Can Stress Cause Hair Loss?

We all shed hair every day. It is normal to see a few strands on the pillow, floor, brush, shower drain, and anywhere else (especially for those with long locks). With about 100,000 hair strands on the head, this is nothing to worry about. But if one starts to pull out fistful amounts of hair and lose more hair than normal, it is a cause for a few alarm bells to sound off.

Studies reveal that stress can induce hair loss. However, it is important to determine if the hair loss is stress-related, to begin with. This article seeks to shed light on the matter.

 

Defining Stress

Stress is a physical reaction or a feeling towards a demand or challenge. It can come from certain events or thoughts that incite frustration, anger, or nervousness. It is the body’s way of protection from danger (like the adrenaline rush one feels when crossing the street or dealing with critical emergencies) or response to certain occasions (such as meeting a deadline).

Stress only becomes harmful when it lasts longer than it should. This is when many still feel anxious and on edge even after the stressor is gone.

There are two types of stress: 

  • Acute Stress
    • This is the most common and least damaging of stress types, and many experiences it multiple times in a day. Acute stress goes away quickly. This is what occurs typically when managing perceived threats, be it physical, emotional, or psychological. 
  • Chronic Stress 
    • This type of stress comes from repeated exposure to situations that cause the body to release stress hormones. It lasts for weeks or months. Over time, this causes wear and tear on one’s mind and body and lead to health problems.

Those with chronic stress are more likely to have conditions such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Skin problems (i.e. acne or eczema)
  • Menstrual problems

And these conditions can be made worse by chronic stress for those who already them.

For others, it can manifest in other ways. These are symptoms caused by chronic stress many often do not realize. Here are some of them:

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Forgetfulness
  • Frequent aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • Lack of energy or focus
  • Sexual problems
  • Stiff jaw or neck
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Upset stomach
  • Use of alcohol or drugs to relax
  • Weight loss or gain

 

Types of Stress-Related Hair Loss

To top it off, hair loss can also happen from chronic stress.

The hair on one’s head naturally follows a growth cycle. This involves growth (anagen), transition (catagen), rest (telogen), and shedding (exogen). When under stress, the body releases cortisol. This cortisol signals many hair follicles to shift from the growth phase and into the resting phase. With no hairs to replace those that have been shed, one experiences hair thinning. This type of hair loss is classified as telogen effluvium.

Fortunately, hair loss in telogen effluvium is temporary. One’s hair cycle should start to normalize once the stressors are addressed. However, the process is slow and may take months or years before the hair returns to its pre-effluvium density. After all, hairs grow only at a rate of half an inch in one month. Factors like genetics and age also hinder hair growth.

There are circumstances, though, that hair loss may be different for others. Here are the other types of stress-related hair loss to consider:

  • Trichotillomania 
    • Trichotillomania is a hair-pulling disorder. It is classified as a mental condition where one has an irresistible urge to pull the hair on their scalp, eyebrows, and other areas of their body as a way of coping with stress and negative feelings. 
  • Alopecia Areata
    • Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease where the body mistakenly attacks the hair follicles. It often results in unpredictable hair loss, with the strands falling out in small patches around the size of a quarter. There are a variety of factors thought to cause the condition, including severe stress.

 

Managing Stress-Related Hair Loss

It is important to first seek medical attention to determine if chronic stress is causing hair loss. Once diagnosed, the doctor or dermatologist can present options on how to treat it. But here are a few natural methods to help manage stress-related hair loss: 

  • Manage Stress
    • The factors causing stress should be dealt with first. But there are instances when this is always not immediately possible. One should engage in healthy habits like exercise, deep breathing, meditation, or trying out a new hobby (such as volunteer work, joining a theatre group, planting a garden, or starting an art project).
  • Eat a nutrient-rich diet
    • A healthy body affects one’s hair too. Eating a balanced diet and nutritious of wholefoods is a must to keep in tip-top shape and to better handle life’s stressors that come along. For healthier hair growth, one may consider upping their intake of vitamins B, C, and E. Drinking at least 2 liters of water daily is important, too.  

 

All-Natural Solutions to Hair Loss

Using the right hair care products also goes a long way to nourish one’s hair and help it recover from the harmful effects of stress. It best to avoid products that are full of chemicals as these will only add to the damage. Instead, choose ones that are natural, vegan, and rich in nutrients like our Hair Strength Shampoo, Hair Recovery Conditioner, and Hair Growth Serum.

Our products, available for both men and women, are made only with the best and most effective ingredients. These are designed as a simple 3-step solution to hair loss that effectively facilitates natural hair regrowth by increasing activity in the follicles. They are also free from sulfate, silicones, or parabens, so they are safe and suitable to use for all hair types, treated or colored hair, and even for those with the most sensitive scalps.

Everyone deserves a life free of worries with healthy, voluminous hair to boot. With continued use of our products, you are already halfway from living life to its fullest. 

Written by Anne Reyes

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