Can Stress Stop Hair Growth?
Stress can do a lot of things to the mind and body. For many people, excessive stress is a major cause of chronic health problems like migraines, fatigue, insomnia, and more. For others, stress can be detrimental to mental health, particularly when it comes to depression and anxiety.
But did you know that stress can also cause hair loss? Yes, you read that right. Constant and excessive stress can lead to your hair thinning out and losing its strength, volume, and shine. In fact, it is one of the most common causes of hair loss both in men and women. But is stress-induced hair loss permanent? Furthermore, what can you do to stop it?
Today, we will answer these questions once and for all. First, let's dig into the science behind stress-induced hair loss.
Can Stress Stop Hair Growth? What The Science Says:
Sometimes, stress manifests in physical signs and symptoms, such as acne breakouts, dandruff flare-ups, rashes, and of course, hair loss. Normally, we lose about 50 to 100 hair follicles every day. But when you are experiencing high amounts of stress, you can lose way more hair follicles than that.
But why does this happen?
3 Types of Stress-Related Hair Loss
There are three main types of stress-related hair loss, namely telogen effluvium, trichotillomania, and alopecia areata. Let's discuss each one in detail:
Stress-induced hair loss occurs when stress pushes hair roots into the "resting" state too early, causing hair to fall out and preventing new hair from growing. This is called telogen effluvium, which can either be chronic or acute. Telogen effluvium is basically a "shock" to your system that causes strands to fall out from the hair follicle and refuse to regrow until the underlying cause is treated.
There are many possible causes of telogen effluvium. Stress from environmental causes is a common one, such as stress from work, school, and parenting. Other causes of telogen effluvium include sudden high bouts of stress like what happens when you give birth, develop an infection, undergo surgery, or start a crash diet.
Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder wherein one has the urge to pull hair out from their head, eyelashes, eyebrows, and other parts of the body that grow hair. However, this "impulse" does not just feel like an itch you have to scratch; for many people who suffer from trichotillomania, the urge to pull strands out right from the hair follicle is nothing short of irresistible.
Factors that can lead to trichotillomania include loneliness, boredom, frustration, and, of course, high amounts of stress.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the hair follicles. It can be a hereditary disease, with your risk being greater if you have a first-degree relative that suffers from it.
Hair loss from alopecia areata occurs in quarter-sized patches, leaving small bald spots on the scalp. People with this type of hair loss can experience regrowth after 3 to 6 months even without treatment. However, excessive amounts of stress can cause frequent flare-ups that delay the regrowing time.
Apart from these causes, other factors can make stress-related hair loss worse. These include using ingredients in shampoo that cause hair loss, mishandling wet hair, eating an imbalanced diet, and more. Combined with stress, these contributing factors can speed up hair loss and make treatment more difficult.
If you want to learn more about the causes and signs of female hair loss, be sure to check out our previous blog on the topic!
So, Yes - Stress Can Stop Hair Growth
The short answer is yes, stress can stop hair growth. However, hair loss from stress is not always permanent.
For telogen effluvium, hair loss is usually temporary. High amounts of acute stress push the strand out from the hair follicle, but once the hair follicles go out of the resting stage, new hair begins to grow. Nevertheless, it is important to determine the underlying cause in order to figure out whether or not you need treatment.
For example, a self-limited problem such as giving birth or falling sick does not need any treatment; hair will grow back on its own. But if the hair loss is from a certain medication, a lack of iron, or a thyroid problem, treatment is necessary to correct the underlying problem.
Trichotillomania, on the other hand, is a psychological problem that requires proper mental health treatment. That said, hair loss is not permanent because it does not stem from a physical condition as telogen effluvium does. However, the treatment of trichotillomania is not as easy as simply resisting the urge to pull out one's hair. In many cases, this condition requires cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
In alopecia areata, hair loss is typically not permanent and does not require treatment. But as we've said before, stress can cause flare-ups that last for a longer time.
Is There Anything One Can Do About Stress-Induced Hair Loss?
Hair loss due to stress is not permanent in most cases. Usually, when the cause of stress is gone or at least minimized, hair will start to grow back as normal. But if your hair loss problem goes on for too long or refuses to let up, we recommend seeing your GP as soon as possible.
More than that, it also helps to take better care of your hair so that it is less susceptible to the causes of hair loss, stress-related or otherwise. You can start by adopting the right hair care regimen based on the type of hair you have. If you are black, we have a helpful article on black hair care for beginners to get you started!
Apart from a good hair care regimen, you also need to adopt a healthy diet, which can make your hair stronger and prevent further hair loss. Eat a diet that is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, B Vitamins, protein, iron, and other nutrients essential in hair growth.
Furthermore, you will also want to avoid habits that cause hair loss in the first place, such as roughly handling your hair, using too much heat, tying your hair in tight hairstyles, and not wearing a hat in the sun, among many others.
Can Stress Stop Hair Growth? Wrapping Up
Bottom line? Yes, stress can stop hair growth temporarily. Acute stress can make your hair fall out until the underlying cause is addressed--or otherwise goes away on its own. Chronic stress can be a little trickier and often requires some changes in your lifestyle, as well as medical treatment, if necessary.
But even if stress-related hair loss is temporary, it can be just as frustrating as permanent hair loss. After all, no one wants to have their hair thin out on top of dealing with so much stress. If you feel that you need some extra help, Allurium Beauty has the best hair growth serum specially formulated for African hair. With our hair loss treatment, you can stop hair loss in its tracks and make your hair stronger than ever!
All that said, don't let hair loss keep you from living your best life. Get the Allurium Hair Growth Serum now and let it work wonders on your crowning glory.