not all genetic information is expressed, though we will carry this genetic information throughout our lives.

Genetic factors versus environmental factors

Almost everything our hair can be boiled down to genetic factors or environmental factors. Genetic factors are primarily things about your hair that you were born with, such as your hair color, texture, and type. Environmental factors are things outside of your genetics that can impact your hair, such as dyes. It is important to mention that stress (which can be considered an environmental factor) can affect and alter your genes. According to a 2013 study by The Rockefeller University in New York, the sympathetic nervous system may be heavily impacted by chronic stress. Stress can change the way in which specific genes in our immune cells are activated. Excessive stress over a prolonged period of time primed the body to fight off infections which can lead to inflammation. Inflammation, as we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, is terrible for your health and hair.

Genetic factors that impact our hair

Color

The color of our hair is determined (in large part) by the amount of melanin in our hair. The more melanin we have, the darker our hair will be. The amount of melanin in our hair is determined by several genes, though more research needs to be conducted, as we know little about the majority of these genes. There are other genes that can also play a role in determining the shade of our hair.

You may have heard of people whose hair change color over time. It is not entirely uncommon for some children who are born with blond hair to grow darker hair later own in their life. Some researchers speculate that in these cases certain hair proteins are activated later in life, which changes the color of the hair. Our hair may also turn gray as we age. Gray hair can be contributed to genetics, stress, and unknown causes.

To learn more ways our hair can change as we age, check out our previous blog: How Does our Hair Change as we Age? 

Texture

The texture and thickness of our hair are also determined by our genetics. Texture, in this context, can be thought of as how straight, wavy, or curly our hair naturally is. Mutations in certain genes can impact our hair’s texture by altering the cell structure, proteins that strengthen our hair, or even the chemical pathways that help our hair to grow (depending on which genes are mutated).

Hormones, medication, and chemicals (like bleaches, relaxers, and perms) can also impact the texture and thickness of our hair.

If you want to help improve the overall health of your hair or maintain optimal hair health, then consider Vitalize Hair. Our amazing products will give your hair everything it needs to grow thick, healthy, and beautiful!