Marital Status, Smoking, Heavy Drinking Increase Risk of Hair Loss for Women
Twins Studies Find Several New Predictors for Female and Male Hair Loss
DENVER – Age and genetics have traditionally been considered the most reliable predictors of both female and male hair loss. However, two new studies involving identical twins, being presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) annual conference, Plastic Surgery 11 THE Meeting, September 23-27, in Denver, reveal new contributors to hair loss in both women and men. In fact, being a divorcee, widow, heavy smoker or drinker can wreak havoc on one’s hairline, especially if you’re a woman, the studies find.
“Never before has the role of some of these contributors to hair loss been documented,” said Bahman Guyuron, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and co-author of the studies. “While genetics remain a strong predictor of some types of hair loss, introducing certain stressful or unhealthy factors into a person’s life can result in more hair loss.”
One study examined 84 female identical twins and found the strongest predictor of female hair loss was marital status. Those who were divorced or widowed exhibited more hair loss than married women. In addition, a large weekly consumption of alcohol led to higher levels of female hair loss along the front of the head. Heavy smoking was a significant contributor to female hair loss in the temple area. However, women who drank moderately - two alcoholic beverages a week - experienced significantly less temporal hair loss than their twin.
“Identical twins are genetically programmed to experience similar patterns of aging and hair loss,” said Dr. Guyuron. “If one twin loses more hair than the other, it is related to external factors.”
A second study looked at 66 male identical twins and found that while genetics was the strongest predictor of male hair loss along the front of the head, smoking, heavy sun exposure and a history of dandruff were also contributors. In addition, medical conditions like hypertension, a lack of regular exercise, and elevated testosterone levels contributed to increased rates of hair loss in men.
“There is as much interest in preventing and treating hair loss, as there is in finding ways to turn back the clock,” said Dr. Guyuron. “Many women, and men, deeply suffer from hair loss. Discovering the controllable factors that contribute to hair loss will help us to prevent it more successfully and develop better means to manage this troubling condition.”
The study, “The Relative Contribution of Endogenous and Exogenous Factors to Male Alopecia: A Study of 66 Genetically Identical Males,” is being presented Saturday, September 24, 2:50 p.m., and the study, “The Relative Contribution of Endogenous and Exogenous Factors to Female Alopecia: A Study of 84 Genetically Identical Females,” is being presented Sunday, September 25, 11:05 a.m., at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the world’s largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons. Representing more than 7,000 Member Surgeons, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. ASPS advances quality care to plastic surgery patients by encouraging high standards of training, ethics, physician practice and research in plastic surgery. For more information, please visit www.plasticsurgery.org.