Q: Does stress affect hair loss? My friend has patches of hair loss and she is stressed. How can she stop the loss? Shampoos are
not stopping it! Thanks. A concerned friend.
A: Stress can definitely be a factor in hair loss. Itís the same with diet, overall health, hormonal balance, etc. If your friendís hair
loss is significant enough that you are concerned for her then itís time she visited a doctor to determine the cause of the hair loss.
All hair loss is called ďalopeciaĒ, but there are many forms of alopecia and they have many causes.
Only a physician can diagnose your friendís condition and make treatment recommendations. The symptoms you describe sound like they could
be the result of alopecia areata, but only a doctor could say for certain. There are treatments available, so make sure she goes.
And if her problem is medical, itís no wonder that shampoos havenít had any beneficial effect.
Shampoos can help with hair loss that is caused by surface irritants or clogged pores and follicles, but donít provide any help in
situations of medical hair loss (that is caused by illness, or hormonal imbalance).
If she is hesitant to go to the doctor, or just plain stubborn, do tell her that if left untreated,
and she does have Alopecia Areata, it can only get worse. Hopefully, her problem is simpler, perhaps hormonally based, or the result of
an unidentified Ďagentí affecting her scalp. In those cases, the doctor can usually give a prescription that will clear up the problem,
and her hair will begin re-growing as normal.
No matter what the cause, or what the treatment might be, she canít begin to resolve the issue until
she has identified the cause. And donít let her go to a salon to ask the ďopinionĒ of a stylist there. One of two things will happen:
Either the stylist will be a good one and will immediately refer her to her physician, or will be a bad one and suggest a wide variety
of ďtipsĒ and remedies that will be ineffective and possibly do more harm in the long run by delaying your friend from seeking proper
care and advice. Stylists are not trained in diagnosis nor are we licensed to dispense medical advice. We are trained to spot potential
problems that should be seen by a doctor, but we should never try to suggest any treatment for a condition with a medical source.