How Can I Stop My Hair Loss
You can follow a few hair hygiene tips to make your hair less likely to fall out.
How To Stop Hair Falling Out And Thinning From Stress
Its really not the nicest experience to end up with handfuls of hair whenever you brush it. In fact, it can be downright alarming! The thing is, losing 100-150 strands of hair per day is completely normal, but there are some women and men out there losing far more and that is where the worry starts. This is known as stress hair loss, and its a problem. Stress can cause hair loss as it can affect other areas of the body, too, but the good thing is that there are plenty of things that you can do to prevent and treat stress hair loss.
Stress causes hair thinning for both men and women, and thinning due to stress happens to a lot of people. It can begin feeling like your hair just isnt as thick as it once was. When life is full of stress and pressure, your body reacts to it, affecting the hair follicles. This causes them to fall out far more than is normal.
Stress hair loss is not permanent and once you relax, your hair will stop falling out and your hair can restart its natural cycle. There are treatments out there including Finasteride that will help to put your hair back to its original healthy fast-track.
Stress Hair Loss Myths
There are a lot of misunderstandings out there surrounding hair loss and stress. When you misunderstand the reasons behind it, you might end up with the wrong treatment, which is why its important to know why your hair is falling out. Here are some of the myths surrounding hair loss and stress:
- Its immediate. If your hair loss is related to stress, it can take up to 12 weeks to start being noticeable. Your hair goes into a resting stage during stressful situations to protect itself. When your hair is normal again, the hair then falls out to make space for new hair.
- Any stress causes hair loss. This one isnt quite true! It can take just one event to cause hair loss, but it isnt just any kind of stress . Anxious hair loss wont happen because of the train being late in the morning, so its not just any event that will cause stress hair loss.
- Pregnancy doesnt cause hair loss. This one is half a myth. Its true that the stress of pregnancy doesnt immediately make your hair fall out, but its also true that during pregnancy your hair is thicker and healthier than ever. Its in those months after the baby is born that the body releases the stress on it and the hair starts to fall. And this is usually quite alarming as it comes out in clumps!
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How To Control Hair Fall Due To Stress
There are several ways you can address hair fall caused due to stress.
Over-the-counter, FDA-approved topical solutions and drugs like Minoxidil and Finasteride can help in promoting hair growth and act as treatments for hair loss due to stress. Minoxidil or Rogaine enhances the blood flow and oxygen supply to the scalp, thereby nourishing the hair follicles. Finasteride, on the other hand, is a prescription medication that reduces the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone , the hormone that is primarily responsible for hair loss in men. Finasteride stimulates hair growth by bringing down the DHT levels.
Massaging the scalp with certain essential oils is also said to be an effective remedy for hair loss. Some examples include lavender oil, castor oil, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, tea tree oil, lemongrass oil, and thyme oil.
Besides addressing hair loss, your stress level needs to be managed too. Relaxation techniques like yoga, exercise, meditation, breathing exercises, and positive thinking can effectively deal with stress. While yoga and meditation calm the mind, exercise releases chemicals like endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which impact your mood and help you manage your stress.
Laugh On A Daily Basis
Laughter is indeed a universal balm. At times of great stress, a simple chuckle can take the edge off of your anxiety. You are unique, with your own sense of humor. Take time out of your day to search for those things that make you laugh. Dont hesitate to laugh at yourself. Some of our stress can be related to our own sense of self-importance. Put yourself back in perspective with some good self-deprecating humor.
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Is There A Way To Prevent Telogen Effluvium
Unfortunately, there is no proven way to prevent or stop an episode of telogen effluvium, and it should resolve on its own with time.
However, there are a few things that may help to support overall hair health. Eat a balanced diet, and in particular, consume an adequate amount of protein . Hair is made up of primarily protein , so its no surprise that sufficient protein is vital to maintain and grow hair. Also, be sure to avoid very tight hairstyles, excessive heat styling, or chemical-based treatments, as these can contribute to hair loss or cause hair breakage.
If you hair loss is chronic, patchy, or associated with redness, itching or pain, seek medical care from a dermatologist.
Why Your Hair Is Falling Out
You might start seeing more hair loss than normal thanks to the following:
- Hormonal changes like pregnancy or menopause.
- Certain hairstyles.
- Damaging haircare like perms or bleaching.
- Medications like chemotherapy.
- Medical conditions like fungal infections or thyroid disease.
Working with a dermatologist, you can begin identifying what might be causing your hair loss. Your doctor will ask about your health, your medications and your family history.
I tell the patients to keep track of events that are unusual for them, for instance, a heavy menstrual period, says Dr. Bergfeld. So when we go back to look for triggers, well have some hint at what it could be.
Your doctor will also look at other areas on your body like your eyebrows, lashes, underarms, pubic area, legs and arms to assess if theres hair loss.
Many times, hair loss is an indicator that something more serious is going on.
Hair loss, particularly shedding, is just a sign that something has happened to the body, says Dr. Bergfeld. The hair follicle is one of the three fastest turning over cell lines in your body. Anything that affects your body and throws it out of balance will affect those systems. So shedding hair is an indicator that somethings wrong.
How Does Stress Impact Hair Fall
The hair has four phases in a life cycle, and stress can change that up. Anagen is the growth phase , and catagen is the shorter phase during which the hair follicle shrinks. Telogen is the static period that can last for about 100 daysa sort of limbo where the old hair follicle is waiting to pushed out by the newly grown one. This is the normal life cycle, resulting in the normal daily shedding of 100 hairs. However, increased cortisol levels compact the anagen and telogen phasesleading to more hairfall. Its largely hormones that do thistelogen effluvium specificallythat pushes large numbers of hair follicles into a resting phase before their time.
Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta of Isaac Luxe adds, Telogen effluvium and alopecia areata are both related to stress,” she says, suggesting that consciously attempting to reduce cortisol levels is necessary.
Can Stress Cause Hair Loss
Yes! There is a direct correlation between stress/ anxiety and hair loss, and this has been proved by murine model experiments conducted by scientists across the world. The effects of stress and anxiety have been measured during the three-step cycle of hair growth. Technically, anxiety and stress are two different conditions but they have a huge overlap in a way.
The key reason for anxiety and hair loss is the inherent stress. Anxiety in a way is almost like a long-term and persistent stress, that affects the growth phase or the anagen phase of the hair cycle. It means anxiety puts you at not just mental but physical stress too.
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How Long Does It Take To Regrow Hair
Most of the time, any hair you lose from stress-induced hair loss will come back. After youve treated the root cause of your hair loss, its normal for your hair to grow back over three to six months.
However, because it can take several years for hair to grow to its full length, it can take quite a lot of time for your hair to completely restore itself after stress-induced hair loss.
Does Emotional Stress Cause Hair Loss
Emotional stress, such as loss of a loved one, work-related pressure, financial troubles or parenting problems, can cause hair loss. These changes in mood can trigger hormonal imbalances, which lead to hair loss, often through telogen effluvium.
During periods of extreme emotional stress, telogen effluvium can cause the hair to fall out. Telogen effluvium is the most common type of stress-induced hair loss but is not permanent. Hair often grows back within 2 or 3 months.
Emotional stress can also trigger a specific type of alopecia, called alopecia areata. This is characterised by sudden bald patches on the scalp, which can spread to cover the entire head. Again, hair loss caused by alopecia areata is not permanent and often grows back, although sometimes treatment is required.
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What Are The Types Of Hair Loss
There are three: anagen effluvium, telogen effluvium and FPHL.
- Anagen effluvium: This is caused by medications that poison a growing hair follicle .
- Telogen effluvium: This is caused by an increased number of hair follicles reaching the telogen phase, which is the stage where hair falls out.
- Androgenetic alopecia/female pattern alopecia/female pattern hair loss /baldness: This type is the most common. Hair thins over the top of the head and on the sides.
How Stress Causes Hair Loss
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Noticed more hairs on your brush, pillow or around the shower drain than normal? Dealing with hair loss is never fun, especially when youre not sure whats causing it.
However, its also possible for a range of other factors to cause and contribute to hair loss.
One of these factors is emotional stress. If youre feeling overly stressed due to work, your personal life or anything else, its possible that this stress could contribute either to mild hair thinning, or significant hair loss.
Below, weve explained how and why stress can cause you to lose hair. Weve also looked at a range of treatment options that can help you regrow any hair you lose due to stress.
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Can Ptsd Make Your Hair Fall Out
Those with PTSD will find that their stress hormones never return to normal levels and that their bodies choose to conserve energy and nutrients for essential functions of the body, preventing hair from regrowing once it is shed.
Those with PTSD suffer from being stuck in a fight-or-flight mode permanently, where loud noises or sudden changes in lighting can cause them to panic or become extremely distressed.
The effects of existing in fight-or-flight mode do not just affect their behaviour, but also the internal hormonal levels in the body. If the body is stuck in fight-or-flight, it will choose to preserve any nutrients for essential core functions of the body. As the hair is deemed non-essential, hair follicles do not get the nutrients they need to produce hair follicles. This means the hair will shed without being replaced, ultimately causing hair loss.
Clinical Types Of Stress Hair Loss For Women
Hair thinning from stress happens to many people. You may just feel like your hair isnt as thick as it used to be, especially since youve been crumbling under the pressures of everyday stress. But there are some actual conditions that affect the hair follicles, causing hair to fall out much more than normal. Knowing the difference between the various medical conditions is crucial, so here is some background.
- Telogen effluvium is a condition that makes hair rush through its natural growth cycle, according to American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Stress causes hair to be pushed into the resting cycle, meaning less growth. When things go back to normal, the hairs get pushed out. It looks like handfuls of hair, but this is actually a sign of regrowth. It typically affects women 30 to 60 years of age and starts suddenly. It has a tendency to fluctuate for a period of years. This condition does not cause baldness.
- Alopecia actually means hair loss. This form of female pattern baldness can happen due to severe stress. However, there is little evidence that alopecia is stress-related. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes hair to fall out in round patches, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.
Photo Credit: Unsplash
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Whats At The Root Of Stress
The culprit is cortisol, the bodys main stress hormone. When too much cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands, as it can be when the body is in state of chronic stress, the dysregulated hormone is powerful enough to disrupt cell signaling in hair follicles.
This happens, some researchers say, because high cortisol levels trigger an excess of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and its these cytokine molecules that prevent the hair growth cycle from moving from the telogen/resting phase to the anagen/growth phase. Cytokines may also disrupt follicular melanocytes, the part of the follicle that produces hair pigment, helping to explain why stress seems to hasten the appearance of gray hair.
In one recent study on mice, researchers pinpointed signaling receptors on hair-follicle stem cells that are influenced by cortisol. Researchers observed that when mice had low levels of corticosterone, the animal version of the stress hormone cortisol, hair/coat growth was abundant. In mice with high levels of corticosterone, hair growth stopped and shedding increased.
Why Hair Falls Out
Hair grows and eventually falls out as part of its normal cycle. It can build up on hair brushes, pillows, or shower drains.
Most people will not notice the natural hair loss that occurs daily. Hair thickness and the hairline usually remain the same.
People are more likely to notice excessive hair loss, which may be due to an underlying condition. Symptoms of excessive hair loss can include:
- sudden loss of hair
- noticeable thinning
Several possible factors may cause excessive hair loss.
One of the most common causes involves genetics. According to a 2019 review, pattern baldness affects up to 50% of men and women.
Commercial products could help to slow and treat this type of balding. This includes products like minoxidil .
Pattern baldness occurs slowly with aging. Some more immediate causes of hair loss can include:
Whether hair growth can return depends on the cause of the hair loss. A dermatologist can determine whether a personâs hair may regrow on its own.
Hair loss may be temporary and reversed for the following conditions:
To help hair grow again, a dermatologist may perform a procedure such as the following:
- Corticosteroid injections into bald or thinning areas every 4 to 8 weeks. The AAD says this is the most effective treatment for alopecia areata.
- Platelet-rich plasma therapy involves a doctor drawing a small amount of blood and injecting the plasma into bald areas. The 10-minute procedure is necessary once monthly for 3 months, then once each 3 to 6 months.
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The Relation Between Stress And The Hair Cycle
There are approximately 100,000 hair follicles on the adult scalp . Each hair follicle is constantly cycling between growth and rest. The majority of these hair follicles are in the growth phase at any given time. When the hair follicle transitions to telogen, or the resting phase, the hair is shed. During an episode of telogen effluvium, a trigger causes a sudden, abnormal shift of hairs into the telogen phase all at once. One possible trigger for this sudden shift? Significant emotional stress.
What qualifies as significant emotional stress? Think major, negative life event . While a single bad day at work shouldnt meet this threshold, severe and prolonged stress secondary to the Covid-19 pandemic, for instance, could certainly qualify.
To test the relationship between substantial stress and hair loss, researchers giving birth can also trigger an episode.
Temporary in nature
The other good news? The hair loss is temporary, and should return to itspre-effluvium density, although this process is generally slow. It can take months before the shedding stops, and then months to years for lost hair to grow back at the sluggish rate of ~½ inch per month.
In some circumstances, hair does not fully return to its normal density. For one, telogen effluvium can uncover other types of long-standing hair loss . Additionally, overall hair density is expected to slowly decrease with age, and in few , telogen effluvium can be chronic and lasts for multiple years.