It is no news that stress can cause hair to fall out, but, a new study suggests that scientists can detect the amount of stress a person is going through by inspecting locks of hair.
Up until now, experts would use samples of blood, urine, or saliva to detect the stress hormone cortisol.
The team that conducted the recent study published in PLOS Global Public Health, however, concluded that studying the stress hormone through hair could be a good method of spotting chronic stress as well.
Researchers studied hair samples from a total of over 1,200 women, 881 from Mexico and 398 from Iceland.
The team took hair right from the root and analysed the first 3 cm of the strands.
Since hair grows a centimetre a month, this section represented last three months.
The participants of the study were also given a survey with 10 questions about how stressed they felt.
The women who scored the highest for stress levels had 24.3% higher cortisol levels.
While cortisol is not only produced during stress, it is called the “stress hormone” because it is primarily secreted during the “flight or fight” mode of the body.
Study author Dr Rebekka Lynch said hair could actually help in diagnosing chronic stress.