Is Stress Affecting Your Hair?
Researchers have already proven that stress can be detrimental to our overall health and well-being. A whopping 43% of adults experience health complications associated with stress. This includes high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety and diabetes.
Unfortunately, for many of us, stress has become an unavoidable part of our everyday life. The struggle to balance mounting obligations at the office, while sustaining healthy relationships with our friends and family is enough to make anyone literally pull your hair out.
Today’s blog is dedicated to uncovering the link between stress, hair loss and you. We will cover the three types of stress-related hair loss, along with some quick and easy ways you can restore your hairline.
The facts on stress-related hair loss
Alopecia is the clinical term for hair loss, and it is quite common. In fact, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, it affects around 6.8 million Americans. And 147 million people across the globe. Simply put, if your hairline is vanishing, you aren’t alone.
It is also no secret that American’s are some of the most stressed-out people in the world. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), three out of four adults grapple with the symptoms of stress, like poor sleeping habits, anxiety, fatigue and irritability.
Scientists have identified three types of stress associated with hair loss; telogen effluvium, alopecia areata and trichotillomania.
Our hair grows in phases. Telogen effluvium (TE) occurs during the telogen phase, the three months during our hair cycle when our follicles and scalp rest. If you have TE, you may notice a lot of shedding or patches around the center of the scalp, as opposed to a receding hairline.
The average adult has around 100,000 hair follicles on their scalp. During TE, you still have the same number of follicles, but a portion of them stop growing hair. In more extreme cases, you could start losing eyebrow or pubic hair.
TE is incredibly common; it is the second most common form of hair loss diagnosed by dermatologists. Because TE doesn’t damage your follicles, it is completely reversible. Your hair could regrow within a few months if treated properly.
Even though your immune system is designed to protect you, when you have an autoimmune disease, like alopecia areata (AA), it turns against you. AA causes your immune system to accidentally attack healthy hair follicles, and scientists believe it is also triggered by stress. Over time your follicles become smaller and may even stop growing hair altogether.
Every case is unique. Some people experience coin-sized patches of hair loss. You may notice your hair regrow but then fall out over and over again. Your scalp could go completely bald if you have alopecia totalis, whereas clients with alopecia universalis may lose their eyelashes and eyebrows as well as body hair.
AA is widespread with over six million people being affected. Currently, there isn’t a cure for AA, but there are steps you can take to slow the rate of hair loss.
Have you ever caught yourself playing with your hair while you are bored? Most of the time, it is an utterly innocuous habit. However, if you find yourself actually pulling your hair out, you could have trichotillomania. This is considered a hair pulling disorder where the individual cannot resist pulling out hair on various parts of the body. This could include the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes.
Excessive stress can cause adults to develop trichotillomania. Psychologists believe there is something psychologically relieving about pulling the hair when someone is feeling stressed out. To individuals that suffer from this disorder, it actually feels good and satisfying as they pull out the hairs. If hair is consistently pulled out from the same area, this could cause bald patches or even permanent hair loss.
What can you do?
For many of us, destressing is easier said than done. If you are looking for sustainable results, you will need a multi-pronged approach.
Nutrition plays a key role in hair growth. Finding enough time in the day to make nutritionally dense meals can be a hassle. But, making sure that you are getting the appropriate vitamins and minerals in your everyday diet is key. Since your hair is made of protein, focus on consuming protein dense foods. These consist of nuts, eggs, meats, fish, vegetables, seeds and cheese. You can also get these vitamins and minerals by taking a daily multi-vitamin.
Take time for yourself to relax. Many individuals do not make time for themselves throughout the busy day because it is difficult working around schedules involving work, kids and activities. But yoga and meditation are a perfect way to spend an hour of your day. Collect your thoughts and reflect on how you can improve your quality of life. Even exercising for an hour per day can release stress and tension.
Use an appropriate shampoo with healthy ingredients that will boost your hair growth. Sadly, many shampoos on the market contain harmful ingredients and chemicals that are detrimental to the hair on the scalp. Be cautious of sulfates and parabens, you do not want these in your shampoo! Focus on getting shampoos that contain DHT blocking enzymes to treat hair loss effectively.
Stress can affect your hair and its overall health. It is important to focus on nutrition, physical activity and your shampoo in order to combat hair loss if you are overall a stressed out individual. These three items will help give your hair the best chance to overcome your stress induced hair thinning.