Female Hair Loss Caused By More Than Genes

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Hair loss is usually thought of as a problem afflicting men but it also affects women, many of who usually don’t respond as well to it. Genetics play a large role in the risk of female hair loss. However, a new study published in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ (ASPS) official journal, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, suggests that female hairloss is caused by more than genetics.

According to the researchers, there are several other factors that contribute to women’s hair loss. "Increased stress, smoking, having more children and having a history of hypertension and cancer were all associated with increased hair thinning," Cleveland plastic surgeon Bahman Guyuron, MD and colleagues of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland report in their study.

For their research, the team studied 98 identical female twins, with an average age of 54. Conducting the study on identical twins provided an opportunity to distinguish genetic and social/environmental factors since they share 100 percent of genes.

The researchers found that higher testosterone and stress levels were both associated with increased hair loss. Medical risk factors were also identified such as cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes. Additionally, smoking, not exercising and not using sun protection also increased risk. Interestingly enough, women who consumed more caffeine were at lower risk. 

The good news is, not all of these factors are out of your control like your genetic disposition. "Many of the environmental factors discussed in this study such as smoking, sun exposure and excessive stress can be targeted by both patients and physicians as potential ways to augment hair loss prevention strategies, " the authors conclude.

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