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By Author / September 1, 2017

Stress and the Hair Growth Cycle: Cortisol-Induced Hair Growth Disruption

A new paper examining the influence of stress on the Hair Growth Cycle was recently published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. The paper investigates the influence of the stress hormone, cortisol, on the function and regulation of hair follicle growth.


Stress is a well-known factor of hair loss, which can cause or aggravate a handful of different hair growth disorders. Overall, it is possible to distinguish between three different types of stress related hair loss.


The first type is stress-induced Telogen Effluvium, which is most commonly seen as increased shedding combined with lacking regrowth due to acute or chronic stress. For the second type, acute or chronic stress is an aggravating factor in hair loss disorders, including the genetic hair loss condition called Androgenetic Alopecia and the autoimmune hair loss disorder called Alopecia Areata. Thirdly, stress can be a result of experiencing hair loss, and this stress can further worsen the initial hair loss, giving rise to a stress and response cycle.


Interestingly, when testing cortisol levels in the body, measurements showed that low levels of cortisol actually had a positive effect on the hair follicle as it slowed the breakdown of hyaluronan and proteoglycans, however, in high levels cortisol had the opposite effect.


It has previously been demonstrated that the presence of proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans plays a vital role in the normal function and cycling of the hair follicle. Specifically, versican, which is a large proteoglycan, is a main component of the extracellular matrix, and decorin, which is from the small leucine-rich proteoglycan gene family, is documented to play a vital role in hair biology. Studies further suggest that these may act as an Anagen inducer.


It has been suggested that to treat stress-triggered Telogen Effluvium an effective treatment should include a prolongation of the Anagen (growth) phase to prevent the early transition into the Catagen phase. Two previous studies have demonstrated that the intake of specific proteoglycans used as a ’Proteoglycan Replacement Therapy’ by oral supplementation with advantage can be used to improve the function and overall life of the hair follicle.


Conclusion: A Proteoglycan Replacement Therapy, featuring versican and decorin specifically, can play a pivotal role in the induction and prolongation of the Anagen phase of the Hair Growth Cycle.


Read the article here: http://jddonline.com/articles/dermatology/S1545961616P1001X/1