Stress and Hair Loss: Are They Related?

Shocked woman making a face because losing hair on hairbrush isolated on white background

Shocked woman making a face because losing hair on hairbrush isolated on white backgroundWhen you’re stressed out, you may feel like pulling your hair out, but stress may be a major cause of hair loss already. When your hair is thinning, you probably want to know what the reason is so that you can find a hair loss treatment that works for you. In many cases, hair loss is genetic or hereditary. However, there is a wide range of factors which can cause hair loss, and, yes, stress is one of them.While hair loss due to stress can often be temporary, in some cases it can result in permanent hair loss.

Types of Stress-Related Hair Loss

Everyone experiences a certain amount of natural hair loss. On average, we lose close to 100 hairs per day. However, because the average scalp has 100,000 hairs, we don’t notice the minimal everyday hair loss that occurs when we’re showering, combing our hair, or going about our lives.

Each of our hairs has a life span of around 4.5 years. When these hairs eventually reach the end of their life span, they typically grow back within 6 months. This is a healthy and normal process for our hair.

However, when we are stressed out, we can begin to lose more hair than is normal. Hair loss is particularly common following extreme physical or emotional stress, such as in the case of illness or a death in the family. Sometimes its temporary, but other times it can be permanent. There are two main types of hair loss due to stress.

  • Telogen effluvium: With this type of hair loss, excess stress ends up putting your hair into a dormant state, which means that it no longer grows. Eventually, a greater amount of hair begins falling out and is not replaced, thus resulting in thinning hair. While this hair loss is usually temporary, it can take up to ten months to return to normal. Plus, if you continue to be stressed, your hair may also continue to fall out.
  • Alopecia areata: With this type of hair loss, stress triggers your immune system to begin attacking your hair follicles. This results in the loss of hair in patches rather than the overall thinning that would be involved in other hair loss due to stress. While this type of hair loss can be temporary, it can also cause permanent balding if not treated properly.

What To Do About Hair Loss Due to Stress

If you believe that you may have stress-related hair loss, the most important thing is to see a physician or a hair loss specialist. While you may believe that your hair loss is due to stress, a hair loss specialist needs to examine your scalp to determine what the exact cause actually is. In some circumstances, your hair loss could be stress-related and temporary; in other instances, you may need treatment to prevent permanent hair loss. Waiting too long could result in permanent balding.

If your hair loss is due to stress, your main focus should be on reducing your stress. Getting a full night’s sleep daily, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet can all help to promote general well-being and reduce stress and anxiety. Calming practices, such as meditation or deep breathing, can also reduce your level of stress. Taking up hobbies can be a fun break from the stresses of daily life as well. By reducing your stress, you can ensure that your hair stays looking as full and healthy as possible.

The Canadian Institute of Hair and Scalp Specialists is an experienced hair transplant organization located in the heart of Mississauga. We have 20 years of experience in hair transplants, replacements, and hair loss treatment procedures. For more information about hair transplants or any other hair or scalp concern, call us at 905-272-0190.

by Ken Robson

In business since August 1, 1986, I am the president and also a client at The Canadian Institute of Hair & Scalp Specialists. Having worked with a team of Doctors and Chemists over the years I have compiled a great deal of knowledge in this area, originally involved with a Pharmaceutical company manufacturing vitamins for the hair loss industry. Years ago I was fascinated by the new developments in this area as my own hair was beginning to thin. Studying Trichology at the Toronto clinic I then opened my own office and have enjoyed it ever since.