Does stress cause hair loss, or is something else to blame? We look at possible reasons why your hair is thinning or falling out, and what you can do about it.
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Why Does Hair Fall Out?
If your hair seems to get thinner each passing day, don’t fret. It’s normal for hair to fall out.
Like skin cells, hair isn’t meant to be permanent and has a growth cycle. In other words, after a certain amount of time, each strand of hair will fall out.
It takes roughly 4.5 years for a strand of hair to reach the end of its lifespan. Once it reaches this point, it falls out, and a new hair replaces it within six months.
We don’t always notice hair falling out because we lose about 100 hairs a day. We do, however, take note when more hair falls out at the same time.
When this happens, it’s most likely due to other factors, including:
- Hormonal fluctuations
Aging is the most common reason for thinning hair. It causes hair loss on two levels. First, hair fibers become thinner and fall out. Additionally, hair doesn’t regenerate at the same rate as in younger years.
In general, aging causes receding hairlines and pattern baldness.
Unfortunately, age-related hair loss is genetic and starts, more or less, at the age of 30. It also affects men more than women.
Though some hair loss is natural, losing an abnormal amount isn’t. If your hair falls out in patches, or you’re concerned by the amount of hair falling out, speak to your doctor.
Sudden or patchy hair loss may point to an underlying medical condition that requires treatment.
Why Does Stress Cause Hair Loss?
After a stressful period, you might notice your hair falling out. Excessive stress, whether emotional or physical, can result in hair loss.
There are three distinct types of stress hair loss: alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, and trichotillomania.
Telogen effluvium is the most common of the three. It’s also a less severe type. Because it takes a while for hair to fall out, it’s often hard to link this type of hair loss to stress.
With this type of hair loss, stress forces a large number of hair follicles into a resting phase. During this phase, hair stops growing but only falls out two or three months later. What’s more, it can take up to nine months to grow back.
Alopecia areata is a condition where the immune system attacks hair follicles, causing hair to fall out.
Patches of hair may fall out within a short amount of time, and it doesn’t necessarily regrow without treatment. Furthermore, it not only affects your scalp. Hair may also fall out all over your body.
The final type of stress-induced hair loss is trichotillomania. Someone with this condition has an uncontrollable urge to pull out hair.
Sufferers don’t always realize that they’re pulling out their hair. For most, it’s a way to deal with negative emotions, such as frustration, boredom, or stress.
Not only does stress cause hair loss, but it may also result in a cycle that’s difficult to break. Stress causes hair to fall out, which, in turn, causes more stress.
Unlike genetic or age-related balding, stress hair loss isn’t permanent.
Hair Loss Treatments
To a certain degree, hair loss is inevitable. However, there are treatments available to slow down hair loss and stimulate regrowth. After establishing the cause of hair loss, your doctor can provide treatment options.
Hair Peptide Therapy
One of the most effective treatments is peptide therapy. More specifically, a topical scalp treatment called PTD-DBM.
When specific proteins bind, it prevents follicles from developing and stops hair growth. PTD-DBM inhibits the binding process, which prevents hair from falling out and stimulates follicles to regenerate.
Some evidence suggests dietary changes may help with hair loss. According to one study, protein may prevent hair loss. Another study found a diet rich in vegetables and herbs may reduce the risk of hair loss.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins A, B, C, D, iron, selenium, and zinc play a significant role in hair growth and retention. If your diet lacks any of these nutrients, a multivitamin may be helpful.
In some cases, your doctor may suggest IV vitamin therapy to improve the absorption of nutrients.
As stress is a contributing factor to hair loss, relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation, may help in the long run.
Styling and hair products can result in some hair loss. So, avoid harsh chemicals that dry out your scalp and hair.
Braiding your hair, as well as, heat styling may lead to excessive shedding. Try to be more gentle when styling your hair and avoid wearing your hair in tight ponytails and braids for extended periods.
So, to summarise, does stress cause hair loss? Yes, it does, but thankfully it’s not permanent. Furthermore, some hair loss is natural, but abnormal hair loss may have an underlying cause like aging, illness, or malnutrition. Lastly, speak to your doctor if your hair loss is causing you concern. Some treatments may stop hair loss and help you regain your confidence.
If you suffer from hair loss or want to optimize your health, contact us today to book your consultation! We can help you work towards your unique version of resilience and wellbeing. We are located in Central Florida and have offices in Daytona, Orlando, Fruitland Park, and Ocala. We are eager to help you get optimized.