Former footballer Ryan Giggs has recently opened up about his struggle with hair loss. The star is currently undergoing laser hair transplant treatment after he claimed stress caused him to develop male pattern baldness.
So, can stress really cause male pattern baldness? Here, you’ll discover more about male pattern baldness and how stress can potentially impact the hair.
What is male pattern baldness?
There are a lot of different types of hair loss, and male pattern baldness is one of the most common. It relates to both male hormones and genetics and presents in a specific pattern in all men. Hair loss will usually occur on the crown of the head, alongside a receding hairline.
The condition is also referred to as Androgenic alopecia and it is considered the leading cause of hair loss in men. In the US alone, the U.S. National Library of Medicine estimates that 50% of men over the age of fifty, will experience male pattern baldness to some degree.
Does stress cause male pattern baldness?
There are several causes of male pattern baldness, however, none of them is stress-related. This type of hair loss is actually caused by genetics and male hormones known as androgens.
The role of androgens is varied, though they do contribute towards regulating hair growth. In male pattern baldness cases, the hair follicles shrink, and the growth cycle of the hair weakens. This starts to produce much shorter, finer hair. Eventually, as the condition progresses, new hair stops forming entirely, leading to baldness.
So, while Giggs is indeed suffering from hair loss, if it is male pattern baldness, he is incorrect in thinking it has been caused by stress.
What impact can stress have on the hair?
Although stress doesn’t link to male pattern baldness, it can contribute to some forms of hair loss. Specifically, there are three types of hair loss known to be linked to stress, including:
- Telogen effluvium
- Alopecia Areata
Telogen effluvium occurs when a high level of stress forces the hair follicles to enter the resting phase. After a few months, the hair starts to shed, leaving significant bald or thinning patches behind. This type of hair loss is usually temporary, and the hair will grow back once the stress has subsided.
Alopecia Areata is one of the more severe types of hair loss. There is no cure for the condition, and it is known to be caused by a number of factors, including high levels of stress. It is an auto-immune condition which causes the body’s immune system to start attacking its own cells, including those within the hair.
Trichotillomania is a psychological form of hair loss which causes the patient to pull out their own hair. This condition is often triggered by high levels of stress.
So, while stress cannot cause male pattern baldness, it can link to other hair loss conditions. The good news is, if your hair loss is caused by stress, it will usually be a temporary ad fixable issue. Book a consultation with a hair specialist today to determine the cause of your hair loss and identify the best course of treatment.