Recent images of Hollywood actress Kristen Stewart showed what seemed to be bald patches in her long, dark hair – these pictures were taken around about the time her relationship with her boyfriend Robert Pattinson ended. TV presenter Gail Porter has also experienced hair loss from a severe form of Alopecia Areata, following the breakup of her marriage in 2005.
The stories of these two celebrities are not unique, and it’s not as uncommon as you might think for women (or men) to experience hair loss after the breakdown of a relationship or another stressful life event such as redundancy or bereavement. However, it is still not known how much of a factor stress plays in triggering hair loss.
During times of stress, the brain produces neurotransmitters which trigger a variety of responses that could possibly interfere with the hair follicles. The release of excessive amounts of androgen can lead to Androgenic Alopecia (also known as Female Pattern Baldness), where hair thinning can be seen all over the head but particularly on top.
The release of these signals from the brain is also thought to trigger some cases of Alopecia Areata, an auto-immune condition where white cells attack the hair follicles. This can cause patches of hair loss and can sometimes develop into Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis (total baldness of the head and body respectively), the latter of which affected Ms. Porter. Approximately one in a thousand people will experience a form of Alopecia during their lifetime.
Is Alopecia Areata caused by stress?
There are various reports which tentatively support the correlation between stress and Alopecia Areata, but some experts refuse to acknowledge that stress is a significant factor. Many believe that stress is simply an environmental trigger for those already predisposed to the condition, rather than the main reason behind its development.
There are many factors which could trigger the onset of Alopecia Areata besides stress, such as a viral or bacterial infection, allergies, genetic predisposition or even physical injury or trauma to the skin. It is not known exactly what causes the condition, but what is important is that those experiencing it seek professional advice as soon as possible, so that they can receive the best tailored treatment for their needs.
Treatment for female hair loss
At The Belgravia Centre, our hair loss specialists frequently see individuals with Female Pattern Baldness, Alopecia Areata, and other hair loss conditions. Treatment can be very successful, depending on the type and stage of hair loss. Minoxidil is the only treatment for female hair loss that has been licensed by the MHRA (UK) and approved by the FDA (US). Belgravia has an on-site pharmacy at both its Central London clinics, allowing specially tailored bespoke hair loss treatments to be collected from our centres, or these can be posted out – a particularly useful service for clients based outside London or the UK who complete our Online Consultation. A range of hair growth boosters and complementary treatments may also be recommended, and all clients will receive on-going monitoring by a hair loss expert to maximise the results of their treatment plan.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our online diagnostic form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our hair loss success stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 0800 077 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.