Turns out that stress and bad habits such as smoking, drinking and even tanning could contribute to hair loss, especially in women, according to preliminary findings from new research.
Reported on health website WebMD on September 23, two new studies found that women's hair follicles are particularly vulnerable to the wear and tear of a stressful lifestyle. One study found that women who had suffered the stress of a divorce or death of a spouse were at the highest risk of losing their hair at the midline, meaning a widening of the parting in the middle of the scalp, noted WebMD.
Men can chalk balding mostly up to genetic luck of the draw, although smoking, alcohol consumption, daily stress, and sun exposure contribute as well, according to the research.
While you can take preventative measures such as wearing a hat in the sun, quitting smoking, and reducing your alcohol consumption, researchers add that adopting healthier lifestyle choices could possibly help your hair grow back.
"Part of it is to manage what you can," said New York City dermatologist Doris Day (who wasn't involved in the study) in an interview with WebMD. "The sooner you address it, the better your chances of having recovery."
The studies were presented at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgery in Denver, Colorado, September 23-27.
Prior research has also linked stem cells to balding, finding that some stem cells in the scalp are incapable of developing into the type of cells that make follicles. The discovery, published earlier this year in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could give hope to men and women with hair loss, said the researchers in a release.
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