Being caught in a serious spiral of stress never feels good. It’s even worse when you start to think about the long-term impacts stress can have on your body, such as fatigue, muscle pain, hair loss and headaches. This creates a vicious cycle in which you’re stressed about being stressed, making you more stressed than you were before. There’s no doubt that this is one of the key reasons for the hundreds of panicked late-night Google searches asking: can stress really cause hair loss?
Unfortunately, yes, stress can cause you to lose your hair. Don’t worry, though. Missing the bus, having a bad day at work or getting into an argument with a friend won’t cause a receding hairline. Instead, you need to watch out for long-term, significant emotional stress. A major life event, such as a divorce or a loss of a loved one may cause you to become so anxious and depressed that it shows physically. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people across the globe are reporting worse mental health than in previous years. If you’re feeling this way, or experiencing physical symptoms, you’re not alone.
This article will first explain the different kinds of hair loss that stress can trigger. Then, we will go through solutions and options for you.
Stress-related Hair Loss
To understand the way that this works, you need to understand a bit about the hair cycle. There are around 100,000 hair follicles on the adult scalp. These grow hairs. Each follicle spends its lifetime cycling between growth and rest. Normally, most follicles will be in the growth phase (which is also called anagen) at any given time. However, the hair follicle then moves to the resting phase (also called telogen), which causes the hair to shed. Stress can cause a sudden, unusual shift of many hair follicles into the telogen phase all at one time. Hair loss will become apparent around 3 months after the stressful event, as that’s how long it takes for hair to shed from the follicles.
When feeling highly stressed, frustrated or lonely, some individuals feel an irresistible urge to pull hair from the scalp, eyebrows or other areas of the body. If you’re feeling this way, you should talk with your doctor immediately, who will be able to help you and provide some solutions.
Alopecia is caused by a wide range of factors, both environmental and genetic. However, severe stress is potentially one of those factors. Alopecia occurs when the body’s immune system attacks your own hair follicles, causing hair loss.
Of course, this brings us to the next question on most people’s mind; is stress-induced hair loss permanent? The good news is, if it’s telogen effluvium, the hair loss is not permanent. It can take a few months, but hair should be able to return to pre-shedding density. Alopecia areata and trichotillomania can also result in temporary hair loss. However, in some cases the hair loss is permanent.
In order to protect against stress-related hair loss, you may seek to reduce your stress. Here are our top tips:
Taking some time out of your day to be mindful, breathe, and relax, can do a world of good. In our fast-paced lives, stress easily builds up. However, just 10 minutes a day of meditation, either in the morning or at night, can build healthy habits for beating stress, and enable you to react to triggering events with a more peaceful and stable mind.
Running, tennis, swimming, yoga; whatever works for you, just do it and stick to it! Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly experience less stress (with lower levels of cortisol) in their day-to-day lives than those who do not exercise or who exercise irregularly.
Eating healthily is also important, as hair is made up of protein. Ensuring that you have a balanced and varied diet will ensure that your body has all it needs in order to grow thick and dense hair.
If you’re experiencing more permanent hair loss, there is always the solution of surgical or non-surgical hair restoration. FUT and FUE methodologies enable you to receive a truly natural-looking hair transplant. This helps you gain control over your look and your confidence. Furthermore, our non-surgical options, like micropigmentation, use pigments to create a semi-permanent tattoo on your scalp, making it appear that your hair is denser than it is.
If you’ve noticed that your hair is patchy or falling out when you comb or wash it, we encourage you to book an appointment at Look Natural Hair Restoration. With a free consultation, we will be able to establish the severity of your hair loss, as well as how to best treat it.