It's not just the love that's gone: Divorce causes women to lose their hair, according to research

22 Sep 2011, by haircentre in FEMALE HAIR LOSS

It’s not just love that’s lost when a couple divorce, it can also cause women to lose their hair, according to new research.

The study found that women who had lost a partner through divorce or death were far more likely to have thinning hair than women who were happily married or single.

The author of the project, Dr Bahman Guyuron, chairman of the department of plastic surgery at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, believes the link is down to how a woman’s marital status affects her state of mind.

‘Most likely, stress is the aspect of a troubling divorce that appears to lead to hair loss among women,’ he told HealthDay News.

He added that other stressful situations, such as having children, could affect a woman’s hairline in the same way.

But remaining calm isn’t the only way to prevent hair loss in women, according to the study. Aside from genetics and stress, excessive drinking and smoking can contribute to women losing their locks.

The conclusions were reached after studying 84 female identical twins, who completed lifestyle questionnaires, had hormone blood level testing and extensive photo analysis of their hair.

The study noted that using identical twins was important because each twin carries the same genes as the other, ruling out genetic differences as a potential cause for hair loss.

Stress factor: Situations like divorce can cause women to lose their hair according to a study (posed by model)

Battle of the sexes: Divorce didn’t affect men’s hairlines in the same way but both genders were more at risk if they smoked or drank excessively

Across temples of the women, the team found that the more years a woman had smoked, the greater her hair loss. A history of skin conditions also contributed to the problem.

Hair loss on top of the female’s heads was linked to being diabetic, having some form of skin disease and being a smoker.

Meanwhile, having a couple drinks a week reduced the hair loss risk at the temple while while being overweight meant having a lower risk of hair loss on top of the head.

Women who drank coffee, used sun protection and were happily married had a lower overall risk of any hair loss, Dr Guyuron added.

Dr Doris Day, an attending physician in dermatology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said she was not surprised by a link between divorce and hair loss in women.

‘It’s not a shock to suggest that various kinds of stress can lead to hair loss. Or that men and women don’t experience stress in the same way, so that their hair loss patterns may be different,’ she said.

‘And in the end, I am a big proponent of the idea that it’s how you handle the stress that can make a difference. The mind-and-body connection is incredibly powerful. It helps to try and keep perspective, put the big things that happen in life, the major milestones, in their place and keep an open mind.’

The team also studied the possible causes of hair loss in men and found while stress didn’t affect them in the same way as women, smoking, heavy drinking and sun exposure were also contributing factors for their thinning hair.

Men who didn’t exercise regularly, had high blood pressure and a history of dandruff also had a higher risk of losing hair from the top of the head.

But men now rushing to exercise must take care if it’s in the sun, as those who exercised outdoors regularly faced a higher risk of thinning hair because of the sun exposure.

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