Are You Losing Hair Over Stress? Discover Solutions for Stronger Strands!

Hair loss is clinically known as alopecia. Both men and women can experience hair loss throughout their lives. If you are experiencing hair loss, it may be caused by stress.

Read on to find out how stress can affect the health of your hair, whether its effects are permanent and what you can do to encourage regrowth.

What types of hair loss are linked to stress?

Not all hair loss is caused by stress. There are three types of hair loss associated with high levels of stress:

1- Telogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium (TE) occurs when the number of hair follicles in the growth phase changes. If this change occurs during the telogen – or resting – phase of hair growth, it can lead to hair loss.

This thinning does not necessarily occur all over the head. It is often observed in patches, particularly in the center of the scalp. People with TE generally do not lose all their hair.

In the most extreme cases, hair may lighten on other parts of the body. These may include the eyebrows or genital area.

TE is perhaps the second most common type of hair loss observed by dermatologists. It can affect men and women of any age.

Hair loss due to TE is entirely reversible. TE does not permanently damage hair follicles. The cause of your TE will determine whether your hair will grow back in a few months or longer.

2- Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune disease. It develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles. This attack can be triggered by stress and can lead to hair loss.

Hair may be lost in round patches on the scalp or all over the scalp. In a more severe form of AA, hair is lost all over the body.

Hair may grow back and fall out repeatedly over a period of time. AA can affect men and women of all ages. There is no known treatment for AA, but certain prescription medications can help people who lose more than 50% of their hair.

3- Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is also known as hair-pulling disorder. It’s a compelling urge to pull out hair from the scalp or other parts of the body. It is considered an impulse control disorder.

You may pull your hair out without thinking about it, for example when you’re bored or distracted. Hair-pulling can also be more intentional, serving to relieve stress or other negative emotions.

Hair pulling from the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes is often visible. This can lead to further stress, perpetuating the cycle of the disorder.

Trichotillomania appears most often in pre-adolescents and can last a lifetime. Although the causes of trichotillomania are unclear, research suggests that it may be due to genetic hair loss.

How do I know if my hair loss is stress-related?

Stress-related hair loss often has distinct characteristics from other causes of hair thinning. Here are three notable characteristics:

  • Appearance after stress. Normally, you can expect to lose 50 to 100 strands of hair a day. Stress-induced hair loss is preceded by major stressful events that have an emotional and physical impact. Major stressors such as trauma, the death of a loved one, illness, surgery, emotional turmoil or rapid weight loss can cause more hair to fall out than normal.
  • Progressive, temporary hair loss. Due to the hair growth cycle, excessive stress-induced hair loss is progressive, lasting 3 to 6 months. Hair begins to fall out a few months after the stressful event. The good news is that in most cases, stress-induced hair loss is temporary, once the stressor has disappeared or subsided.
  • No visible pattern. In the case of stress-related hair loss, the hair falls evenly over the entire scalp, rather than in any definite pattern. You’ll probably notice more hair than usual falling out when you shampoo, comb or on your pillow, clothes and bathroom floor.

What can you do about it?

There are a number of things you can do to reduce hair loss and promote regrowth.

1- Diet and nutrition

A balanced, nutritious diet of whole foods is necessary for the health of your body – and your hair.

While it’s important to include all essential vitamins in a healthy diet, some can be vital for hair growth:

  • Vitamin C. This vitamin is essential for building collagen, the skin’s connective tissue found in hair follicles. Foods that contain vitamin C include citrus fruits, broccoli, peppers and strawberries.
  • Vitamin B. This complex of many vitamins promotes a healthy metabolism, as well as healthy skin and hair. B vitamins are found in foods such as dark leafy greens, beans, nuts and avocados.
  • Vitamin E. This vitamin contains powerful antioxidants that can contribute to scalp health. Foods rich in vitamin E include sunflower seeds, spinach, olive oil, broccoli and shrimp.

2- Stress management

Learning to manage stress effectively can help you reduce the risk of further hair loss. You may need to try several stress management techniques before finding the one that works best for you.

3- Topical treatments

There are a number of creams, oils and other topical products that can help combat hair loss.

Topical minoxidil is an over-the-counter medication. It is available as a cream, spray or mousse. You can apply it to your scalp, eyebrows or beard up to twice a day. It is not suitable for other parts of the body. There are variants formulated specifically for male or female use. Although minoxidil’s mode of action is unclear, it is thought to prolong the growth phase. It may not be suitable for everyone, and results can take up to four months to become visible.

What if there’s no improvement?

Your hair loss may not be stress-related. Many factors and conditions can cause hair loss.

Here are some other common reasons for hair loss:

  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Medications, such as certain anticoagulants or antidepressants
  • Chemotherapy
  • Recent illness or surgery
  • Hormonal changes, such as childbirth or menopause
  • Nutritional deficiency, such as a lack of protein or iron.

Things to remember

If your hair loss is stress-related, your hair follicles have not been permanently damaged. By managing your stress and following a daily routine for hair care, your hair could return to a normal growth rate.

If over-the-counter measures don’t work – or if you don’t get results – consult your doctor. He or she will be able to help you diagnose the cause of your hair loss and advise you on the steps to take..

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