Lifestyle factors can have a significant impact on your overall health. We know several diseases can be reversed through living a healthier lifestyle. Recently, there was a study published that linked air pollution to hair loss. Now there is a new study that is showing a link between long working hours and hair loss. In this article, we will be going over the effects that long working hours may have on your precious hair.
The Difference Between Shock Loss and Hair Loss
Shock loss is a rare condition that can occur from a stressful event or trauma. Shock loss is a constant shedding for a prolonged period. The chronic shedding will create a diffuse hair loss that may seem like male pattern baldness, but it is not the same as genetic hair loss. Shock loss generally resolves on its own without any medical intervention within a few months.
Genetic hair loss is a condition that is caused by the hormone DHT. The 5-alpha reductase enzyme is responsible for converting testosterone into DHT, via the bloodstream. DHT is an endogenous androgen sex steroid. DHT is biologically essential for males, as it is responsible for the development of puberty, facial, body, and pubic hair. Unfortunately, DHT can wreak havoc on your hair follicles if you have the genetic predisposition to hereditary hair loss.
What Does The Study Say?
Researchers examined over 13,000 employed men, and they found that men who work more than 52 hours a week lost theirs at more than double the rate of men who work 40 hours per week. Researchers say that it is likely due to stress and not enough downtime and work-life balance.
Changes in hormone levels that occur during stress can negatively impact several areas on the body. Previous studies have revealed that stress can cause the immune system to attack the hair follicles on the scalp. This auto-immune condition is called alopecia areata.
The researchers, from Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, examined 13,391 men aged 20 to 59 from 2013 to 2017. There were three groups, men who worked 40 hours per week, men who worked 52 hours per week, and men who worked above 52 hours per week. Age, marital status, education, monthly household income, smoking were included in the study.
Hair loss occurred in two percent of the men who worked 40 hours per week. Hair loss occurred in 3 percent of the men who worked 52 hours per week. Hair loss jumped up to 4 percent in men who worked even longer hours.
Lead researcher Kyung-Hun Son had this to say: "The results of this study demonstrate that long working hours are significantly associated with increased development of alopecia in male workers. Limitation of working hours to prevent alopecia development may be necessary for younger workers, such as those in their 20's and 30's."
This research is published in the Annals of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Journal. Unfortunately, the study did not examine women. Dr. Farjo Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians member and founder of the Farjo Hair Institute in London had this to say: " The stress caused by working long hours is likely to be a process that builds up and gets worse over time."
Our Final Thoughts
Stress isn't good for the body; I think we all know that, but stress does not cause hair loss. Now, stress can certainly speed up the process of losing your hair, but it is not the direct cause. Androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss) is inherited through a gene. The hormone called DHT activates this condition. The hormone DHT binds to the vulnerable androgen receptor sites on the hair follicles on the scalp. DHT gradually shrinks the hair follicles until they no longer grow- this is the balding process. That said, stress and long work hours can speed this process up immensely, and this study is proof of that.
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