Stress and hair loss

Stress and hair loss have a complex relationship. It may be a case whereby those who live in constant fear about losing their hair may actually experience hair loss, by giving themselves so much stress and anxiety that their hair really falls out.

Stress can cause many conditions that lead to hair loss. These include:

  • Alopecia Areata: Sudden loss of large clumps of hair in areas around your scalp or gradual hair loss that builds over time.
  • Telogen Effluvium: A condition where more hairs than normal prepare to fall out.
  • Trichotillomania: A habitual condition caused by stress and anxiety where the person pulls out hairs, sometimes even without realizing it.

If you’ve been under a lot of stress lately, you may have noticed your hair looking a little lacklustre or falling out faster than usual. If your stress level has gotten so high that it’s visibly damaging your hair, consider it a wakeup call to do something about it.

The following might be some of the symptoms you may experience if stress is causing havoc on your hair.

1. You’re losing hair, fast and furious

Switching jobs, giving birth, or even just the flu can be enough to trigger hair loss. Of course, everyone loses hair daily, so how would you know if you are losing too much hair? If you feel like you are shedding twice as much as usual and it lasts for at least two weeks, stress may be the culprit. If you find yourself losing hair in patches, you may want to suspect that it is also stress related.

2. It takes forever to grow just half an inch

Research has shown that stress makes you more likely to make unhealthy food choices. However, if emotional eating becomes an ongoing habit, it can slow down your hair growth. Poor nutrition causes your body to go into survival mode, which leads to energy being shifted away from hair growth.

3. Your hairline is creeping higher

When you’re so exhausted that you barely have time to brush your teeth, you may just gather your hair to the fuss-free ponytail. But if your ponytail is too tight, it can start pulling out the tiny hairs along your hairline, which may cause damage the follicles over time and lead to gradual thinning. It is best that you stick with a loose pony or a messy bun and make sure to take it out before bedtime.

It is thought that stress somehow changes the chemistry of the hair follicles, resulting in too many hair follicles in the resting phase at one time. But if you can reduce stress, you can restore the natural cycle and promote healthy hair growth.

If chronic stress is a problem, bringing your stress levels under control can help restore your body’s natural hair growth process. With these changes to your lifestyle, you can reduce stress:

  • Start a regular exercise program.
  • Learn relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and guided imagery.
  • Take time each day to relax by doing a fun activity or listening to soothing music.
  • Take a yoga class or practice postures at home.
  • Become more socially involved with friends and family rather than withdrawing because of stress.

It is never too late to start taking better care of yourself to help your hair to get back to its normal cycle. You can also motivate yourself by eating a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and proteins to get plenty of nutrients, or taking a vitamin and mineral supplement if your doctor finds that you have any deficiencies, like B12, iron, or folic acid. You should also treat hair gently, especially when styling and using heat appliances.

Keeping stress from reaching severe levels, nurturing your physical and emotional health, and treating your mind and body well will all be reflected in your crowning glory.

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