What Should You Know About Losing Hair from Stress?
Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension, resulting in physiological changes that can affect the body. Stressful life events may trigger hair loss in women and men. Stress causes are divorce, moving to a new town or country, job change, unemployment, illness/disease (including chronic pain), surgery, surgery recovery, childbirth, and menopause.
This article describes the relationship between stress and hair loss, hair loss conditions associated with it, and what you can do to prevent hair loss.
How does stress cause hair loss?
Stress may cause temporary hair loss by affecting the growth phase of hair. During this time, old hairs are continuously replaced by new ones. When stress causes too much tension on the scalp, it causes an increase in blood flow to the cells responsible for making hair. As a result, these cells produce a hormone called “DHT,” which affects the growth phase of hair. DHT causes the growing cycle of the hair to be shortened. As a result, there is no time for the new hairs to grow and replace old ones when they are shed off due to conditions related to stress.
An increase of stress hormones such as cortisol (stress hormone) and catecholamines (also called adrenaline or epinephrine) can cause the hair follicles to be pulled into the anagen phase faster than normal. These high levels of these hormones can prevent hair from naturally growing back after it falls out.
Hair loss conditions associated with stress
1. Telogen effluvium
Telogen effluvium is the most common form of hair loss associated with stress. Telogen effluvium occurs when there is a shift in the ratio of hairs that are growing (anagen phase) versus those that are resting (telogen phase). This shift causes an increase in the number of hairs that prematurely shift into the telogen phase/resting phase or fall out.
2. Alopecia areata
Alopecia areata is a hair loss condition that results from the autoimmune system attacking the hair follicle and causing hair to fall out. It can be brought about by stress, although it is unclear as to what causes this association.
Trichotillomania is a condition in which people pull out their own hair – without knowing they are doing so. TTM can be brought about by stress, anxiety, boredom, lack of sleep, feeling tense or bored, being upset or frustrated with oneself, and other emotions.
How to prevent hair loss?
If you are experiencing hair loss brought on by stress, there is no cure for it except time. Avoiding stressful situations and taking steps to reduce stress can help speed up recovery and prevent further hair loss. Some of which are:
- You should also avoid using heat styling tools on your hair and always use a heat protectant prior to blow-drying or flat ironing wet hair.
- Avoiding harsh chemicals and using gentle, sulfate-free shampoos can also help reduce hair loss. Try organic oils like Indulekha oil which are free from parabens, sulfates, silicones, synthetic dyes & artificial perfume.
- You should also get enough sleep and eat a well-balanced diet to boost your immune system so that it can fight against the effects of stress on your body, including hair loss.
- Eat a balanced diet to give your hair a chance to grow back and for healthier, fuller hair. Some foods that may help improve the quality of your hair include leafy green vegetables, eggs, oatmeal, nuts, seafood, and yogurt.
- Brush your hair before bed to remove any excess oils on the scalp that can cause greasiness by morning. This also helps prevent dandruff. Make sure you only use a paddle brush or wide tooth comb to avoid hair loss!
- Biotin supplements are great for both stress and hair loss. Biotin is one of the substances that are responsible for healthy fingernails, skin, and hair. It is known as B7 or vitamin H. A deficiency in biotin can cause thinning of the hair, dermatitis (skin inflammation), and even depression – all of which make your body more susceptible to stress too.
One of the most common causes of hair loss is stress. Once you identify how your body reacts when it’s under pressure, there are ways to reduce that response and stop or slow down the process. We hope this article has been a useful guide for you to get some tips on how to prevent hair loss induced by stress.