Stress & Hair Loss

woman looking closely at her natural hair The daily grind of life. It’s not uncommon to have days when stress makes us feel like pulling our hair out, but can stress actually cause hair loss?

Medical experts say yes and cite extreme stress as the cause of two different forms of hair loss: telogen effluvium and alopecia areata.  To understand how stress can affect your hair, it is helpful to know how hair grows.

How Hair Grows

Hair grows from the hair follicles just under your skin’s surface.  Your soft tresses are composed of the same protein (keratin) that your nails are.  The follicles produce live keratin cells, but the hair you see is composed of dead keratin cells.

Each follicle has a life cycle of its own, which is divided into three periods: anagen, catagen, and telogen.  The anagen stage is the growth stage and it can last from two to six years.  The catagen stage is a two or three week transitional period between the growth stage and the resting stage.  The telogen stage is the resting period, which lasts eight to twelve weeks.  At the end of the resting period, your old hairs are shed and new hair replaces them as the growth cycle starts.

The majority of your scalp follicles are growing hair at the same time, but the rate of growth can be affected by your health, your age, and your stress levels.

It is normal to lose some hair every day.  The average adult has over 100,000 strands of hair on their scalp and it is common to lose around 80 – 100 strands a day, this number is based on the natural density or thickness of the head of hair.  Don’t worry about some hair loss, unless it is excessive or you begin to notice that your hair looks noticeably thinner.

Shedding from Stress

Telogen effluvium hair is a condition with the tongue-twisting name is directly linked to a serious one-time stressful event such as surgery, injury, or sickness. This condition is a very common cause of large amounts of hair falling out. Telogen effluvium is a slowing of new hair growth resulting from sudden severe emotional, physical, or hormonal stress, followed after a delay of about 2 months by the shedding of hair, sometimes in alarming amounts.

With telogen effluvium, the stressful event induces a higher proportion of hair follicles to enter the resting stage all at the same time. A few months later, after the stressful event, all of the now-resting follicles begin to shed their hairs at about the same time. Because the stressful event happened months ago, most people do not connect it with their hair loss.

What Can I Do To Grow My Hair Back? 3 Ways…

1. Stop stress at the source. It’s your mind and emotions that trigger your body to feel stressed out. So find things and thoughts that help get you back to an un-stressed peace of mind.  If you are experiencing loss of a loved one, think about and concentrate on…