Genetics and Environmental Factors Impact Hair Loss in Women
Until recently, most people thought that genetics was the only factor that affected alopecia, or hair loss in women. Research done over the last several years clearly shows that this assumption is wrong – environmental factors also play a key role. Specifically, those that are also related to high stress levels impact the development of this condition in women.
One important study related to this topic studied risk factors for hair thinning in two sets of 98 identical twins. These twins share 100% of genes, which allowed researchers to specifically study and compare equal genetic and environmental factors side by side. The women provided exhaustive details about their lives, answering questions related to their health, marital, social, and other lifestyle-related histories.
Researchers were not surprised to find that higher testosterone levels were clearly associated with alopecia. Previous research has clearly recorded this as a hormonal cause of female pattern hair loss. Women who had greater rates of hair loss, however, also had higher levels of stress. That stress was related to things like a higher income, experiencing a separation or divorce, having been married multiple times, and having more children. Furthermore, a history of hypertension, diabetes, or cancer contributed to female hair loss.
Based on these findings, experts suggest women have a certain level of control over hair loss. Some actions that clearly affect or promote alopecia include smoking, not using sunblock, and lack of exercise. While high testosterone levels continue to be one of the main contributors to the condition, women can choose a healthier, more active lifestyle to combat the likelihood for hair loss.