How Extreme Stress Causes Hair Loss
As a human, you will experience stress at some stage in your life. When you are dealing with difficult situations, such as disciplining your children, being busy at work, handling your money, or being in a difficult relationship, you may experience signs of stress. The world is full of stress. And although some levels of stress are healthy, extreme stress may cause mental and physical illness, as well as wear you out physically.
Stress can sometimes cause a physiological reaction or symptoms. Your eczema, acne, or dandruff may become more severe. Stress may also cause a person to lose their hair, which is another typical adverse effect.
Your body suffers from stress-related hair loss when it is exposed to such high amounts of stress that it causes your hair to fall out at a quicker rate than it normally would. There are times when you're under such a great deal of pressure that you really start to pull out your hair. This behavior is known as trichotillomania, which simply means pulling out one's hair.
Hair growth occurs in three phases. During the phase known as anagen, individual strands of hair break through the surface of the skin. During catagen (catagen), follicles at the base of hair strands diminish, resulting in hair loss. During the phase known as telogen, the hair falls out, allowing the cycle to start again.
Stem cells, which are found inside the hair follicle, are the cells primarily responsible for controlling hair growth. Hair regrowth occurs when stem cells divide into new hair follicles. During the phase in which they are not actively dividing, the stem cells remain dormant. Until recently, researchers didn't know exactly how extreme stress hurt hair follicles.
What Is Stress?
Stress is the way the body responds to tough situations, whether they are genuine or just out of imagination. A chemical response takes place in your body when you perceive that you might be in danger. This reaction gives you the ability to respond in a manner that protects you from being hurt. This response is also known as the stress response or the "fight-or-flight" response.
The stress reaction causes a person's heart rate to speed up, their respiration to accelerate, their muscles to tense, and their blood pressure to rise. You are now prepared to take action. It is your primary means of self-defense.
Everyone has their unique interpretation of what stress means to them. One person's source of anxiety may not even register on another's radar as a problem at all. Some individuals are better equipped to manage stress than others. And keep in mind that not all forms of stress are bad for your health.
Stress may be beneficial if it's managed properly and used to keep you from hurting yourself or failing to complete tasks. For instance, you could hit the brakes in response to stress in order to prevent yourself from colliding with the automobile next to you.
Our physical selves are equipped to deal with moderate amounts of stress. However, we are not prepared to deal with long-term, extreme stress without suffering its negative effects.
How Extreme Stress Causes Hair Loss
Hair loss is most often caused by genetic and hormonal causes, such as a susceptibility to DHT. In some situations, external causes such as stress may cause hair loss in the hairline, resulting in anything from thinning to complete hair loss.
The normal growth cycle of your hair may be disrupted if you are stressed, which may lead to a condition known as telogen effluvium, which is a kind of hair loss.
Like your nails and skin, your hair doesn't develop in one stage. Instead, every single hair goes through a multi-step process known as the growth cycle, which begins when it emerges from its follicle and continues until it reaches its full length, at which point it falls out and the process begins again.
The first stage, known as the anagen phase, is when your hair begins to grow out from the hair follicle; your hair will grow approximately six inches per year during this period. Before reaching its maximum length, each strand of hair will have continued to grow for anywhere between two and six years.
The catagen phase of the hair growth cycle begins after the hair has reached its full length. During this stage, the hair follicle will begin to contract in size. The individual strand of hair separates from the hair follicle and its growth comes to an end. Because it is no longer linked to the follicle, your body will no longer provide the hair with the nutrients it needs to grow.
After a transition period of around 2 weeks, the hair will move out of the catagen stage into the telogen phase. At this moment, new hair will begin to develop from the follicle, and as a result, the old hair strand will separate from your body and fall out. This process is called "shedding."
10-15% of your hairs are usually in the telogen stage at any given time. Telogen hairs are swiftly replaced with new hair follicles when the hair development cycle is regular and healthy, which helps you keep a full head of healthy hair.
When you are under extreme stress, your body may force a greater number of hairs than usual into the last phase (telogen phase) of the hair cycle for a longer period. The hairs normally fall out when they ultimately re-enter the hair growth phase, which may cause a significant amount of hair loss very quickly.
This implies that your hair may begin to shed rather fast after a stressful incident, leaving you with obvious thin patches as well as fewer hairs that are actively growing once the stress has passed.
Stressful events like the loss of a loved one, the end of an important relationship, or a big personal setback may lead to telogen effluvium. It is also possible for it to develop gradually as a consequence of prolonged, chronic stress, which may be brought on by things like demanding, high-pressure work or a stressful living situation.
Stress-related behaviors, including crash dieting, may worsen telogen effluvium and, as a result, accelerate hair loss.
Symptoms of Telogen Effluvium
- Sudden Hair Loss
A condition known as telogen effluvium is defined by the sudden beginning of hair loss, but there is a twist. In most cases, hair loss does not occur until 3 months after the trigger event has taken place. Why? After prematurely entering the telogen phase, follicles require roughly three months to complete their cycle and lose their hair. In addition to stress, drugs, severe sickness, and childbirth may also cause telogen effluvium.
- Hair Thinning
People who are going through telogen effluvium could find that their ponytail is becoming thinner, or that there is a sudden rise in the number of shed hair strands on their pillowcase, in the shower, or anywhere in the home.
A typical person sheds between 100 and 200 hairs every day, though this number varies depending on the individual and their hair care habits. Despite the fact that a telogen effluvium may cause the loss of up to 50% of the scalp's hair, this ailment does not result in total baldness.
However, the good news is that the hair loss is just temporary, and eventually, your head should recover to the density it had before the effluvium, although this process may be somewhat gradual. It may take months, but in most cases, less than six months, for the shedding to stop. After that, it may take months or even years for the lost hair to come back at the slow pace of half an inch per month.
In some situations, the density of the hair does not completely return to its usual level. To begin with, telogen effluvium has the potential to reveal other types of persistent hair loss. In certain people, often women between the ages of 30 and 60, telogen effluvium may become a chronic condition that continues for a number of years. In addition, it is normal for total hair density to gradually decline with age.
Stress Relief Tactics
You can't get away from stress completely, but you can prevent it from taking over your life by using the following tactics regularly:
- When you feel the signs of stress coming on, you should work out. A simple walk, even only a few minutes long, may do wonders for your mood.
- After each day, reflect mostly on your achievements, rather than your failures.
- Set daily, weekly, and monthly goals for yourself. By narrowing your view, you'll feel more in charge of the tasks you have to do right now and in the future.
- Consult a therapist or doctor about your problems.
How Can Stress Be Avoided?
There are many things you can do every day to avoid stress:
•Meditation, breathing techniques, tai chi, yoga, and muscular relaxation may all help you relax. You can find fitness programs in several gyms, as well as community centers. Usually, you can access these programs online, via smartphone, or in person.
•Every day, make sure you're taking excellent care of yourself. Your body will be able to deal with stress far more effectively if you eat well, exercise regularly, and get adequate sleep.
•Maintain a happy attitude and make it a habit to practice thankfulness by giving thanks for the things that have gone well in your day or your life.
Accept the fact that you can't control everything. Find strategies to stop worrying about things you can't control and you'll feel much better.
•When you are already overextended or under a great deal of stress, it is important to learn how to politely decline extra tasks.
•Maintain your connections with the people who can help you remain calm and cheerful, give you emotional support, and assist you with tasks that need to be done. If eventually things get overwhelming, you may seek support from family members, friends, or neighbors.
• Another simple stress-reduction technique is to distract yourself from the problem by using one or all of your senses—sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste, or movement. The important thing is to zero in on the kinds of sensory input that are most beneficial to you.
Do you find that it helps you relax when you listen to an upbeat song? Or the aroma of freshly ground coffee? Or is it possible that touching an animal might rapidly help you feel more grounded and centered? Everyone reacts differently to sensory stimulation, so determine what works for you.
• Fatigue causes you to be unreasonable, which adds to your stress. However, extreme stress may make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. A better night's sleep may help you be more productive as well as emotionally balanced by reducing stress and increasing your ability to fall asleep and remain asleep throughout the night.
Sadly, there is no effective way of stopping an incident of telogen effluvium, but it should go away on its own over time.
On the other hand, several substances could be able to help maintain the general health of your hair. Consume an appropriate quantity of protein (0.8 g per kilogram per day) as part of a healthy diet and be sure to eat a well-balanced diet overall.
It should come as no surprise, given that the primary component of hair is a protein (keratin), that consuming an adequate amount of protein is necessary for the maintenance and growth of hair.
Another way to ensure that your hair is getting all the proper nutrients and vitamins it needs to grow is to take a hair-specific multi-vitamin like Hairfinity Healthy Hair Vitamins. Formulated with our exclusive Capilsana Complex® blend, Hairfinity Healthy Hair Vitamins specifically targets your hair, with mega doses of the nutrients we know hair needs. The result is a beautiful head of hair that you can be proud of. Don't like swallowing pills? Try Hairfinity Candilocks Chewable Hair Vitamins instead!
Also, be sure to steer clear of hairstyles that are very constricting, those that require an excessive amount of heat, and those that rely on chemical treatments, since all of these things may cause hair breakage or lead to hair loss.
Taking care of your mental health and developing healthy coping mechanisms, such as meditation, can also be beneficial in mitigating the negative effects of a stressful situation.
Consult a dermatologist for medical help if your hair loss is persistent, spotty, or accompanied by redness, irritation, or discomfort.