Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Why do the men in some families go bald, reliably, generation after generation? It’s not just bad luck. Rather, male-pattern baldness is a genetic condition affecting as many as 70% of men, and over the years different cultures have concocted an array of potential cures for it, from rubbing goose dropping into the scalp to a combination of molasses and oats that must be licked off the head by a cow.

Of course, these “solutions” aren’t likely to get you far and may expose you to far worse things – goose poop, anyone? But despite its prevalence, baldness remains a culturally sensitive topic. While some embrace their new look, others remain hopeful for potential solutions.

The better we understand male pattern hair loss, the more prepared we’ll be to approach it rationally and calmly, whether in the pursuit of cure or acceptance. Here are a few key things everyone should know about male-pattern baldness. After all, you surely know someone affected.

See The Signs

Male-pattern hair loss is easily recognizable, starting with the “M”-shape of the receding hairline. This shape will eventually shift, becoming just a horseshoe of remaining hair around the sides of the head. Though some men might choose to remove this remaining hair, it typically won’t fall out itself since the hair on the sides and back of the head is resistant to the hormones that cause hair loss on top.

Despite the easy to spot loss pattern, the age and rate of hair loss varies between men with male-pattern baldness. Typically, men whose relatives suffered early or rapid hair loss will also see those effects. It all comes down to heredity.

Some Hate Balding …

Despite the stigma surrounding balding, each man greets hair loss differently. With male-pattern baldness, in particular, most men have some time to reflect on the fact that they will lose their hair and come to look like their relatives. They’re part of a lineage.

Of course, knowing that hair loss is coming doesn’t mean it’s any easier, which is why some men choose to have elective surgery to disguise hair loss and boost their confidence. This is particularly effective for men with male pattern baldness because, as noted, the hair on the sides of the head is resistant to hormone-driven loss.

One particularly popular approach to transplantation is known as follicular unit extraction (FUE). According to the professionals at MAXiM Hair Restoration, FUE is a simple, scar-free procedure and leaves the recipient with a natural looking head of hair – because it’s their own hair. The original transplanted hair typically falls out within 4 weeks of the procedure, but after that, we see normal growth cycles.

… Others Don’t Mind

Some men see an advantage in going bald, especially when they start balding early. Though it can be embarrassing to have thinning hair when you’re still in college, some young men find that it makes them look older when they get their first job, giving them an air of professional authority.

It doesn’t hurt that there are plenty of famous men rocking the cueball look, including Dwayne Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Patrick Stewart. Some famous men even show off the distinctive patterns stemming from male-pattern baldness. John Travolta, for example, long displayed the receding hairline, as did Nicolas Cage.

Treating male-pattern baldness isn’t necessary, but if it’s dragging down your confidence, then it becomes a problem. If male-pattern baldness runs in your family or impacts someone you love, know there are options out there – and no reason to be ashamed, no matter how you deal with things getting thin up top.