High stress levels have become a common feature of everyday life for many of us, affecting both our physical and mental health.
One possible side-effect of stressful events or periods is hair loss.
Stress-related hair loss is called telogen effluvium. It normally occurs two/three months after the period of intense stress. This timescale is due to the way stress affects the hair follicles and the life cycle of individual hairs:
Up to 90% of healthy hair is in the anagen phase at any one time. The remaining hair is either in transition, or in a resting or shedding phase.
But when you’re stressed, 70% of your anagen hairs can prematurely enter the telogen phase . That means you can see widespread hair loss over the entire scalp, rather than in localised areas (which is more typical of male androgenetic alopecia — AKA male pattern baldness).
Stress- or anxiety-related hair loss is usually identified by increased hair fall in the shower or when brushing your hair.
While it can add to your stresses, it’s important to note that this type of hair loss is usually temporary. It can be treated or reversed by certain regrowth practices, as well as by reducing the source of stress. Find out how to regain hair loss from stress.
How to regain hair loss from stress
Keeping physically fit and well is beneficial for the overall health that supports healthy hair. So finding a form of exercise you enjoy and do regularly will help your hair regrowth as well as boosting the strength and condition of your hair in the future.
Certain exercises are particularly helpful in encouraging hair growth. For example, some yoga poses are known to be beneficial for increasing blood circulation to the scalp which can stimulate hair growth . Inversion exercises (where you tip your head upside down) are popular, though there’s little evidence that they can improve hair health.
Shampoo & haircare products
Specialist shampoos, conditioners, treatments and products can thicken hair or encourage faster, stronger regrowth. These often have active ingredients ranging from caffeine for hair loss, to chemically-produced formulas like Minoxidil. You may also want to consider hair thickening shampoo or hair thickening spray.
Massaging the scalp stimulates blood flow and can improve the health of hair follicles [2-3]. This can be done regularly by yourself, by gently massaging your scalp in small, circular movements, or you can visit a specialist provider such as Indian Head Massage therapists. Hairdressers are also increasingly offering this service.
Vitamins & supplements
The condition of your hair and the rate of regrowth is greatly influenced by your overall health, so improving your general nutrition will positively affect your hair. If you have a vitamin deficiency, vitamins for hair growth can improve the health of your hair. However, if your nutrient levels are normal, it’s unlikely that supplements will help. Instead, make sure you’re eating a balanced diet and avoiding fads like low-carb diets which can increase hair loss.
How to reduce stress to promote hair growth
As well as taking the best possible care of your hair, reducing your general stress levels can boost the condition and growth of your hair. It can also help to prevent stress-related hair loss in the future.
Some popular and effective ways to reduce general stress are:
- Spend time in nature
- Discuss your emotions with a trusted person
- Take up a hobby you enjoy
- Explore meditative practices such as yoga, mindfulness or Tai Chi
- Relaxing self-care habits such as scented baths
- Reducing screen time and the number of electronic devices in your home, especially your bedroom
- Playing a musical instrument or pursuing a creative outlet such as painting or writing
- Joining a club or sports team.
Learning how to manage stress is a powerful wellness strategy for all aspects of your health and wellbeing. But it can be particularly effective in supporting healthy hair growth.
With careful attention, the effects of stress-related hair loss can be minimised or even reversed. And by reducing the levels of stress in your life, you’ll support your body in its natural processes of repair and regeneration, helping your hair to recover from stress-damage, as well as preventing it from happening again.
What if your hair loss is caused by something else?
The potential causes of hair loss are extensive. Genetics, hormones, autoimmune diseases, trauma, surgery, menopause, and eating unhealthy foods can all contribute to hair loss. If you’re not sure what’s causing your hair to shed, it’s important to get a diagnosis. Hair loss can mask underlying conditions, so it’s essential to speak to a professional.
Speak to your doctor or a hair loss specialist at a UK hair transplant clinic to get a diagnosis and find out how to treat your hair loss quickly for the best results.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.
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