Can Stress Be the Cause of Thinning Hair or Hair Loss?

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Question: I'm 35 and my hair is thinning by the day. My father and both my grandparents had hair so its not genetics. I have a lot of dandruff and i have been under a lot of stress for years now. Hair have started turning grey considerably very quickly over these 8 months. Can stress be a cause of thinning hair or hair loss ?
PS. I cannot place an appointment as i live in another country. I've heard “jamaican black castor oil” is good. Please help.

Answer: Hi, Kurt. It sounds as though there is a lot going on here and while there have been many reports confirming the links between stress and hair loss, this is unlikely to be the sole reason for what you describe.

Concerned About Hair LossLooking at each aspect you mention, you are experiencing thinning hair, dandruff and your hair quickly turning grey. Stress can certainly play a factor in initiating or worsening each of these matters but it is unlikely to be the underlying cause.

Thinning hair caused specifically by prolonged stress is known as Telogen Effluvium and although it can occur in men sometimes, it is far more common in women. As you have been experiencing high levels of stress for a number of years, it is unlikely to be down to this, or even the more extreme version, Chronic Telogen Effluvium, as these are temporary conditions which would generally clear up in six to twelve months.

This is not to say you may not have had one of these conditions initially; Dandruff is often considered a sign of an underlying illness or health condition, whilst premature greying has been linked to a number of factors including stress, smoking, and the scalp being deprived of certain nutrients needed for healthy hair.

Lifestyle factors such as dietary deficiencies, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking are all common in people who are experiencing high levels of stress and are all further causes of Telogen Effluvium, so there are links between all the elements you mention.

Whilst you say that it is 'not genetics' on the basis that your father and grandparents had no signs of hair loss, this does not actually rule out the hereditary - and most common - hair loss condition, Male Pattern Baldness. In order for this genetically predisposed sensitivity to be passed on from your parents (on either side - your mother's or your father's) they do not actually have to be losing their hair, they simply need to carry the relevant DNA.

Many people carry the genetic trait that causes androgenetic alopecia (pattern hair loss) but it is not necessarily active in everyone - in some people it lies dormant so they may retain a full head of hair, while others whose predisposition is active may experience thinning at any time following puberty.

Both Telogen Effluvium (TE) and Chronic Telogen Effluvium (CTE) can trigger, or exacerbate, male pattern hair loss in those who with an active genetic predisposition for the hereditary condition. So, should your stress have caused either type of temporary thinning initially, this could have started a chain reaction.

Minoxidil DropperThe best way to tell would be to assess the pattern of shedding that you are experiencing. TE and CTE cause general, diffuse thinning from all over the scalp whereas male pattern hair loss only affects the top of the head. Whilst it can cause general thinning on top, MPB also tends to display in specific areas, by causing a receding hairline or a thinning crown, for example. Castor oil will have no effect on any kind of these types of hair loss, it may simply help to improve the condition, or softness, of your hair.

There are two clinically-proven male hair loss treatments available to prevent further thinning and regrow lost hair in these cases and, for TE or CTE, Belgravia recommends topical applications of high strength minoxidil from the selection of products we have on offer at our centres. As you will see from our Success Stories, by following bespoke treatment plans tailored to each individual's precise needs, level and pattern of shedding, Belgravia's programmes can produce promising results.

Without being able to assess you - we offer an online consultation and home-use treatment service for people who live outside of London or the UK and are unable to visit our Central London clinics - we cannot pinpoint the precise cause of your thinning due to the many factors at work here. However, what we can tell you is that by dealing with the cause of your stress, checking for any potential dietary or lifestyle issues and remedying those, you should be better placed to understand the true reason you are losing your hair and then deal with it accordingly.

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