Not only can stress impact our ability to function and handle day-to-day tasks, it can trigger physical reactions such as acne breakouts, brittle nails, and even hair loss.
Keeping up with the demands of work, home, and family are certainly contributing factors, or at least can be. Add in illness or a traumatic experience and you have a potential recipe for disaster.
Here are some specifics on the cause-and-effect relationship between stress and hair loss.
Stress-Induced Hair Loss
Hair loss caused by emotional and physical stress is called telogen effluvium and typically occurs within the first three months of a stressful emotional or physical event. Large stress levels can push hair follicles into a resting period, causing hair to shed. A normal life cycle of the hair follicle includes growth, transition, rest, and falling out of the hair shaft. However, stress disrupts that cycle and shifts a percentage of hairs into the rest stage, which can cause the appearance of thinning in certain areas of the scalp.
The good news? Telogen effluvium doesn’t necessarily lead to permanent hair loss or baldness. In fact, the hair loss associated with stress is often a sign that new hair is growing at the base of the lost hair and you should start to notice new growth in three to six months.
When to Be Concerned
On average, adults shed between 50 to 100 hairs a day. That might seem like a lot, but when compared to the roughly 150,000 hairs on your head, it’s quite insignificant. However, if you notice an unusual number of strands falling out when you comb or wash your hair – or experience reduced thickness in a localized area or throughout the scalp – see a doctor.
What You Can Do
Certain lifestyle changes can help reduce stress, thereby reducing hair loss. To point yourself in the right direction, be sure to get enough sleep, exercise regularly, carve out time to enjoy hobbies and activities that soothe and relax you, and adhere to a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals. If constant stress is negatively impacting your daily life, consider discussing your mental health with your doctor or seek therapy.
A healthy life – not just a full head of hear – is enhanced when stress is managed and prevented from getting out of control. If, however, you’ve already lost more hair than you’re comfortable with, contact DiStefano Hair Restoration Center for a free hair loss evaluation.