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  5. Hair Fall Due To Stress: The Connection, Types, Symptoms & Solutions

Have you ever noticed excess hair in your comb or shower drains during a stressful period? If you thought that was just coincidence, let's tell you that stress related hair loss is real!

Millions of women deal with hair loss due to stress on an everyday basis. The condition can be reversed once the triggers for stress are managed. In this blogpost, we shed light on the symptoms, causes and treatments for hair loss caused by stress.

Can Stress Cause Hair Loss And How Are They Linked?

Yes. Stress can cause hair loss from the scalp. Physical or emotional stress, illness, injury and surgery are all linked to hair fall.

Stress can have a direct or indirect impact on your hair follicles [1] and lead to hair loss. Sometimes, you may notice hair fall 6-12 weeks after a stressful event.

1. Telogen Effluvium

In Telogen effluvium [2], many hair follicles enter the resting phase or telogen phase due to stress or trauma. At any given time, about 5-10 % of hair is in resting phase. But with telogen effluvium, this percentage exceeds and there is loss of more than 100 strands every day.

2. Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania [3], hair pulling disorder is caused due to extreme stress, anxiety, depression, boredom or frustration. A person with this condition pulls out hair from the scalp, eyebrows and lashes. What follows is thinning hair on the scalp.

3. Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata [4] is characterized by bald patches of hair on the scalp, which may be caused due to stress. This is an autoimmune disorder meaning the body’s immune system attacks its own hair follicles.

How Do I Know If My Hair Is Falling Out Due To Stress?

More than 100 strands of hair clogging your shower drain or on the hair brush is a sure shot sign of hair loss. In telogen effluvium, you will notice hair thinning on the scalp. With alopecia, you may notice bald patches of hair on the scalp. With Trichotillomania, which causes constant pulling of hair, you may notice that your hair volume has reduced over time.

How To Control Hair Fall Due To Stress?

1. Topical Treatments

Minoxidil or rogaine [5] is an over-the-counter (OTC) drug that is available in the form of sprays, creams or foams. It functions by prolonging the growth phase of your hair.

Note:

Some minoxidil topical treatments are formulated for women while some for men. Check the label or talk to the pharmacist before you purchase one. Start with a low concentration (2% for women and 5% for men) and talk to your doctor for further changes, if required.

Topical corticosteroids [6], both OTC and prescription strength, also work for hair loss induced by stress.

Castor oil, an effective home remedy for hair loss is widely used among many men and women. However, the exact function of castor oil in hair loss does not hold any scientific evidence.

2. Stress Management

A. Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation and breathing exercises help reduce and manage stress levels.

B. Exercise

Exercise releases good chemicals in the body that help in managing stress. Healthy body and calm mind can reverse hair loss caused due to stress.

C. Positive Thinking

Having a positive outlook towards life can help deal with stress effectively. Surround yourself with positive people and positive thoughts at all times.

D. Consult A Therapist

You can talk to your therapist about other effective methods to reduce and prevent stress.

3. Diet

When you are stressed, you tend to skip balanced meals, thereby depriving your hair of the essential nutrients. Nutritional deficiencies can lead to hair loss [7].

Getting back to balanced diets containing vitamin A, E, B, K, zinc, iron and protein can help regrow hair lost due to stress.

4. Adopt Hair Care Routine

A good hair care routine can improve hair growth. Wash your hair thoroughly with a gentle shampoo and condition to add a protective layer to the hair cuticle [8]. If you use heat styling tools, use a heat protectant spray containing hydrating ingredients like shea butter or green tea.

Hair Loss Due To Stress - Will It Grow Back?

Hair loss related to stress is temporary. Hair can grow back once the stress levels are brought back to normal and with the right treatments as mentioned above.

No, stress related hair loss is not permanent. All the above treatments can help restore hair growth over time.

How Much Time Does It Take For Hair To Fall Out After Stress?

Hair loss due to stress typically occurs three months after a stressful incident. It may take several weeks to a few months to grow back hair after a traumatic or stressful event.

Does Stress Increase DHT?

Stress causes the increase of androgens (male hormones) thereby, increasing the secretion of hair-loss related chemical called DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) [9].

Wrapping Up

Hair loss related to stress usually falls in the categories of telogen effluvium, trichotillomania and alopecia. Topical medications, good diet, stress management and a good hair care routine restores hair loss caused due to stress.

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