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Stress and Hair Loss

Super Stressed? So is Your Hair! 

In these unprecedented times, we are all facing another layer of stress in addition to those we face in our normal daily lives. We feel a bit out of control because of the pressure we’re experiencing from the uncertainty of current events. Don’t pull your hair out because this heightened level of stress will do it on its own.

 

How can stress cause hair loss?

Stress affects your entire body’s chemistry and throws hormones out of balance. It can increase the production of adrenaline to give us the boost necessary for what’s referred to as the “flight or fight” response. By doing this, the body goes into survival mode and adjusts the production of nonessential key nutrients, including those that support hair growth. When our bodies are faced with high levels of stress, it causes our adrenal glands to increase the production of the stress hormone called cortisol. The increased production of cortisol raises the body’s level of testosterone, which impacts hair growth. This affects the hair growth cycle and prematurely pushes our hair follicles from the anagen growth stage to the telogen resting stage, causing hair miniaturization and eventual hair loss. Typically, we lose about 50-100 hairs daily. When faced with high levels of stress, hair fall is substantially increased. You may not experience it immediately due to the nature of the hair growth cycle, but it will become apparent in 6-12 weeks after a stressful occurrence.

 

What are the types of stress-related hair loss?

Confirmed by the Mayo Clinic, there are three types of hair loss most commonly linked to high levels of stress.

Telogen effluvium. This occurs when high levels of stress prematurely forces the hair follicles into the telogen resting phase. Due to the disruption in our system, the average daily hair loss could triple or more, which you may not notice for a couple of months. It typically is not concentrated in a specific area but will occur over the entire scalp, mostly the top. However, it also means that as the follicle is pushed out, a new hair is forming below. This is a temporary condition and may take 6-9 months before your hair recovers.
Alopecia areata. This occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicle, causing hair loss. Several factors can cause this condition, including severe stress, depression, and anxiety. This type of hair loss may appear suddenly and can cause the hair to fall out in patches, creating bald spots. In some cases, hair will come back in 12 months. In more extreme cases, the problem can last longer, resulting in total baldness (alopecia totalis) or total loss of body hair (alopecia universalis). If you are experiencing this condition, you should consult with a dermatologist.
Trichotillomania. This occurs when you have an urge to pull out your hair from your scalp, eyebrows, or other parts of your body. Yes, even your beard. It’s a way of dealing with negative emotions, like stress and anxiety.

 

What can you do?

There are several healthy things you can do to effectively manage your stress level and rebalance your body. Here are some suggestions:

  • Pour yourself a cup of Chamomile tea and cozy up with a good book. Chamomile tea helps promote relaxation and may help reduce inflammation.
  • Draw yourself a warm bath with lavender essential oil and soak for a while. It can help soothe inflammation, promote relaxation, and stimulate the body’s immune function. It’s believed to help treat insomnia, anxiety, and depression, amongst other things. No time for a nightly bath? Try an air diffuser with lavender oil to infuse the air with its relaxing aroma.
  • Spend some time with the ones you love. Gather the family and watch your favorite comedy movie for a few good laughs. Laughter is the best medicine and can boost your mood, lighten the load, and help strengthen your immune system.
  • Get regular exercise. Get outside and go for a light walk, brisk jog, or an invigorating swim. Exercise releases endorphins and helps to reduce tension and stress. And it’s good for your heart! Also, exposure to sunlight helps you sleep better at night.
  • Escape to a quiet room and practice deep breathing techniques, yoga, or meditation. Shut the world out for a moment and focus on yourself. Find inner peace.
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet of whole foods and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Don’t skip meals, and don’t binge on junk food. Reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol consumption. Talk to your doctor about adding supplements if necessary to ensure you’re getting the proper amount of nutrients.
  • Get adequate sleep. Most of us need about 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Insufficient sleep causes us to be irritable, less tolerant, and easily agitated, leading to an increased level of stress. Sometimes it’s difficult to turn off your mind, so try some soothing music, nature sounds, or white noise to help you disconnect for a good night’s rest.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes stress is so overwhelming; we may not know precisely how to deal with it. Consider talking to a professional therapist or discussing your mental health with your physician.
  • Create the best possible environment to reduce stress-related hair loss and encourage healthy hair growth and scalp health by using a recommended professional treatment system. Look for a blend of Bio-Active Pea Protein, Soybean and Wheat Germ, Chinese Skullcap, Caffeine, Apigenin, Biotinyl Tripeptide and healing oils to stimulate follicles, nourish your scalp, and strengthen your hair.

 

What’s the bottom line?

Don’t panic as hair loss from stress can be temporary. Once you actively take steps to focus on your overall health and manage your stress levels, both internally and externally, your hair will recover and return to its normal growth cycle. Be patient and understand hair doesn’t grow overnight.