Stress is part of our everyday lives. Traffic jams, bills, chauffeuring the kids, impressing a client, the list goes on and on. Day-to-day stress may make you feel like you’re losing your mind, but can it cause you to lose your hair?
The answer is that certain types of stress can cause hair loss. While being late for work or getting a speeding ticket will not result in your hair falling out the next day, hair loss is related to prolonged stress that results in physiological changes. Here are some facts you should know.
There are three types of hair loss experts say may be associated with high stress levels:
Telogen effluvium (TE) is a common reason for hair loss. This condition occurs when significant stress or a shock to the body pushes large numbers of hair follicles into the a resting phase of growth. Within a few months of the stressful or shocking event, the impacted hairs may fall out suddenly when simply combing or washing your hair. The main reasons for telogen effluvium include:
Women may experience TE due to the sudden changes in hormones after giving birth. There may be some shedding, but hair loss is typically short lived and most women will see their hair grow back to its normal fullness in a few months. This is also commonly referred to as postpartum alopecia.
A lack of certain nutrients and minerals can cause TE. Crash diets and significant weight loss or gain can shock the body, resulting in hair loss. Iron, zinc, amino acids, and vitamins B6 and B12 are all essential to healthy hair growth.
Chronic Stress or Illness
If you’re dealing with habitual external stressors or if you’re suffering from a chronic illness, the result may be TE. Many dermatologists believe chronic stress has a negative impact on hair follicles and can lead to persistent TE. Similarly, not only the stress of having a chronic illness, but the medications used to treat chronic illness can cause hair loss, including some antidepressants.
Sudden Shock or Trauma
A car accident, a surgical procedure, or even receiving a vaccination can be a shock to your system. For a short time, these traumas may increase the number of your hair follicles in the resting phase, leading to sudden hair loss a few months after the initial event.
Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder that drives individuals to pull hair from their scalp, eyebrows and other areas of the body. Hair pulling can be a way of dealing with negative or uncomfortable feelings, such as stress, tension, loneliness, boredom, or frustration. If left untreated, bald patches can develop over time.
A variety of factors are thought to cause alopecia areata (AA). Some dermatologists believe severe stress might trigger AA in some people. With alopecia areata, the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles, often causing hair loss from the scalp in patchy round circles. The hair loss may begin in childhood, but can affect a person of any age. The good news is that unlike other autoimmune conditions, alopecia areata does not destroy hair follicles so hair can regrow if the inflammation diminishes.
In many cases, hair loss due to stress is not permanent. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns. Remember to eat a hair-healthy diet and care for your hair with sulfate- and paraben-free cleansers and conditioners while you are waiting for your locks to recover.
If you’re looking for a solution to your hair loss, no matter the cause, Hair Club can help. We’ve been North America’s leading hair restoration company for over 40 years. Schedule a free hair analysis to see which of our proven hair loss solutions is right for you.
For informational purposes only. The exact cause of hair loss can only be determined by a medical professional.