Oscar Pistorius, the South African gold medal-winning Paralympian has been in the news cycle frequently for the ongoing legal trials and appeals following his conviction for the tragic shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steinkamp. The incident occurred in 2013, and Pistorius has been in-and-out of courtrooms in an ongoing debate about the sentencing in the trial. The media, naturally, has covered this case closely, following and reporting on each and every development as they occur. For those who are familiar with hair loss and particularly, stress-related hair loss, the emotional toll that these proceedings have had on the Paralympian has clearly taken a toll, as his hairline has changed noticeably over this time period.
Before the trial began, Pistorius seemed to display the common signs of male-pattern hair loss, with a classically receding hairline. As the trial continued, however, there were noticeable bald patches on his head, often on the sides and back, which are not the typical symptoms of male pattern baldness.
Doctors and experts theorize that Pistorius’ increased hair loss may be related to stress. Two types of hair loss specifically, telogen effluvium and alopecia areata may be to blame in this case. Telogen effluvium results when the hair’s natural growth cycle is affected and the follicles enter the resting “telogen” phase early. Alopecia areata is patchy, discolored hair that returns where patches formerly existed, which is evident in several photos of Pistorius from his trial.
Clearly, the stress of the trial and the uncertainty over his fate has had a serious and severe effect on Pistorius physically and may be showing in his hair and hair loss. For individuals who are suffering from stress-related hair loss, there are few reliable options for treatment. Surgery and other treatments can be expensive and ineffective, while shampoos and topical creams often have little to no effect.
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