The relationship between stress and hair loss is a complex one, and depends largely on the type of stress related hair loss involved, although how this is experienced still varies significantly between individuals. This variation extends to both the extent and permanence of hair lost, although one thing always remains consistent; that losing your hair can be an incredibly difficult experience, whether the loss is temporary or permanent, and caused by stress or otherwise. Read on to discover how stress related hair loss could affect you, as well as both how to combat and relieve this!
Who Experiences Hair Loss Due To Stress?
Stress related hair loss can affect anybody who has recently experienced trauma; trauma encompasses numerous different circumstances, ranging from malnutrition to surgery, to a category known as ‘extreme stress’, which itself can be caused by a range of stimuli. All ages and genders can suffer hair loss due to stress, as the condition is prompted by environmental factors, rather than being hereditary.
Why Does Stress Related Hair Loss Occur?
Why stress related hair loss occurs depends on the condition experienced, with stress related hair loss predominantly manifesting itself through three key conditions;
– Telogen Effluvium: here, stress causes hair follicles to enter a state of rest, which results in fall out from friction caused by simple daily activities such as combing and washing. In Telogen Effluvium, hair doesn’t necessarily fall out so much as stop growing. Telogen Effluvium can be extensive, affecting up to 70% of scalp hair.
– Trichotillomania: this is a disorder in which an individual compulsively pulls hair from the body, including the scalp, as a reaction to stress. The individual often doesn’t realise the practice is occurring.
– Alopecia Areata: this condition is caused by several factors, which may or may not, include stress. Alopecia Areata triggers the body’s immune system to attack the individual’s hair follicles, in turn causing hair to fall out either in patches or completely.
Despite their differences, all of the above triggers are, or can be, caused as a reaction to stress. Stress can also cause hormonal imbalances; in women especially, increased volumes of testosterone, which are activated by an influx of adrenaline, have been known to trigger hair loss.
Another way individuals experience hair loss due to stress is through poor diet, as a common side-effect of stress is to stop taking care of one’s self, which in turn creates a lack of nutrients, and can result in hair loss. In a similar vein, stress can also affect digestion in that nutrients may not be properly absorbed into the body.
How Can You Combat Stress Related Hair Loss?
A range of different treatments exist to combat stress related hair loss. The best way to figure out which would be best for you is to book an appointment with your GP; they will determine whether stress truly is the root cause of your hair loss, as well as offer suitable alternative treatment options. Common treatments include; ointments, tablets, lotions, and different forms of therapy, amongst other methods. Hair transplant surgery is also an option that is becoming increasingly popular.
However, the most effective treatment for stress related hair loss is undoubtedly not to target the loss of hair itself, but the stress causing it, which is also something you can discuss with your GP. Once the cause of your stress has been recognised, you can get to work on tackling, and hopefully extinguishing it through a variety of de-stressing techniques. As well as removing the source of stress from your life, it’s also good to look at regularly practicing stress-prevention techniques as this will help to prevent hair loss from returning.
Does Hair Loss Due To Stress Grow Back?
Removing the source of your stress is undeniably the best course of action in conquering stress related hair loss. If stress definitely is the cause of loss, it is likely that you will only experience said hair loss for as long as you are feeling stressed or anxious, and hair should begin regrowth typically within a few months after lowering your stress levels.
Sometimes however, removing your source of stress isn’t so easy. What’s more, regrowth timeframe can vary drastically between individuals, and trying to accept your newfound hair loss in the time being, even if temporary, can be incredibly tough. One way to ease this difficulty is by wearing a wig. Wigs have proven to increase the confidence of those with hair loss – stress related or otherwise – boost self-esteem, and create the opportunity to experiment with different looks in ways previously unavailable. Wigs therefore offer a silver lining of sorts, allowing you to remain self-assured in situations where you may feel uncomfortable otherwise, and make managing daily life with hair loss that much more bearable. Hair pieces are extremely effective too if you’re needing to cover a certain trouble area. To prepare yourself, make sure to read up on wearing a wig for the first time, as well as what you need to keep in mind when purchasing a wig.
Potentially the worst part of stress related hair loss is that worrying about your condition will keep you stuck in the hair loss cycle! Put yourself first, employ the above stress-reliever techniques, and remember that hair loss is more common than you think. Keep reading our blog for more advice, stories and information from those also experiencing hair loss, and see our comprehensive hair loss guide to answer any other questions you may have!