Scientists at Harvard University say they may have figured out how stress causes us to lose hair. In mice, they found evidence that the main stress-related hormones make hair follicles more difficult to regenerate. This discovery is likely to lead to more effective hair loss treatments one day, although more research is needed.
There are many evidence Associate stress with a higher risk of hair loss.Sometimes, it’s even thought that traumatic life events will trigger an acute attack of hair loss. This condition is called Telomere efflux.In the past year, experts have speculated Pandemic-related stress Even people who are not infected with covid-19 cause more hair loss.
One of the culprits of how stress causes our hair to fall is cortisol, which is often referred to as the stress hormone. This new research, Published In the Wednesday issue of Nature, an attempt was made to clarify the possible causes of cortisol-related hair loss. They conducted experiments on mice because they produce a very similar stress hormone called corticosterone (this hormone is also produced in small amounts by humans, but has no major role in our stress response).
Hair follicles form luxurious hair strands that grow from the scalp and usually go through two main stages of activity: growth and static stages. During the growth phase, the hair follicle stem cells mature, thereby regenerating the hair follicle and allowing new hair strands to grow. In the resting phase, the stem cells remain dormant, and finally, the hair strands in these hair follicles fall off. Usually, when our hair is about to fall out, a new hair will appear to replace it. However, when the duration of the resting phase is longer than usual, or the hair follicles stop regenerating, hair loss occurs.
The researchers found in these mice that chronic stress seems to prolong the quiescent period of hair follicle stem cells. When they artificially added high levels of stress hormones to mice, they were able to replicate the same effect. And when they prevent the mice from producing hormones, their hair follicles have a very short resting period and appear to be flawless, which allows the mice to keep their hair growing even when they are old.
Ya-Chieh Hsu, a stem cell researcher at Harvard University, said: “This result shows that stress hormones do have a negative effect on hair follicle stem cells.” statement Issued by the university.
The team’s past work also shows that stress can contribution It may affect nearby stem cells, thus making our hair albino early. However, the effects of stress on hair loss and hair graying do not seem to be caused by the same thing.
Other experiments by the researchers found that this hormone seems to affect the dermal papilla. The dermal papilla is a group of cells located under the hair follicle, which plays an important role in nourishing and regenerating the hair follicle. In these cells, hormones prevent them from producing Gas6, which is essential for maintaining the integrity of our hair.
Choi said: “Under normal and stress conditions, the addition of Gas6 is sufficient to activate hair follicle stem cells in a resting state and promote hair growth.” “In the future, the Gas6 pathway can be used to activate stem cells to promote hair growth. Explore other stress-related tissues. It will also be very interesting whether the change is related to the effect of stress hormones on the regulation of Gas6.”
Of course, mice are not humans. So, in terms of these findings, it is interesting that it will take more time to determine whether the exact same mechanisms of stress-related hair loss are indeed applicable to us, and whether Gas6 can be used to safely extend hair to us. Old age. However, if you have ever worried about thinning hair, it seems that controlling stress may be one way to keep your hair smooth.