Divorced? Don’T Pull Your Hair Out

As if the agony of losing a spouse wasn't enough to make you want to pull your own hair out, research suggests the stress might actually be causing women to shed their strands.

According to new research presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) annual conference, after genetics, marital status is the biggest predictor of hair loss in women. For females, being a divorcee or widower is a significant trigger for hair loss.

The studies examined identical twins since they are “are genetically programmed to experience similar patterns of aging and hair loss," says Bahman Guyuron, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and co-author of the studies. "If one twin loses more hair than the other, it is related to external factors." In addition to marital status, the research showed that drinking and smoking in excess also increases the risk of hair loss in women.

Results differed between genders. Hair loss in men was more commonly linked to cancer history, sun exposure and sedentary lifestyles. Although results between men and women varied, the importance lies in the external factors that contribute to hair loss in both sexes. Because hair loss is such a troubling issue for so many men and women, the findings should aid in discovering new ways to prevent and manage controllable hair loss in all adults.