The modern age has brought on a faster-paced world. Keeping up the intense daily routine while trying to achieve all goals, targets, and deadlines can take a toll on the body. The adage of “Keep your Hair on!” tells us that hair loss due to stress is no new predicament. However, there are several effective ways of tackling the problem ensuring that you maintain your flowing mane and tresses for years to come.
Can Stress Lead To Hair Loss?
Yes! There are direct correlations between stress and hair loss, and this has been proved by murine model experiments conducted by scientists across the world. The effects of stress have been measured during the three-step cycle of hair growth.
Hair growth begins in what is known as the Anagen phase which typically lasts for two years. This is when follicles erupt and stimulate the growth of hair shafts. Following the growth phase, the hair shafts go into a state of rest, and this is termed the Catagen phase. This phase lasts for around two weeks where there is no growth. Post this, the hair shafts enter the Telogen phase, which is when hair fall occurs.
With a healthy cycle, the process of growth, rest, and fall is at intervals which do not necessarily show a loss of thickness, texture or fullness with hair. However, with a stress-filled lifestyle or environment, the hair growth cycle is affected, inhibiting the follicles to re-enter the growth phase after shedding due to chemical imbalances in the body. This effect is seen typically within the first three months from the time of a stressful event.
3 Types Of Hair Loss Associated With Stress
- Telogen Effluvium – This is a condition which cuts the growth phase of hair follicles and forces them into a resting state due to hormonal changes or an imbalance. Over the following months, these hair shafts shed from daily wear and tear (washing, combing, and styling).
- Trichotillomania – A compulsive reaction to stress, people affected with trichotillomania tend to cope with stress by pulling hair from the scalp or other parts of the body. The individual uses pain substitution from the hair pulling to deal with a stressful event or lifestyle. Typically, other mental health issues can also be diagnosed in conjunction with this condition.
- Alopecia Areata – This condition arises when the immune system of an individual is compromised. It targets hair follicles and attacks them due to chemical imbalances brought on by stressful encounters. This is classified as an autoimmune issue.
How To Stop Stress Related Hair Loss?
The first step for any medically connected problem is to speak to an expert or professional and get an informed diagnosis. Hair loss can be attributed to several factors, but a common thread between most issues is that it is stress induced combined with an unhealthy lifestyle. While stress and anxiety do not have overnight or quick fix solutions, meeting with a therapist, identifying and removing stress triggers in your schedule, habits or interactions, and taking time to relax and follow a realistic routine go a long way in reducing the negative effects.
Can Hair Loss From Stress Be Reversed?
While lifestyle changes and the combination of any medications prescribed by a doctor or a dermatologist will help reduce the hair loss, there is a treatment available that can reverse it too. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment is a great advancement in the field of cosmetic trichology wherein platelets from the patient’s blood are injected in the hair loss affected regions of the scalp. Hair loss from stress has been reversed in many people who avail this treatment from a certified dermatologist.
Dermatologist Approved Tips To Overcome Hair Loss Due To Stress
Medication will take you only so far. Lifestyle changes are required to reduce stress and in turn, solve your problems of hair loss.
- Meditate – Do not confuse this with a religious or spiritual motive. Meditation can simply be a process of focusing on the present and the mental flow of your thoughts. There are several methods and schools of thought of meditation – repeating positive statements for reinforcement, focusing on a thought or object or just breathing in a specific pattern to help relax you.
- Belly Laugh – Laughter is the best medicine, and there is some truth to that saying. Stress hormones called cortisol decrease drastically leading to the release of endorphins (hormones associated with positive mood) which aids in de-stressing. Put on your favorite comedy entertainment and release those positive hormones.
- Play Some Tunes – Music studies have shown a direct relation to changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety rates, thereby making it an effective tool to manage stress levels. Finding ambient and relaxing sounds, like rainfall or ocean waves, and even watching the related imagery while listening to them can help calm your mental chatter and relax.
- Start A Regular Exercise Program – With any form of physical activity, your brain can trigger the release of ‘happy hormones’ called endorphin and serotonin. The effect of these hormones on the body is associated with relaxation, happiness, and calmness. The added benefit of an exercise program is the ability to focus on the activity, thereby distracting you from the stress on your mind, giving you a much-needed break. Find a manageable routine and sweat out that ‘stress’.
- Get Enough Sleep – On average, people require seven to eight hours of sleep to allow the brain and body to perform a daily reset. The right amount of sleep allows the body to avoid daytime fatigue and emotional stress (up to a point only) which are the most common symptoms of stress. Not getting enough sleep has a chain reaction which could lead to Telogen Effluvium, a stress disorder that prevents the hair cycle from entering the growth phase.
- Follow A Healthy Diet – The right amount of nutrients at regular intervals can do wonders for your body’s capability to deal with stress as well as enrich your skin and hair. Vitamin deficiencies (usually vitamin A, vitamin B12, and vitamin B7) are correlated with hair loss brought on by stress. Good sources of these vitamins are in dairy products and eggs. Optionally, if you are restricted to a customized diet, take a vitamin supplement as recommended by a medical professional.
- Connect With Your Network – The truth is that humans are social animals. Loneliness or isolation tend to have a negative effect on the mind and breeds more mental chatter and stress. Connecting with people (who you can trust), whether they are medical professionals, family or friends, and talking to them can give an outlet to your stress and maybe even provide a new perspective. Stress’ loss is your hair’s gain.
Stress can be very a silent integrated problem in your daily life. Tackling issues and seeking help can take away the toll on your body and leave hair where it’s supposed to be – on the head of a calm and relaxed individual.
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