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Stress causes hair loss

by Tina Sendin April 14, 2020

Stress causes hair loss

If you start noticing unusually more hair falling out – alarmingly more than usual – then ask yourself:

Have you been stressed lately?

The link may not be that obvious, but it’s been established that stress causes hair loss.

Stress triggers various reactions to the body, acne breakouts or weak, delicate nails.

But hair loss is a common manifestation, especially when you go through emotional stress and anxiety. When this happens, your hair gets in a “resting stage” that manifests in falling out. And sometimes, there’s a 3 to 6-month delay between the stressful event and hair loss. [1]

Just think of it this way. When your body is going through a lot of stress, it would go into survival mode and would rather prioritize the more vital functions than hair growth.

So don’t fret. If hair fall is due to stress, it doesn’t mean the hair lost is gone forever. Your hair follicles are NOT dead. Your hair will NOT stop growing for good.

Keep reading to find out how you can address stress and fix hair loss.

 

5 reasons why stress makes your hair fall out

  1. Stress and anxiety lead your body to produce hormones that activate its “fight or flight response.” These hormones, like the stress hormone cortisol, and the sudden change in hormonal level can alter the growth patterns of your hair follicles. [2]
  2. Stress also brings adrenaline levels up. This converts into cholesterol, which can then increase testosterone levels. [3] Testosterone, the male hormone, plays a role on hair growth. In fact, it produces Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes hair loss and thinning. [4] High testosterone levels, both in males and females alike, affect the hair growth cycle.
  3. Perhaps the most obvious link between stress and hair loss? You tend to forget to look after yourself. Skipping meals and stress eating alike don’t bring enough nutrition to the body, which triggers hair fall. Nutrient (iron) deficiency and vitamin imbalances may be the culprit for why you see more hair on your brush. [5] In this case, supplements would bring you a world of good in making your hair strong.
  4. Stressed people are more susceptible to illnesses due to a weaker immune system. [6] Believe it or not, flu and high fevers lead to hair loss a couple of months later.
  5. Stress triggers or makes dandruff worse for people likely to have it. Flaky scalps result in hair loss.


 

Types of hair loss linked with stress

Depending on your level of stress, hair loss condition may be any of the following:  

Telogen effluvium

If you’re losing hair from physical or emotional stress, then you may be having telogen effluvium. This condition forces a significant amount of hair follicles into “resting” phase, which manifests in hair falling out. But not to worry – telogen effluvium is NOT permanent and won’t lead to baldness. 

 

Trichotillomania

When you unknowingly pull out your hair, then it’s trichotillomania at work. It’s a way of coping with discomfort, stress, tension, boredom, anxiety, and frustration. According to Mayo Clinic: [7]

Trichotillomania, also called hair-pulling disorder, is a mental disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body, despite trying to stop.

Hair pulling from the scalp often leaves patchy bald spots, which causes significant distress and can interfere with social or work functioning.

Alopecia areata

This happens when big patches of hair form around the scalp due to severe stress. “With alopecia areata, the body's immune system attacks the hair follicles — causing hair loss,” Mayo Clinic explains. [8]

 

 

 

Hair loss-causing stress comes in many forms

Stress that causes hair loss takes many forms, not just an emotional one. According to Everyday Health, stress may be because of: [9]

  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • A significant physical injury
  • Getting vaccinations
  • Malnutrition from an unhealthy diet or excessive fad dieting
  • Antidepressants
  • A chronic illness
  • Acute illness with fever
  • Jetlag
  • Suddenly stopping the use of oral contraceptives
  • Chronic emotional stress
  • A surgical procedure

 

Don’t panic just yet!

Losing a few strands of hair every day is normal. Here it’s key to set the difference between hair loss and hair shedding.

If you’re losing about 50 to 100 strands a day (not that you should count precisely!), then you’re just shedding and there’s no cause for alarm. [10] It’s just 0.03% to 0.06% of the total amount of hair on your head. (Yes – you’ve got 150,000 or so strands of crowning glory.)

You won’t even notice 50-100 strands except for a few in your bed, when you shower, or after combing.

It’s considered too much when the amount of hair is thicker than your usual shedding. You’ll most likely know!

If you’re not sure though, it’s best to consult a doctor, specifically a dermatologist to find out what the case is and how to address it.

 

How to get your hair to grow back

As mentioned earlier, hair loss (and even stress) don’t need to be permanent. The good news is, you can always do something about it! And the fixes are incredibly easy you don’t need to stress more about them!

 

Make sure you get all the right nutrients for your hair.

Stress eating or not being able to eat at all aren’t helping your beautiful mane stay full and shiny. It needs enough nutrients like biotin!

Here’s an article explaining how biotin can help you rock your luscious locks:  Want full, shiny, luscious hair? Here’s what you need.

Eat a well-balanced diet and take vitamin supplements. Try VALI Hair Strong now.

 

Manage your stress. 

Don’t let stress control you! Here are some tips on how you can cope with stress and anxiety:

 

Sources 

[1] https://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20727114,00.html?slide=133302#133302

[2] http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/fear2.htm

[3] https://www.philipkingsley.com/hair-guide/hair-loss/stress-and-hair-loss

[4] https://www.healthline.com/health/hair-loss-and-testosterone#dht

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033/

[6] https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-when-your-immune-system-gets-stressed-out/

[7] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/trichotillomania/symptoms-causes/syc-20355188

[8] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/expert-answers/stress-and-hair-loss/faq-20057820

[9] https://www.everydayhealth.com/skin-and-beauty/is-stress-causing-your-hair-loss.aspx

[10] https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/hair-care/hair-loss-vs-hair-shedding




Tina Sendin
Tina Sendin

Author




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