Stress And Trichotillomania: Hair Pulling
Trichotillomania is a form of hair loss caused by an irresistible urge to pull out your hair, either from your scalp or any other part of your body. It can result in small or large thin and bald patches, and it is often extremely distressing for those who suffer from it.
The causes of trichotillomania are psychological, and are often complex. Stress is a major contributing factor, as are anxiety, depression, or a traumatic experience.
For more information on hair pulling disorder, please visit our guide to Trichotillomania.
Reduce Anxiety And The Hair May Come Back
The good news for anxiety sufferers is that not all anxiety related hair loss is permanent. If stress and anxiety are what caused your hair loss, then reducing that anxiety can help your hair come back when combined with vitamin and mineral supplements to aid in the process.
For more information about anxiety treatment strategies, .
Remember – not all hair comes back after it’s lost regardless of the cause, and your hair loss may be natural and not caused by anxiety at all. No matter what, you need to make sure that you are addressing your anxiety directly in order to both reduce the likelihood of anxiety related hair loss and reduce the anxiety you experience because of your lost hair.
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Initial Signs Hair Loss
The early signs of male pattern baldness are as follows:
Noticeable change in your hairline
Male pattern baldness generally begins in the hairline, when you notice that your mildly receded hairline has turned into a more obvious M-shaped hairline. For most men this begins around the temples and the crown and often starts with thinning rather than total hair loss.
Noticeable thinning of your hair
Not all men experience baldness in their hairline. Some men experience what is defined as diffuse thinning a type of hair loss that either affects the entire scalp or specific areas like the crown that results in hair loss that starts from the back or top, rather than from the hairline.
Excessive hair loss after showering or brushing
On average, people lose round 50-100 hairs a day, meaning that the five to 10 hairs you notice between your hands after shampooing aren’t anything to be concerned about. However, if you start noticing an excessive amount of hair falling out throughout the day, then there is a risk that it could be the result of male pattern baldness.
In general the early signs of hair loss show up in the following ways
Gradual thinning of the hair on the head
Receding hairline that becomes more visible with each passing year
For women, the first noticeable sign of hair loss is often a widening part or less fullness to their ponytail.
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How To Manage Stress
Its very distressing when you feel you are losing your hair and it can cause intense suffering and can affect your social functioning and ability to work.
Dr Lee said: Hair loss has severe psychological effects including loss of self-esteem, poor body image, loss of confidence, depression, and anxiety.
Women with high-stress levels are 11 times more likely to be suffering from hair loss than women with normal stress levels.
See your doctor if you are concerned about hair loss sooner rather than later.
The doctor will ask questions and is likely to arrange blood tests to rule out common causes such as iron deficiency, or a low thyroid hormone level.
There are a range of different types and causes of hair loss, and once a diagnosis is made, the best treatment can be offered. You may need to see a consultant dermatologist.
You may prefer to arrange to see a hair specialist a trichologist. This is not available on the NHS. You can find a qualified trichologist here.
Looking for somewhere to start? Dr Lee has revealed five ways to deal with stress-related hair loss.
Stress And Hair Loss: The Basics
Contrary to popular belief, stress is not linked to male pattern baldness the form of hair loss that causes you to permanently lose hair around your hairline, temples and the crown of your scalp.
However, stress can trigger and potentially worsen a form of temporary hair loss called telogen effluvium.
Telogen effluvium affects your hair by interrupting the natural hair growth cycle.
Normally, there are four different growth phases during the hair cycle as it grows from below the skin to its full length, then falls out to be replaced by a new hair:
The first phase is the anagen phase, during which the hair grows to its full length.
The second phase is the catagen phase, during which the old, fully grown hair follicle detaches from the skin.
The third phase is the telogen phase, also known as the resting phase, during which a new hair starts to grow from the follicle to replace the old one.
The fourth phase is the exogen phase, during which the old hair falls out, with the new hair growing in its place.
Just like your skin and nails, your hair is constantly undergoing this growth cycle. Weve covered each phase of the hair growth cycle in more detail in our guide to the hair growth process.
Each phase of the hair growth cycle varies in length. Hairs usually stay in the anagen phase for up to six years during which they grow to their full length.
About 90 percent of your hairs are in the anagen phase at any time, meaning that most of your hair is constantly growing.
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Stress And Hair Loss: Potential Ways To Cope
Any number of stressful situations can trigger hair loss, including pregnancy, chronic illness, injury, relationship issues, financial concerns, poor nutrition, surgery, medications such as antidepressants, and even jet lag. To counteract stress and protect your hair, try these tips:
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques regularly
- Get regular exercise, which helps manage stress and its effects
- Spend time with positive people isolating yourself can make stress worse
- Seek professional help from a therapist
- Eat a healthy diet and take a multivitamin if your doctor recommends it
- Treat your hair with care when washing, drying, and styling it
Hair loss from stress doesnt have to be permanent. If it continues, talk to a doctor about a prescription or over-the-counter remedy to spark hair regrowth.
Ways To Relieve Emotional Stress
While you cant always control the stressors that come in your life, you can control how you react and deal with that stress. Here are a few ways you can work on resolving existing emotional stress while also making you more resilient to future stressors.
Consistent and Frequent Exercise
Antidepressants arent the only way you can deal with depression. One of the best ways to make yourself feel better is through consistent exercise. You dont have to start by running a marathon every day, but simple movements for as short as 10 or 15 minutes a day can help improve your neurochemistry and relieve stress.
The goal of meditation is to calm your mind from all of the stress you feel. Rather than letting your mind run wild, meditation gives it a time and place to unwind and take a well-deserved break.
Taking a few minutes at the start of your day, or whenever you start to feel stress, can be enough to counteract the stress thats causing your hair loss.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Many people carry stress in their muscles. When theyre stressed, their neck or backs start to seize and contract to create painful knots. Progressive muscle relaxation is a way for you to release that muscle tension. As you relax your body, your mind will follow, and you will start to feel less emotional stress.
Eating a Healthy Diet
Getting Enough Sleep
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Can Anxiety Make Your Hair Fall Out
Anxiety itself does not directly cause hair loss. Instead, it is the stressful situations that those with anxiety encounter that can cause the hair to fall out. The amount that falls out depends on the severity of the stress and frequency of the interactions.
Anxiety is the bodys reaction to stressful, dangerous, or unfamiliar situations. Though everyone feels anxious occasionally, those who suffer from anxiety disorders suffer such distress that it interferes with their ability to lead a normal life.
As with other emotionally stressful situations, anxiety can trigger telogen effluvium or alopecia areata which will ultimately cause hair loss.
If you think you are suffering from hair loss as a result of emotional stress, it is best to consult your doctor. Your doctor may refer to you to a counsellor or therapist, to address the underlying cause of the emotional stress which should help prevent any further hair loss, as well as allow the hair to regrow through the resolution of the source of emotional stress.
Can Heartbreak Cause Hair Loss
Heartbreak is the most common cause of hair loss due to emotional stress or trauma. It can last for as long as the heartbreak goes on for, plus an additional 7 or 8 months for the hair to grow back properly.
This is because the emotional stress the heartbreak will shift hair follicles into the resting phase too quickly, preventing them from growing properly. The hair then moves into the shedding phase and starts again. However, if the emotional trauma is not addressed, the cycle happens again before the hair can grow properly.
Once the emotional stress has been resolved or is being resolved, the hair can start to regrow. However, this can take roughly 7 to 8 months, as all the hair that was pushed into the resting phase early needs to shed before it can regrow.
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Can Stress Cause Hair Loss Whats The Connection
Can stress lead to hair loss? Yes, studies suggest that stress does impact hair follicles, causing hair to fall out. Factors like physical and emotional stress, injury, and anxiety can trigger hair loss. Incidents like accidents, hospitalization, infection, financial burdens, debt, death of a loved one, work-related issues, etc., are significant contributors to stress.
Fortunately, stress-related hair loss is usually temporary, lasting only for three to six months before your normal hair cycle resumes.
Hair Loss From Stress Vs Male Pattern Baldness
There are several major differences between telogen effluvium and hair loss from male pattern baldness:
First, hair loss from male pattern baldness is typically permanent. In contrast, almost all of the hair you lose from telogen effluvium will grow back, provided the primary cause of the telogen effluvium is treated.
Second, hair loss from male pattern baldness looks different from hair loss thats triggered by stress. Male pattern baldness typically causes a receding hairline, balding on the crown or other baldness patterns. Telogen effluvium causes diffuse thinning on the entire scalp.
Third, telogen effluvium is not related to androgen hormones such as DHT. This means that some treatments for male pattern baldness, such as finasteride, arent effective as treatments for stress-related hair loss.
Fifth, If your hair loss is caused by stress, you may also lose body hair. Telogen effluvium hair loss the type of hair loss linked to stress typically affects your scalp and may appear as patchy hair loss. However, it can also cause you to shed more body hairor notice less hair on your body than you normally would.
If youre starting to lose your hair and arent sure whether its caused by stress or male pattern baldness, its best to talk to a healthcare professional.
Most dermatologists can diagnose telogen effluvium using one or several tests, including a hair pull test.
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Why Doesnt Rationality Seem To Matter Anymore
Harvard University researchers have identified the biological mechanism by which chronic stress impairs hair follicle stem cells, confirming long-standing observations that stress might lead to hair loss.
In a mouse study published in the journal Nature, the researchers found that a major stress hormone puts hair follicle stem cells into an extended resting phase, without regenerating the follicle or the hair. The researchers identified the specific cell type and molecule responsible for relaying the stress signal to the stem cells, and showed that this pathway can be potentially targeted to restore hair growth.
My lab is interested in understanding how stress affects stem cell biology and tissue biology, spurred in part by the fact that everyone has a story to share about what happens to their skin and hair when they are stressed. I realized that as a skin stem cell biologist, I could not provide a satisfying answer regarding if stress indeed has an impact and more importantly, if yes, what are the mechanisms, said Ya-Chieh Hsu, the Alvin and Esta Star Associate Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard and senior author of the study. The skin offers a tractable and accessible system to study this important problem in depth, and in this work, we found that stress does actually delay stem-cell activation and fundamentally changes how frequently hair follicle stem cells regenerate tissues.
How To Relieve Stress
You can’t always prevent stress from occurring in your life, but you can often minimize the amount of stress you experience, and when you cut down on stress in some areas, you have more energy to manage the stress that can’t be avoided. These techniques can help you cut out stress in your life when possible.
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Follow Mindful Eating Habits
You should always include adequate amounts of nourishing superfoods to strengthen your hair follicles. The food you consume will tackle stress hormones in your body and keep your hair tissues healthy. The goal is to eat more leafy vegetables, fruits and whole grains, which have more amino acids and nutrients to sustain the health of your hair. Also, reduce or entirely refrain from eating sugar treats, red meat or caffeinated beverages.
Along with eating superfoods, you can also incorporate them in your hair care regime. Opt for the Avocado Nourish Duo to strengthen and gradually nourish your hair.
- Wet your hair and apply the Avocado Nourish Shampoo on the scalp.
- Gently massage your scalp in circular motions and work up the lather through the lengths of hair.
- Rinse thoroughly.
- Take generous amounts of the Avocado Nourish Mask and distribute it evenly through hair while massaging your scalp.
- Leave it on for 3 mins and rinse off with cold water.
The Avocado Nourish Duo is primarily made of avocados that help maintain the strength of your stressed hair. The shampoo and mask are enriched with vitamin B, E, and fatty acids that will repair hair damage caused by external aggressors like pollution and sun exposure. It is also enriched with almond oil that will not only nourish your hair but also keep your locks soft and glossy. It works best for fragile hair.
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A Side Of Stress We Dont Think About
Stress! How many of us can claim not to be affected by stress in our busy lives, juggling work, family and social life amongst other things? This sort of stress is part of life but can be further exacerbated by other factors, death, divorce and the moving house being the big three!
There are many physical side effects that we are all aware of such as heart disease and stress-related cancers. Luckily for most of us, stress does not affect our crowning glory or precious head of hair, for others however, it is a different story.
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Losing Hair From Stress What You Should Know About Hair Loss And Chronic Stress
2 Minute Read
Medically Reviewed by Primary Care
If youre finding more strands of hair than usual on your pillowcase and in the shower drain, you may be wondering if anxiety is to blame.
Youve probably heard about a possible link between stress and hair loss, but is there any truth to that claim? Whether youre feeling frazzled by work or are overwhelmed by emotional events such as divorce or a death in the family, its natural to feel concerned about how stress can affect your body. Heres what you should know about stress and hair loss.
Treatments For Hair Loss
Are there effective preventative measures that can be taken?
Treating hair loss in its early stages can help minimise overall hair loss and increase the treatments efficacy. There are a few ways to control hair loss, but what to do depends on the cause of why you are losing your hair.
Some hair loss conditions such as hair loss experienced after pregnancy are temporary and may resolve on their own. However if your hair loss is persistent you may want to schedule an appointment with your local dermatologist so as to diagnose if your hair loss is caused by conditions such as male pattern baldness, thyroid issues, scalp infections, nutrient deficiencies, stress or simply ageing.
I would recommend four main hair-loss prevention treatments to consider, all of which work to stimulate regrowth on dormant follicles.
Finasteride, also sold under the brand name Propecia®, is an FDA-approved prescription medication for hair loss prevention in men. Finasteride can be an effective way to prevent your hair from thinning because it prohibits the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone . DHT is a powerful hormone that is thought to cause hair follicles to miniaturise and eventually stop growing hair. To get this benefit of finasteride, you need to take it properly and consistently as prescribed by your doctor.
4. LLLT or LED Light Therapy
Can hair grow back after it falls out?
Improve blood supply to the scalp
Promote hair strengthening
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