Can stress cause hair loss?
Your Tresses on Stress: Understanding telogen effluvium
Because hair defines our appearance, today we are going to answer a question that, indeed, you have asked yourself more than once: “Can stress cause hair loss? Can hair lost from depression regrow?”
Although throughout this post we are going to develop the subject in detail, the quick answer is yes. Stress can cause accelerated hair loss. Although the direct relationship between the two elements is more than proven, the truth is that it still needs to be discovered exactly what the physiological process behind it is.
The best-known stress hair loss is caused by periods of emotional stress. However, many other diseases can also trigger hair loss. Let’s talk about the most commons:
- Psychological stress. Anxiety, depression or mental exhaustion may be the cause of hair loss due to stress. It is known as telogen effluvium, of which we will talk in the following blocks. Hair may start to fall out washing your head, combing or running your hands through your hair. Also, bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress syndrome can lead to hair loss.
- Organic stress. There are some more complex diseases such as tumor processes or lupus that may be behind sudden hair loss. Also, this kind of hair loss could manifest after serious trauma or major surgery.
However, there are other much more frequent and mild trigger factors that can also cause hair loss. Among them, a disease that has caused a fever or high-intensity sports practice.
In both psychological and organic stress hair loss, cortisol is the major factor. This kind of hormone, which is produced under stress by your two adrenal glands that sit on top of each kidney, has a devasted effect on virtually every organ and tissue in the body and performs important functions. Among them, the inability of our bodies to respond to stress and fight infections.
Is hair loss something temporary?
Very often, hair loss due to stress is temporary, which means it is a problem of a reversible nature.
The solution to tackle stress alopecia, a common disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, causing hair loss, is to eliminate its cause: stress, but we are aware that it is easier said than done. With proper treatment, stress alopecia is completely reversible, and hair grows back in a short time.
Alopecia is excessive hair loss that causes baldness. There are different types of alopecia that manifest themselves differently in each person.
Androgenic alopecia stands out, commonly during youth, hits very hard on the male sex. Its cause is genetic. Then, we must know about alopecia areata, which many patients attribute to stress, and which requires an accurate diagnosis and close medical attention, since the process is very ungrateful for the patient.
What about Telogen Effluvium?
It is the most common type of nervous alopecia. It occurs when high levels of stress create an alteration in the hair cycle. This cycle has three phases. When the anagen phase occurs, the hair is born from the follicle and grows constantly. This phase can last several years, being by far the longest. This is followed by the catagen phase, which lasts several days, in which the hair stops growing. Finally, in the telogen or rest phase the hair remains in the follicle without growing until, after a few months, it falls out.
How can we avoid hair loss due to stress?
- Operation, surgery, general anesthesia
- Nervous shock or anxiety
- Discontinuation of the contraceptive pill
- Weight loss or unusual diet
- Travel abroad causing jet lag
How can we avoid hair loss due to stress?
In this society we interact with, we are yet to learn how to stop and take things easy. To prevent hair loss due to this inflicted stress, these tips will be helpful:
- Massaging the scalp: Scalp stimulations accelerate your blood flow throughout the area and stimulates the hair follicles so that hair grows longer and better.
- Release tension: There are plenty of exercises that help to release tension and thus learn to recognize when your body is tense and replace its innate responses to anxiety and stress. This way, your body will learn the difference between being tense and being relaxed. Physical exercise sessions with an aerobic load (running, cycling, spinning) help to reduce the tension that we accumulate during the day.
- Balanced diet: Following a balanced diet is essential for hair health.
- Platelet Rich Plasma: This is a treatment that stimulates hair growth and improves its quality.
Consult a Hair Loss Specialist
Well, we have to be grateful for our modern life that leads us to run everywhere, and also that we can be connected anywhere at any time. Beautiful benefits that also come with their cons. Many times, to keep up with this rhythm, we eat poorly, drink excessive amounts of coffee and have lousy body postures. With it, hair loss is one of the first signs that lets us know that our health is deteriorating.
If your hair falls out and you don’t know if it is stress or another cause, don’t think twice and contact a hair loss specialist, who will look at the cause and its solution to this widespread problem.