Have you noticed that there are more hairs on your brush, pillow, or around your shower drain than usual? It’s never fun to deal with hair loss, especially when you don’t know what’s causing it.
The majority of male hair loss is caused by androgenic alopecia, often known as male pattern baldness, which is a kind of hair loss caused by a genetic susceptibility to DHT.
However, there are a variety of other conditions that can cause or contribute to hair loss.
Emotional stress is one of these variables. If you’re stressed out about job, your personal life, or anything else, it’s possible that your stress is causing modest hair thinning or major hair loss.
We’ve outlined how and why stress can lead to hair loss in the sections below. We’ve also looked at a number of therapy alternatives that may be able to help you regenerate whatever hair you’ve lost as a result of stress.
The Basics of Stress and Hair Loss
Male pattern baldness, which causes you to permanently lose hair around your hairline, temples, and crown of your scalp, is not linked to stress, contrary to popular opinion.
Stress, on the other hand, can cause and worsen telogen effluvium, a type of temporary hair loss.
Telogen effluvium is a condition that damages your hair by disrupting the regular growth cycle.
During the hair cycle, as it grows from beneath the skin to full length and then falls out to be replaced by a new hair, there are four major growth phases:
The anagen phase is the first, and it is during this phase that the hair reaches its full length.
The old, fully formed hair follicle detaches from the skin during the catagen phase, the second phase.
The telogen phase, also known as the resting phase, is the third phase, during which a new hair grows from the follicle to replace the old one.
The exogen phase is the fourth and final phase, during which the old hair falls out and new hair grows in its place.
Your hair, like your skin and nails, goes through a continuous growth cycle. In this guide to the hair development process, we go over each phase of the hair growth cycle in greater depth.
The length of each phase of the hair growth cycle varies. Hairs can remain in the anagen phase for up to six years, during which time they will reach their full length.
At any given time, around 90% of your hairs are in the anagen phase, which means that the majority of your hair is constantly growing.
In the telogen phase, telogen effluvium attacks your hair follicles. At any given time, roughly five percent to ten percent of your hairs are in the telogen phase.
With telogen effluvium, up to 30% of your hair might enter the telogen phase at once, resulting in hair loss.
Common Symptoms of Stress-Related Hair Loss
If you’re experiencing hair loss due to stress, you’ll usually notice the classic symptoms of hair loss:
- Extra hairs on your pillowcase and bedding
- More stray hairs on your shower or bathroom floor
- Lots of stray hairs in your shower drain catch
- Less density and a thin look to your hair, especially under bright light
Hair loss is often subtle, meaning you might not notice it day to day until you look at yourself in a mirror or see your hair in a photograph.
If you’re worried that you might have hair loss due to stress, it may help to take regular photos of your hair to track any changes in thickness over time.
You can also try counting the hairs that you lose. It’s normal to lose about 100 hairs per day. If you have telogen effluvium, you may lose an average of about 300, making it easy to detect a change in your hair shedding.
Types of stress-related hair loss
Stress isn’t the only cause of hair loss. High stress levels are linked to three different types of hair loss:
- Telogen Effluvium
When the number of hair follicles that are actively generating hair decreases, telogen effluvium (TE) occurs. This alteration can cause shedding if it occurs during the telogen – or resting – phase of hair development.
This thinning may not be uniform throughout the head. Patches of it are common, especially in the centre of the scalp. The majority of people with TE do not lose all of their scalp hair.
You may notice thinning hair on other places of your body in more severe situations. This encompasses the brows as well as the genital region.
Dermatologists may regard TE as the second most prevalent kind of hair loss. It can strike men and women of all ages.
The hair loss caused by TE is completely reversible. The hair follicles are not permanently damaged by TE. Whether your hair regrows in a few months or takes longer depends on the source of your TE.
Telogen effluvium can potentially be caused by physiological and psychological stress. Some of the common causes of telogen effluvium include:
- Severe psychological stress, such as stress caused by an overly demanding job, family difficulties, the loss of a loved one or other stressful, traumatic events.
- Physical trauma, such as injuries from an accident, sports injuries, concussions, deep cuts or broken bones. Telogen effluvium can also occur after surgery.
- Infections, fever, illnesses and nutritional deficiencies such as iron deficiency.
- Sudden changes in hormone production and hormone levels.
- Sudden changes in diet and/or extreme caloric restriction caused by crash dieting, as well as extreme weight loss.
- Thyroid conditions, including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, as well as certain autoimmune diseases.
Medications, including certain anticoagulants and anti-hypertensive drugs.
- Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss. When your immune system destroys your hair follicles, it causes a condition known as alopecia. This can be brought on by stress and lead to hair loss.
Hair loss can occur in circular spots on the scalp or all over the scalp. Alopecia universalis, a more severe form of AA, causes hair loss all over the body.
Hair may come back and fall out several times over the course of a few months. Over six million people in the United States suffer with AA, which can affect men and women of any age.
There is no known treatment for AA, while some prescription drugs may aid those who have lost more than 50% of their hair.
Hair pulling disorder is also known as trichotillomania. It is characterised by the desire to remove hair from your scalp or other regions of your body. It’s classified as an impulsive behaviour disorder.
You may notice that you pull your hair without thinking about it, such as when you’re bored or distracted. Hair pulling can also be done for a more deliberate reason, such as to release tension or other negative feelings.
Pulling of hair from the scalp, brows, and eyelashes is common. This could lead to more stress, prolonging the disorder’s cycle.
Trichotillomania is a condition that most commonly affects preteens and can last a lifetime. Although the cause of trichotillomania is unknown, evidence suggests that it may be inherited.
Is stress-related hair loss permanent?
If stress is the source of your hair loss, it is conceivable that your hair will regrow over time. Everyone’s rate of regrowth will be different.
A four-phase cycle governs human hair growth.
There are around 100,000 hair follicles on the average human scalp. Each of your hair follicles is in a distinct phase of this cycle at any one time:
- Phase of Anagen. This is when your hair is in the process of growing. It might last anywhere from two to seven years.
- Catagen is a stage in the development of a cell. When the hair follicle begins to shrink, the hair follicle goes through a two-week phase.
- The Telogen stage is when a person is in the process of This is a three-month hiatus period.
- Phase of Exogen. The follicle sheds the hair and begins new growth during this phase.
If stress is the cause of your hair loss, reducing your stress may be the key to resuming a healthy rate of hair growth.
Hair Loss From Stress vs. Male Pattern Baldness
There are several major differences between telogen effluvium (hair loss potentially triggered by stress) and hair loss from male pattern baldness:
First, hair loss from male pattern baldness is typically permanent. In contrast, almost all of the hair you lose from telogen effluvium will grow back, provided the primary cause of the telogen effluvium is treated.
Second, hair loss from male pattern baldness looks different from hair loss that’s triggered by stress. Male pattern baldness typically causes a receding hairline, balding on the crown or other baldness patterns. Telogen effluvium causes diffuse thinning on the entire scalp.
Third, telogen effluvium is not related to androgen hormones such as DHT. This means that some treatments for male pattern baldness, such as finasteride, aren’t effective as treatments for stress-related hair loss.
Fifth, If your hair loss is caused by stress, you may also lose body hair. Telogen effluvium hair loss – the type of hair loss linked to stress – typically affects your scalp and may appear as patchy hair loss. However, it can also cause you to shed more body hair or notice less hair on your body than you normally would.
If you’re starting to lose your hair and aren’t sure whether it’s caused by stress or male pattern baldness, it’s best to talk to a healthcare professional.
Most dermatologists can diagnose telogen effluvium using one or several tests, including a hair pull test.
What you can do to help
There are several things you may do to slow down hair loss and promote new growth.
- Nutrition and diet
For the health of your body – and your hair – you need to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet rich in whole foods.
While it’s crucial to have all of the essential vitamins in your diet, there are a few that are particularly critical for hair growth:
- Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant.This vitamin is necessary for the formation of collagen, which is present in hair follicles and is the skin’s connective tissue. Citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, and strawberries are all high in vitamin C.
- Vitamin B is a water-soluble vitamin. This multivitamin complex supports a healthy metabolism, as well as skin and hair health. Dark leafy greens, legumes, almonds, and avocados are all high in B vitamins.
- Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant.This vitamin is high in antioxidants, which might help to maintain a healthy scalp. Sunflower seeds, spinach, olive oil, broccoli, and shrimp are all high in vitamin E.
Consult your doctor about supplementation if you aren’t receiving enough of these nutrients in your diet. They can go over your options with you and suggest the optimal dosage for you. Without your doctor’s permission, you should never add nutritional supplements to your daily regimen.
Maintaining appropriate hydration is also important for general wellness. Water is required for the healthy functioning of every cell in your body.
Men should drink 15 1/2 glasses of water each day, while women should drink 11 1/2 cups. Food, water, and other beverages can all contribute to this total. Drinking 8 glasses of water each day is a sensible target, with the balance coming from your diet and other beverages.
2. Stress Reduction/Management
Learning to successfully manage your stress levels will help you lower your chance of hair loss in the future. Of course, saying it is often simpler than doing it.
It’s possible that you’ll have to try a few different stress-reduction tactics before you find one that works for you.
Popular stress-relieving techniques include:
- Exercise. Exercising is an excellent approach to relieve stress. Consider going for a daily walk, enrolling in a dance class, or doing some yard work.
- Hobbies. Keeping yourself occupied with something you enjoy might be a terrific approach to relieve stress. Volunteering, joining a neighbourhood theatrical group, planting a garden, or starting an art project are all options.
- Writing. Try writing about your feelings and the things that stress you out for a few minutes each day. Examining the daily events that cause you stress can help you figure out how to deal with it.
- Meditation and breathing. Meditation and breathing techniques are excellent tools for focusing on the present moment. You could also want to try yoga or tai chi, which mix meditation with physical activity.
Treatments that are applied topically
A variety of topical lotions, oils, and other products are available to help with hair loss.
- Minoxidil Topical (Rogaine). Topical minoxidil is a drug that can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC). It comes in the form of a cream, a spray, or a foam. You can use it up to twice a day on your scalp, brows, and beard. It’s not suitable for use on other sections of the body. There are male and female-specific formulations available. Although the mechanism of action of minoxidil is unknown, it is expected to prolong the development phase. It is possible that it will not work for everyone, and results could take up to four months to appear.
- Topical corticosteroids are a type of corticosteroid that is applied to the skin Alopecia areata is sometimes treated with topical OTC and prescription corticosteroids, such as prednisone. They’re frequently utilised in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches.
- Castor oil is a type of vegetable oil that comes from the cast This is a well-known folk treatment for regrowing hair. Although anecdotal information shows that topical use can promote hair growth, there is little study to back this up. a reliable source
What if you don’t see any progress?
It’s likely that your hair loss has nothing to do with stress. There are a variety of events and diseases that can lead to hair loss.
Hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
ageing genetics drugs, such as antidepressants or blood thinners chemotherapy sickness or recent surgery hormonal changes, such as delivery or menopause dietary insufficiency, such as a lack of sufficient protein or iron.
The Final Word on Stress Hair Loss
It’s normal to experience some level of stress in life. An occasional stressful day or a bad week might make you feel unhappy, but it generally won’t have any effect on your hairline.
However, chronic stress or severe stress caused by physiological or psychological trauma may cause you to temporarily lose some or all of your hair.
If this happens to you, the best approach is to talk to your healthcare provider and treat the underlying cause of the stress. Over time, it’s normal for hair loss from stress to grow back naturally. If you’re noticing your stress causes chronic hair loss, hair loss treatments such as minoxidil may be helpful.