Extreme stress, crash diets and ageing are among the top 10 causes of hair loss in women, says a hair expert. Photo by George Bohunicky on Unsplash

Extreme stress, crash diets and ageing are among the top 10 causes of hair loss in women, says a hair expert.

The other triggers, said Dr Adolf Klenk, were a lack of energy in hair, sunburn, the energy-sapping effects of high-performance sport, lack of nutrients in the diet, pharmaceutical drugs such as some chemotherapeutics and contraceptives, physical stress from braids or dreadlocks, and the temporary physical and psychological impact of pregnancy and childbirth.

Klenk, who in 2001 discovered caffeine’s positive effects on protecting against hair loss and subsequently produced the Alpecin and Plantur range of hair products for men and women respectively, said emotional trauma also contributed significantly to losing hair.

“Research shows that women with high stress levels are 11 times more likely to experience hair loss than those without.”

“Various studies also show that losing hair contributes to anxiety and impacts on self-esteem.”

A South African survey noted that 43% of women under 39 reported thinning or abnormal hair loss, largely attributed to emotional stress. 

This rose to 50% of women between 46 and 55.

Another survey showed that more than a third of women reporting hair loss had experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety due to the condition.

The Mercury