hair loss from stress

Does Stress Cause Hair Loss?

The average person loses between 50 and 100 strands of hair per day. When each hair reaches the end of its limited lifespan, the follicle sheds the strand and replaces it with new hair. Losing hair on a daily basis is completely normal, and compared with the total number of hairs on your head, is not typically cause for concern. 

In many cases, especially for men, hair loss can be linked to genetics. Genetic hair loss is typically unavoidable and, while concerning for some, is unfortunately a natural part of the aging process. In other cases, hair loss can be a temporary reaction that results from a disruption in the natural growth and rest cycle of hair follicles. Pregnancy, stress and overly-tight hairstyles are some examples of common trigger that induce temporary and reversible hair loss.

While losing hair due to a particularly stressful period of your life may be a temporary issue, the experts at The New Jersey Hair Transplant Center understand how debilitating it can be. If you are concerned about the negative effects of stress on your life and the impact your hair loss is having on your self-confidence, schedule a consultation with us today to learn how we can help you.

Understanding the Hair Growth Cycle

Hair growth occurs in a cycle made up of four phases: the anagen phase, the catagen phase, the telogen phase and the exogen phase. Growth occurs only during the anagen phase, which can last somewhere between two and seven years. During the catagen phase, the hair stops growing and enters a short transitional period that lasts two to three weeks. The telogen, or resting, phase occurs next. An old hair remains inactive in the telogen phase for around three months while a new hair begins the growth phase beneath it. In the final exogen stage, the resting hair separates from the scalp and sheds. The follicle then returns to the anagen phase and the cycle repeats. 

Hair follicles do not progress through the growth cycle in sync with one another. At any given time, each strand of hair can be in a different part of the cycle. The natural, uneven growth and re-growth cycles of hair follicles is the reason why you don’t lose all of your hairs at once at the end of a growth phase. However, if a significant percentage of follicles enter the resting phase too early, excess shedding and noticeable thinning can occur.

What Is Telogen Effluvium?

Extreme physical or emotional stress can cause the hair growth cycle to become unbalanced, prompting the hair follicles to shed more than normal. Telogen effluvium is a common form of temporary hair loss that occurs when a traumatic event, excess stress or a shock to the body pushes a large number of hair follicles into the resting phase. Within a few months, affected hairs may shed suddenly when performing simple tasks like combing or washing. Telogen effluvium leads to diffuse hair loss in which some areas (typically the top of the head) experience more thinning than others.

What Are the Risk Factors for Stress-Related Hair Loss?

Any stressor or trauma that can disrupt the body’s hormone levels is a potential trigger for telogen effluvium. Some of the most common causes include:

  • A significant physical injury 
  • A surgical procedure
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Acute illness
  • Chronic emotional stress
  • Poor nutrition

Will Hair Grow Back from Stress-Related Hair Loss?

Hair follicles experiencing telogen effluvium are usually only affected temporarily. By reducing or eliminating the stress that triggered the condition, you can restore your hair’s growth cycle to its natural, healthy state. Focus on finding constructive ways to handle stress, as well as on improving your overall health and well-being. The hair cycle generally starts to recover within three to six months once the stress has been alleviated, though the rate of regrowth will be different for everyone.

What You Can Do to Encourage Regrowth

Taking good care of yourself, both physically and mentally, can keep anxiety from reaching severe levels and help your hair return to its normal growth cycle. A combination of many small lifestyle changes can help regulate your body and manage excess stress, including:

  • Eating a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients
  • Staying properly hydrated throughout the day
  • Learning effective stress management techniques
  • Planning a consistent exercise routine
  • Practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or journaling 
  • Pursuing hobbies and other interests
  • Maintaining positive social connections
  • Sleeping a sufficient number of hours each night
  • Taking on fewer responsibilities at work
  • Seeking professional help from a therapist or life coach

What if You Don’t See Improvement? 

If you believe you have stress-related hair loss and have seen no improvements in your hair growth by making healthy lifestyle changes, it may be time to consider other options. Many factors and conditions could be contributing to your hair loss, and only a professional diagnosis from a hair loss professional can determine your most effective treatment approach. At The New Jersey Hair Transplant Center, Dr. Herbert Feinberg offers a full range of treatment options to revitalize your scalp, including laser therapy, topical treatments, and FUT and FUE hair transplant procedures. Contact our offices in Englewood today at 201-568-6977 to schedule your consultation and learn more

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