Stress and Hair Loss

Stress and hair loss … hair loss and stress, which comes first? Research has shown that both sides have a strong argument; stress unduly affected the hair cycle and losing ones hair causes a lot of stress. Below I have discussed the effects of stress and hair loss looking at both sides of the equation.

DOES STRESS CAUSE HAIR LOSS?

The role of stress on hair loss (alopecia) is controversial, however, there is evidence that acute and / or chronic stress may precipitate certain hair loss conditions.

Genetic Hair Loss …

As male hormones trigger genetic hair loss, many researchers believe that stress can aggravate the condition as, during stressful episodes, the adrenal glands increase their output of certain hormones that can lead to the production of more dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels. Also, some researchers believe that the skin becomes more sensitive to the effects of testosterone during stress, so increasing the chances of hair loss.

Telogen Effluvium …

Severe stress can also influence diffuse shedding of hair (telogen effluvium), though this condition tends to be reversible. One possible explanation for stress induced telogen effluvium could be that the body's uptake of glucose is increased during a stress episode, leaving less available for non-essential tissues, such as the hair, causing the fiber to be shed prematurely. One study in Britain of 800 professional women who worked in a stressful environment found that over 30% were experiencing hair loss.

Alopecia Areata …

Alopecia areata or "patchy" hair loss has also been connected to stress episodes. One study showed that over 90% of patients with alopecia areata were under more stress. As alopecia areata is believed to be partially a product of an auto-immune response, the stress impact on reducing the immune system is thought to be a factor in the condition.

Trichotillomania …

Trichotillomania, the compulsive habit of recurrently pulling the hair, is also associated with stress, as well as more severe psychological problems. Amongst other factors, it is stress that tend to be a very important influence in both the sunset and continuity of the condition.

DOES HAIR LOSS CAUSE STRESS?

Obviously, people who are losing their hair tend to become very worried about the consequences. Many cases have been reported of people becoming introverted and withdrew due to the worry of losing their hair. This has been confirmed by research studies on men and women losing their hair. It has been reported that many subjects felt their lives changed and their stress levels increased after they noticed a worsening of their hair quality / quantity, not before.

Dr. David H. Kingsley, PhD is a board certified trichologist (hair loss specialist). He is the only trichologist in the world who is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology. Dr. Kingsley has 3 New York City trichology centers. For more information on hair loss, please log onto http://www.HairAndScalp.com/