Hair loss is common, and there are many different reasons why we might lose more hair than usual. Things like over-styling, dying our hair, cold weather and heat damage can cause hairs to break, or even fall from the follicle. Some medical conditions can cause hair loss, and another reason you might have noticed more hairs falling out than usual is stress. Below is a look at why stress can cause hair loss and some things that you can do about it.
What Is Stress Related Hair Loss?
We all lose hair every day. Even with the right care, it’s common to lose up to 150 strands of hair every single day. So, a bit of hair coming out when you brush or wash it or finding the occasional strand on your jumper isn’t anything to worry about.
However, stress can cause a more significant loss of hair due to a disruption to our hair growth cycle. We all have around 100,000 hair follicles on our heads, each of which grows an individual hair. During the hair cycle, each hair goes through the growth phase, the resting phase and then the shedding phase. Each follicle’s cycle is on a slightly different time frame, so you can lose 150 hairs a day, without ever noticing.
When we’re stressed out, our bodies can respond by pushing more hairs through in the growth phase. Which in a few months, means that you have extra hairs entering the shedding phase. No one is really sure why, but it’s believed that it could be due to our hormonal stress response.
You might not notice stress-related hair loss straight away, and unfortunately, because of the hair’s natural cycle, you can continue to lose more hairs than usual for months or even years, as your follicles take time to recover, and your hair gets back to their normal cycle.
Another cause of stress-related hair loss is hair pulling. Many of us have coping mechanisms, often sub-conscious, when we are dealing with stress, and hair pulling is a common one.
Is Stress-Related Hair Loss Common?
Yes. We all deal with stress in different ways, but it’s not uncommon for one of your body’s responses to be changes to your hair cycle and your hair follicle’s ability to function properly. But the good news is, there’s plenty that you can do about it. Let’s take a look.
Find A Treatment
There are some self-care practices that you can do to reduce stress and take care of your hair. But sometimes you need a little more help. If you are worried about your hair loss or suspect that you have female pattern hair loss, then you should find a women’s hair loss treatment to help. The right women’s hair loss treatment can stimulate growth and reduce loss whether you are struggling with stress-related loss or a hereditary condition.
Eat A Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet can reduce stress and keep your body working at its best. A diet that’s rich in nutrients and vitamins can keep your hair shiny and strong. Eating less greasy or fatty foods can also help to stop your hair from getting so greasy and will mean that you don’t need to wash it as often.
You’ll also find that if you cook a lot of greasy food, your hair and skin get greasy and you’ll have spot breakouts, and your hair will look oily.
Massage Your Scalp
Massaging your scalp is a fantastic way to boost blood flow and stimulate hair growth. This can help to reduce the appearance of any thin patches and keep your scalp healthy. Most people find that massaging their scalp while they are washing their hair is the easiest way to do it. If your scalp is very dry and flaky, however, massaging a hair oil into it before you get to bed, and then washing your hair the next day can help to add hydration and reduce dryness.
Find Ways To Manage Stress
The effects of stress-related hair loss can last for a while, so finding ways to reduce hair loss and stimulate growth is a great way to reduce the appearance of thinner or bald patches. But, ultimately, the best way to keep stress-related hair loss at bay is to find ways to manage and reduce your stress levels.
- Get More Sleep – It can be hard to sleep when you are stressed out and worried, but sleepless nights will make stress worse, and increase the effect that it’s having on your body. If you are struggling to sleep, getting into a routine, limiting caffeine, and spending some time relaxing away from screens before bed can help.
- Spend Time with People That You Love – Spending time with positive people that make you smile is an effective way to reduce stress. Make plans with people who make you feel good about yourself and talk to them about your worries. If there are any people in your life who bring you down and increase your stress levels, or who don’t give your relationship the time and attention that it deserves, don’t be scared to stop seeing them.
- Get Help – If you are struggling with stress or other elements of your mental health, you must get help. Speak to your friends and family and make an appointment with your doctor if self-care practices aren’t helping or you want more support.
- Exercise – Exercise is a fantastic way to reduce stress, take some time for yourself and boost your confidence. If you are suffering from hair loss and you think it’s stress related, going for a jog, swimming, and practising yoga are easy ways to reduce stress.
- Get Outdoors – If you can, exercising outdoors, perhaps with a jog or hike can be an effective way to reduce stress. Even sitting out in your garden can help to boost your mood. However, if you are struggling with hair loss, make sure you protect your hair from harsh weather, by wearing a sunhat to block UV rays, or a winter hat to keep your scalp warm.
- Take Breaks from Your Phone – Our smartphones are fantastic tools, but they can increase stress, make it hard to sleep and even become an addiction. Try to leave your phone in another room while you are asleep and reduce usage in the few hours before bed.
- Drink Less Alcohol – Alcohol in moderation can be great for stress, helping you to relax and unwind. But if you are drinking in excess, or alcohol has become a coping mechanism that you rely on, it might be a significant stressor in itself. Drinking less alcohol can help you to manage stress. Try to drink more water instead, to keep you hydrated and give your hair a boost.
- Make Time For Yourself – We’re often more stressed out when we’re busy. Taking time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes a day to do something for yourself like reading a book, is an effective way to keep stressors at bay.
Finding ways to reduce stress is the best thing that you can do to permanently reduce or prevent stress-related hair loss, but you might still need treatment, and to take better care of your scalp and hair if you want to stimulate growth and keep your hair healthy and strong.