A new survey has confirmed what medical experts the world over have known for some time now: that many of us are working too hard or are too preoccupied with our jobs. But one thing that not everybody knows is that work-related pressures can lead to the kind of stress that causes hair loss.
The survey was conducted by the Wooden Furniture Store and found that today’s family interacts with each other in quite a different way to our predecessors. Specifically, the report reveals that 30% of people admit to not speaking to their loved ones when they get home. Meanwhile, 57% of adults owned up to bringing their work home with them outside of office hours, thus letting their job get in the way of quality family time.
Stress caused by work is a huge global problem with estimates putting the cost of stress-related sick days in the UK up to £10 billion per year. Almost 26 million days are lost each year to work-related illnesses, with almost half of these caused by stress, anxiety or depression.
One quite telling link between work stress and hair loss came after a poll in which it was discovered that men earning more than £75,000 were twice as likely to blame work stress for their thinning hair than those earning £15,000 or under.
What is likely to be happening in these instances is that the wear and tear of stress upon the body has caused the genetic condition Male Pattern Baldness to initiate earlier than it might have otherwise, or it has worsened an existing case of Male Pattern Hair Loss. It could be argued, of course, that men with better salaries are likely to be older, this putting them in the “hot zone” of hair loss for men (30s-50s). However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that young men are experiencing premature baldness ever earlier – thought to be down to the pressures of modern life – and it is quite common for male pattern hair loss to now start in their early 20’s.
Either way, work stress is certainly not a trivial matter, as one study in the United States found that stress is quite literally killing people. Research into more than 2,000 people from Wisconsin in their sixties found that those who felt they had a little control of their workload had a heightened risk of dying.
Women are certainly not immune from stress-related shedding, either, and are, in fact, more likely to be affected as they have a far greater chance than men of developing a temporary hair loss condition named Telogen Effluvium. A recent survey carried out by L’Oréal, for example, revealed that a third of female respondents had experienced hairloss. One-sixth of the women who took part said they had first shown signs of hair loss before their 30th birthdays. As with men, Female Pattern Hair Loss can also be exacerbated by stress.
Hair loss solutions for men and women
Treatment for genetic hair loss features slightly different options for men and for women,
Treatment for male pattern hair loss is widely used by men interested in stabilising hair fall, encouraging regrowth and preventing baldness. This can comprise either or both of the only two clinically-proven, MHRA licensed and FDA-approved medications for genetic hair loss: finasteride 1mg and minoxidil.
The first, finasteride 1mg is a once-a-day tablet that inhibits the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is DHT which causes the gradual hair thinning associated with male pattern hairloss. It binds to the sensitive follicles along the top of the head, from hairline to crown and temples, slowly destroying them. As they become smaller and weaker, this displays outwardly as thinning hair or a receding hairline, with increased hair fall and can lead to eventual baldness if left unchecked.
By minimising the amount of DHT in the system, hair growth should continue unhindered. However, finasteride 1mg’s effect on frontal hair loss is unproven. This is one of the key reasons why some men prefer to also use the vasodilator high strength minoxidil, which comes in a range of different formulations.
These solutions are applied directly to the scalp where needed, and help to promote localised blood flow, encouraging healthy hair growth and preventing further hair loss.
This medicinal approach can be further augmented by the use of appropriate hair growth supporting products, such as the FDA-cleared follicle-stimulating low level laser therapy (LLLT) device, the LaserComb.
Women with genetic thinning have the option of Female Pattern Hair Loss treatment which generally comprises regular applications of high strength minoxidil as finasteride 1mg is only suitable for men.
Women, too, may benefit from using hair growth supporting products alongside their front-line treatments. These can include a handheld LLLT device and Belgravia’s premium hair growth supplement Hair Vitalics for Women, the ingredients of which have been researched and selected by the clinic’s hair experts for their beneficial properties, including biotin, zinc and selenium for the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth. This unique blend of high quality, hair-friendly vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanical extracts is not designed to replace a balanced diet, however.
Knock-on effects of stress
Because the human body is so complex and so many functions are interlinked, the knock-on effects of stress can be hard to overestimate. Sleep, for instance, is not something that many people necessarily associate with stress, but the strain that insomnia or simply regular lack of sleep or disturbed sleep patterns can place upon the body has been linked to dull, brittle hair and increased hair fall.
Various surveys from around the world have shown that many people are not getting enough sleep (one showed that women have a deficit of around 15 days sleep per year; for men the figure is 10 days), and the London Sleep Centre has said that around 30 to 40% of adults suffer from insomnia every year.
Researchers in South Korea have discovered that on top of stress-related hair loss that may arise from lack of sleep, missing out on crucial shut-eye also heightens the risks of several diseases, some of which can cause hair fall in their own right. Among them are diabetes, which can lead to Telogen Effluvium. Even heart disease, the risk for which can be increased by a chronic lack of sleep, has been linked to hair loss in at least six historic studies.
All of these studies paint a pretty compelling picture that an individual’s overall health and lifestyle play an enormous part in a multitude of biological functions. While it might be stretching things to state that a good night’s sleep and a stress-free job will equate to a full head of hair for the rest of your life, it is not too great a stretch to suggest that a proactive approach to reducing stress levels and making sure that the body is well looked after can help give a degree of protection from some of the things that can lead to thinning hair for both men and women.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.