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Hair care

Can stress cause hair loss?

Why does stress cause hair loss

It is true, it is well established that hair loss can be related to emotional stress or anxiety. It could take about 3 months to see the link between the event or time period that causes stress and the hair falling out. It lasts for as long as you’re going through that special period of stress or anxiety.

During this time, more hairs on your head are in the ‘resting stage’. Rather than meaning that your hair follicles are dead or that your hair will stop growing permanently. Your usual hair growth and regrowth pattern should return to be normal a few months after your stress levels decrease obviously.

How can stress make your hair fall out?

When you are stressed, your body produces what is known as the ‘fight or flight response’. This is when your body is making extra hormones to set itself to deal with whatever it thinks of as being a potential threat.  

Accumulating evidence of the data suggests that neurohormones, neurotransmitters, and cytokines released during the stress response significantly influence the hair cycle.                                                                 

There are molecular links between emotional stress and well-defined parameters that reflect hair follicle growth and function—the neuropeptide SP and the neurotrophin NGF.   

There are various collections of other stimuli and mediators (neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, neurohormones, neurotrophins) are considered as potential local or systemic mediators of stress-induced hair growth inhibition—not the least since the hair follicle has been identified as both an eminent peripheral target organ and a source for many bioregulatory molecules recognized as mediators of stress responses.                                                                                                              

Stress responses, mediated by typical stress hormones, like catecholamines, prolactin, Adrenocorticotropic hormone, corticotrophin-releasing hormone, β-endorphins, glucocorticoids, and substanceP, directly and indirectly, may alter hair growth by interacting and disturbing the release of the various neuropeptides.                                    

Also, the hair follicle itself can generate an abundance of stress mediators and expresses cognate receptors and may directly be involved in the modulation of stress responses at the local level, possibly as part of a “skin stress system”.

Hair loss can be from stress, but there are also genetic conditions causing hair loss, how?

There is a condition called androgenic alopecia. It is a genetic condition that can affect both men and women. Men with this condition can begin suffering hair loss in the early 20s. It’s characterized by a receding hairline and gradual disappearance of hair from the crown and frontal scalp.       

Women with this condition don’t experience noticeable thinning until their 40s or later. Women experience a general thinning over the entire scalp, with more hair loss at the vertex.                                                                           

Although researchers suspect that environmental factors interfere with developing this condition and several genes play a significant role as well.There are variations in only one gene, AR, have been confirmed in scientific studies.                                                                  

The AR gene gives orders for making a protein called an androgen receptor. The androgen receptors allow the body to respond correctly to dihydrotestosterone and other androgens. Studies show that variations in the AR gene can lead to an increased activity of androgen receptors in the hair follicles. It continues to be unclear, however, how these genetic changes augment the risk of hair loss in men and women with androgenetic alopecia.                                                                                 

There is another acquired condition called telogen effluvium. It is a kind of temporary hair loss that usually occurs after stressful events. This acquired type of hair loss differs from that genetic type (Androgenic alopecia).                                                                                                                

Telogen effluvium is associated with the third phase of the physiological hair cycle (resting phase).

With telogen effluvium, the anagen (the first) phase slows down, meaning that fewer hairs enter the next two stages (catagen and telogen phases). With this condition, about 30 percent of the hair follicles proceed into the telogen phase, which means that hair shedding occurs.

Prolonged durations of stress can lead to telogen effluvium. Hair loss typically occurs after 3 months of  the stressful event.                                  

If anyone  has telogen effluvium he will notice more hair than usual accumulating on the shower, bathroom floor or on the hairbrush. The scalp hair may look less dense than usual. Often, though, the hair loss is subtle, and other people may not notice anything different about your hair.                                                                                                                           

When hair loss is caused by stress this condition usually is temporary.

If you’ve lost hair as a result of stress or anxiety, there is surely a great chance it will start to grow back once your stress levels are back to normal. 

Try working on reducing your stress levels as well as improving your general health and well being. Any hair lost caused by stress should grow back on its own in a few months.

Stress has been proved to be a major factor in hair loss, especially when it is severe or lasts for a long time.

Hair loss

How do you treat stress-related hair loss?

If you have telogen effluvium and you are losing hair because you’re stressed or anxious, then the first thing to do is to get your stress levels under control. Try to remain patient, your hair should start growing back in a few months.

Some advice for dealing with stress:

  • Sleep enough time (aim for 7-8 hours a day)
  • Drink lots of water and try to eat healthily
  • Exercise regularly
  • Practice yoga, meditation.
  • Talk to someone about your problems (a psychologist or a counselor)
  • Take some time off any stressful work and allow your body to recover if you’ve been through a period of illness or been injured in an accident
  • Use clinically-proven hair growth products, such as the Hair Restoration Laboratories’ Ultra Strength Hair Regrowth Treatment
Ultra Strength Hair Regrowth Treatment

This Treatment contains a multitude of ingredients that have the ability to promote the anagen (growth) phase of the hair loss cycle.  By using the Treatment on a daily basis, you can keep the telogen (shedding) phase of the hair growth/loss cycle at bay and maximize healthy-looking hair. 

Above all, try not to panic. The outlook for telogen effluvium is very good. Most cases run their course within a few months, and the hair usually grows back. This is always a lot easier said than done, but hair loss due to stress is only short-term and can be completely reversible.

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