There is a strong baldness gene which runs through the royal family.
From Prince Philip to Prince Charles and now to Prince William, you can see how the gene has been passed from grandfather, to father, to son.
And it appears that Prince Harry may also be going the same way.
Estimates suggest that more than 80% of cases of male pattern baldness are hereditary.
Recent pictures of the 29-year-old prince, who celebrates his 30th birthday in September, show he is in the early stages of male pattern baldness.
Harry is already starting to lose the hair around his crown – there is noticeable thinning.
Prince William started losing his hair in his early 20s and was noticeably bald by the time he was 25.
The process appears to have started a little later for his younger brother Harry.
Around a quarter of men start going bald before the age of 30, so this is hardly a big surprise especially when it runs in the family as it does for the Windsors.
If Harry’s hair loss progresses in the normal way, I would expect him to have a significant bald patch around his crown by the time he is 40. It will be worse if it also spreads to his hairline as it has with his brother.
Hair loss can have a devastating impact on young men like Harry.
It can shatter their confidence and lead to significant loss of self esteem.
A strong family gene is the most significant factor in the onset of hair loss.
Both of Harry’s uncles, Princes Andrew and Edward, have significant hair loss, too.
And the gene is prominent on his mother’s side, too – Princess Diana’s father Earl Spencer was bald.
Male pattern baldness is both genetic, and associated with the male sex hormones called androgens. Androgens have many functions, one of which is to regulate hair growth.
Each strand of your hair grows out of a little hole in your skin called a follicle. Normally, an individual strand of hair grows for two to six years, goes through a resting stage for several months, falls out, and is replaced by a new hair strand. With male pattern baldness, the hair follicle becomes smaller. It grows shorter and finer strands, and eventually stops growing hair altogether.
The signs are not good for Harry.
His options in covering up his baldness are limited. It would be difficult for Prince William, for instance, to shave his head, which is what around quarter of men do to hide their baldness, according to a recent poll by my own Crown Clinic in Manchester. A royal with a crew cut just doesn’t seem right somehow.
Prince Harry – recently voted the World’s Most Eligible Bachelor in a magazine poll – once joked that Prince William was “already bald aged 12.”
Harry, who turns 30 on September 15, also made fun of Prince William’s baldness when commenting about artist Nicky Phillips’ portrait of the princes three years ago.
He said: “I’m a little bit more ginger in there than I am in real life, I think,” he said.
“And William has got given more hair.”
Prince Harry was pictured showing the first signs of hair loss on a trip to Lesotho in Africa in February last year
He met children at a charity on the trip who were urged to teach the young royal the sign language for “ginger.”
Harry quickly replied: “What about the word for bald!”
Hair loss before the age of 30 can shatter a man’s confidence, particularly around the opposite sex.
It can be devastating for a lot of men but I am not sure that will be a problem for Harry.
He has is a very charismatic young man and has always attracted the attention of beautiful women.
The stigma around seeking treatment for hair loss had largely gone, thanks to high profile hair transplant patients like Wayne Rooney and James Nesbitt.
Wayne Rooney was brave to go public about his hair transplant and show that he was not embarrassed to seek help for his hair loss.
The stigma around seeking treatment has been removed. It would send out a great signal to other men if a royal would also seek treatment.
When the sun comes out, we know that we need to apply sunscreen to protect our skin, but many people forget to pay the same care to protecting their hair. Between the sun, sea and swimming pools, many of our favourite summer activities can significantly damage our hair – so the next time you go out to enjoy the sunshine, find out what you can do to protect it.
Why does sun damage the hair?
Sun damage to the hair is caused by the harmful UVA and UVB rays, which damage the outermost layer of the layer – the cuticle – and weaken the protein structure of the hair, making it dry, brittle and more prone to breaking. Some people find that their hair lightens in the sun, as the rays act in a similar fashion to bleach, stripping the melanin from the hair.
Protecting your hair from the sun
Wearing a hat is an easy way to protect your hair and scalp from the sun, especially if you’re outside when the sun is at its strongest. Hair SPF is also an option, which can usually be bought as a spray to be misted over the hair. Pay extra attention to the scalp – many people forget that the scalp can burn just as easily as the rest of the skin, ending up with an itchy, flaky, burnt scalp. If you do burn your scalp, rinse your hair in cool water and apply aloe vera to the affected areas, and make sure to keep your head covered when going outdoors.
If your hair is looking dry, try a deep conditioning treatment to restore some of the lost moisture to the hair, and avoid wearing your hair in any tight styles that may pull on the scalp. Summer is also a good time to temporarily stop using hairdryers, straighteners and any other hot tools to avoid adding to the sun damage.
Protecting your hair from the sea
Salt water is notorious for drying out the hair. It leaches moisture out of it, making it incredibly brittle and tangled, which can cause significant breakage. Before you go swimming, saturate your hair with clean water to prevent it from absorbing as much salt water, and don’t let it sit in your hair – rinse it thoroughly as soon as you get out of the sea. Deep conditioners and hair masks will also help replenish the moisture.
Protecting your hair in a swimming pool
Just like salt water, chlorinated water is very harsh and drying on the hair, so you can take similar precautions to swim in the sea. You could also try a swimming cap, as this not only prevents the chlorine from damaging your hair, but it will also protect your scalp from sunburn. If you have highlighted or blonde hair, be especially careful when in a swimming pool, as the copper and chlorine in the water have been known to form a film that sticks to the proteins in hair, turning it a green shade. Thankfully, this isn’t permanent, but make sure to enter the pool with wet hair and rinse it as soon as you get out.