There is no one reason for hair loss, and the underlying causes can vary from individual to individual. For some, it is a genetic condition which has been inherited through their family tree, while for others it is triggered by environmental circumstances, and by health issues.
A recent study by the Korean Hair Research Society (KHRS) investigated these causes, and made the surprising find that, for Koreans at least, factors such as diet and stress may play a far greater role in hair loss than previously thought.
The study used a survey of more than 1,200 hair loss patients in over a dozen university hospitals throughout Korea. Those taking part in the survey were asked questions about their hair loss, and about their family’s history of hair loss conditions. The researchers traced instances of hair loss experienced by each individual’s parents, siblings, grandparents and other older relatives.
They found that in 41.8% of hair loss patients, there were no previous instances of hair loss in the family, and that they were the only member of the family presently suffering from hair loss.
Keeping it in the family?
Jang Jin-soo, President of the KHRS, told the Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, “The study results contradict widely held beliefs, and show that there is little relationship between hair loss and family genes… So people should be careful not to expose themselves to the kind of factors that can cause hair loss, such as mental stress and unhealthy diet regimens.”
Of course, Mr Jin-soo’s assertion that the study reveals that genes are insignificant in hair loss is belied by the fact that more than half of those questioned presumably did indicate that hair loss ran in their family. It is also possible that the high number of individuals without genetic causes for their hair loss may have been influenced by the researchers’ choice of subjects – hair loss patients undergoing treatment in hospitals. It may be that those who have unexplained and unexpected hair loss were more likely to seek treatment for the condition, hence their unusually high representation in the statistics.
Even so, the research findings are a reminder of the many different reasons why people around the world may suffer from hair loss.
Genetic hair loss and stress-induced hair loss
Genetic hair loss is the layman’s term for Androgenic Alopecia, which is commonly known as Male Pattern Baldness in men, and Female Pattern Hair Loss in women. It can be passed on through the genes, from either the mother or father’s side of the family. In individuals who carry the gene, hair loss is triggered by the conversion of testosterone in the body into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This DHT causes the hair follicles to shrink, leading to thinning hair and bald patches.
One of the most common forms of non-genetic hair loss is Alopecia Areata, and is widely thought to be triggered by stress and trauma. It is an auto-immune condition in which the body’s own defences attack healthy hair follicles, causing hair loss.
At the Belgravia Centre, our hair loss experts treat both types of hair loss, using a range of scientifically proven and effective hair loss treatments and hair growth boosters. If you live near London, contact us to arrange a free consultation at our clinic in Belgravia. If you live anywhere else in the world, take a few moments to fill in our online diagnostic form, following which you will be contacted by a Belgravia treatment advisor who will discuss the effective medicinal treatment options available to you for home use.