Work stress + DHT: the true root cause of hair loss finally discovered (and treatable) - nicehair.org

Work stress + DHT: the true root cause of hair loss finally discovered (and treatable)

How normal work stress causes hair loss and how you can prevent it…

I’ve previously written about a Microsoft study on workplace stress, which demonstrated how stress heats up your head. Take a look at this:

Head heat due to stress

See Research Proves Your Head Needs Breaks

This is what you’d describe as very normal workplace stress that most people experience every day.

Some people experience this stress every day and don’t lose their hair. But a lot of people experience this stress and they have high levels of the hormone DHT, which also causes hair loss. If you have BOTH of these causes of hair loss, you’ll be much more likely to lose your hair.

When I recently looked back at old photos of men I noticed that hair loss seemed to be far less common before working in offices became normal. Search YouTube for ‘earliest film footage’ then compare that footage to modern day footage and you’ll quicky see what I mean — the difference is staggering. I also read some time ago that hair loss is on the increase in China due a transition to working in offices.

But what is actually causing hair loss at a cellular/chemical level and how can it be stopped?

The important thing to understand here is what is actually going on in the scalp that directly causes your hair to stop growing and start miniaturizing. This is the key.

When your head heats up like this, tiny proteins called cytokines are being released in the scalp.

Cytokines disrupt the hair growth cycle primarily by inducing inflammation in the scalp. This inflammation interferes with the normal functioning of hair follicles, which go through three main phases: anagen (growth), catagen (transition), and telogen (resting).

The key to preventing hair loss

Most people know that hair grows in these three distinct phases but do you know what actually triggers the hair to transition from growth phase to resting or shedding?

At a cellular level there are chemical messengers that communicate between the hair follicle cells. For example, the cytokine ‘vascular endothial growth factor’ (VEGF) keeps the hair in the growth phase. This is actually how Minoxidil works — it increases and maintains scalp VEGF levels.

There are also messengers that cause hair loss, such as Transforming Growth Factors (TGFs), which communicate to the hair cells causing them to transition to the resting/shedding phases. This is the key part.

Essentially, if you can prevent the cytokines from telling the hair to shed, you can prevent hair loss. And guess what causes these particular inflammatory cytokines to increase in the scalp? You guessed it:

Head heat due to stress

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Thank you Microsoft for finally demonstrating clearly the true cause of hair loss.

Remember, inflammation alone will not always cause hair loss, but if you have both high DHT and high volumes of the inflammatory cytokines that tell the hair to stop growing and prevent new hairs from growing, the chances of hair loss are significantly increased.

What’s the solution?

The solution is simple — prevent the increase in inflammatory cytokines that cause hair to transition to the shedding phase and encourage the increase of the growth factors that keep the hair in the growth phase.

I personally recommend two ways of doing this:

  1. Regularly take breaks and actively practise calmness to literally ‘keep a cool head’
  2. Use a topical like the Growth Factors serum to really boost hair growth and help prevent shedding

How inflammation causes hair loss

Cytokines such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) can:

  • Shorten the Anagen Phase: By promoting inflammation, cytokines can shorten the anagen (growth) phase of the hair follicle cycle, leading to shorter hair growth periods and ultimately, shorter hair.
  • Induce Premature Transition to Telogen Phase: Cytokines can cause hair follicles to prematurely enter the telogen (resting) phase. This results in the shedding of hair before it has completed its full growth cycle, leading to thinning or loss of hair.
  • Inhibit Hair Follicle Regeneration: Inflammation induced by cytokines can damage hair follicles and inhibit their ability to regenerate. This can lead to a decrease in the number of active hair follicles and ultimately result in hair thinning or baldness.

Stress is physical

Although most people think of stress as something that happens in the mind, it’s also the release of stress hormones like cortisol, which can suppress immune function when present in high levels over prolonged periods. Stress can disrupt the balance of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, impacting immune response. Chronic stress can also affect the production of white blood cells, impairing the body’s ability to fight off infections and increasing susceptibility to autoimmune disorders like alopecia areata.

Inflammation leads to hair loss when the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline trigger the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines — signaling molecules that promote inflammation. Stress can activate the sympathetic nervous system, which also contributes to the release of inflammatory mediators.

Chronic stress can disrupt the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which regulates the body’s stress response. Dysregulation of the HPA axis can lead to prolonged elevation of cortisol levels, which in turn can promote inflammation throughout the body. This can turn into a vicious cycle where the elevated cortisol makes you feel more stressed so you actually become more succeptable to milder stressors.

What’s the solution?

The solution is to be proactive about these problems. Proactively practise calmness throughout the day to prevent the build up of stress hormones and inflammatory cytokines. You can also adapt your diet so you consume less foods that increase inflammation and more that help keep it low. Finally, you can be proactive about boosting hair growth using a serum like the Growth Factors serum. If you do all three of these things you have most of the bases covered — and that’s the best you can do.