When it rains, it pours. Stress is usually accompanied by several adverse biological symptoms that almost always tend to lead to more stress or prevent you from stopping the cause of your stress. One of the symptoms that is commonly associated with this awful loop is hair loss. Whereas the other side-effects, like a headache or an upset stomach, typically go away relatively quickly, hair loss can have real, lasting effects.
The Relationship Between Stress and Hair Loss
You may remember this from some of our other hair loss articles, but it’s important to keep in mind that a small amount of daily hair loss is entirely normal and healthy. People usually shed around 50 to 100 hairs a day, so there should only be cause for concern if you notice an excessive amount of hair loss, not if you see a few strands hanging off of your comb. Excessive hair loss at any moment or time is referred to as Telogen effluvium. This temporary disruption in your hair’s natural life cycle occurs as a result of various stress, trauma, or shock to the body. Individual hair follicles enter alternative stages of growth at different times, so at any time a majority of your hair is likely growing, and about 10% – 20% is in the telogen (or final) stage where individual hairs are released or fall out. However, with telogen effluvium, a more significant number of hair follicles enter this final stage, and you’ll temporarily notice clumps of hair falling out at a time. Telogen effluvium is typically caused by severe mental or physical stress, and when it hits, you’ll realize that the expression “pulling your hair out” is much more real than you thought!
Why Does Stress Cause Hair Loss?
There’s an essential distinction between hair loss and telogen effluvium. Traditional hair loss (typically caused by male pattern baldness) is an ongoing process that affects almost all men and usually occurs in stages in a specific pattern. Telogen effluvium causes clumps of hair to fall out at a time and is typically noticeable after combing or washing your hair. Either physical or mental stress triggers this sudden onset of hair loss and does so because stress increases the body’s production of adrenaline. This can be converted into cholesterol, which then triggers an increase in the body’s production of testosterone. There is a specific chemical derivative of testosterone, DHT, which in turn has an enormous effect on hair loss.
How to Treat It
Telogen effluvium is temporary in nature, and so it is pretty much resolved when the stress or trauma is alleviated. However, these hair loss symptoms can be amplified if you don’t take proper care of your body. If you’re stressing about something, you’re probably not worrying about your diet or hair care. During and after your period of stress, it’s essential to maintain a proper diet rich in fruits vegetables, and proteins to get plenty of nutrients. This can help strengthen your body’s response to stress and help better you cope with and recover from its consequences. Additionally, you can also take vitamins and minerals to supplement your nutrient intake. Also, try to take good care of your hair during times of stress and avoid using too much heat and styling products. Lastly and most importantly, make sure you can find a way to cope with your stress. You can try picking up a hobby, doing yoga, exercising, or trying some meditation. Whatever that coping mechanism may be, it is crucial to have something so that your stress does not overwhelm you and disrupt your daily life.
One surefire way to completely alleviate all negative impacts of stress on your hair is to shave it all off! It’s a great look and its one less thing to worry about in times of stress! If that’s not a route you want to take just yet, hopefully, the information above helped give you a better understanding of stress-related hair loss and how to better deal with it.