Editor's Note: It’s important to note that findings of comorbidity studies like this one only suggest a potential association. To determine any cause and effect relationship, further study is required.
As if college isn’t stressful enough, a recent medical study in China found a potential connection between rosacea and hair loss among college students.
The study was the first to be done on college freshmen to find the links between androgenetic alopecia (AGA) and other factors. Data was gathered through a web-based survey of 9,227 freshman or newly-enrolled college students at universities in Changsha and Xiamen. Fifty-two percent of participants were male and the mean age was 18 years. The survey covered medical history, demographic information, living habits and health-related quality of life questions. Participants were examined and diagnosed by certified dermatologists, and height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) were recorded.
Only 49 participants were diagnosed with AGA; 310 had rosacea, and 1,087 had moderate to severe acne. The investigators noted that the low incidence of alopecia may be attributed to the young age of the participants. While previous studies found that acne and rosacea were both common comorbidities with AGA, in this latest study, there was no association found with acne. However, students with rosacea were more than three times more likely to have hair loss than those without the disorder.
The researchers said these findings implied that the connection between rosacea and hair loss was due to something other than increased androgen levels. They suggested that Demodex mites may play a role, but past studies of Demodex and AGA have been inconclusive, and further research is needed.
He F, Shen M, Zhao Z, et al. Epidemiology and disease burden of androgenetic alopecia in college freshmen in China: a population-based study. PLoS ONE 2022 Feb 16;17(2):e0263912. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0263912.
Photo courtesy of BlaiserPascal via Wikimedia Commons.