Today, most people are suffering from the common problem of hair loss. An individual normally sheds 100-200 hairs a day. But there are many factors that cause excessive hair fall and stress is very often a major one. There are three types of high-level stress-related alopecia (hair loss) known to us-
1. Telogen effluvium- Do you know that an adult scalp contains approximately 100,000 hair follicles! However, the exact number varies according to one’s hair color. These hair follicles are always in a cycle of growth and rest periods. Most hair follicles are in the anagen (growth) phase at any point in time. The rest of the follicles are in the telogen (resting) phase and these lead to hair fall. Telogen effluvium is caused by a trigger that sends all the hair follicles into the resting phase. Emotional stress is one of the many triggers for this condition, others being severe illness and medications.
Now, you may ask what can be called ‘emotional stress’? Well, any big negative event in your life (like divorce or losing your job) can lead to emotional stress. Also, relatively smaller incidents like a bad day at the office or domestic fights, especially during this ongoing pandemic situation can snowball into larger emotional stress problem.
Telogen effluvium makes an abrupt appearance, so you won’t know it has been triggered until you experience hair loss. This may seem sudden but it had started almost three months ago! This is because the premature hair follicles that enter the resting phase take about three months to complete the cycle and shed the hair. It results in loss of hair in patches, generally, the parting line is widened. A person suffering from this condition will notice thinning of hair, a sudden spike in the number of fallen hairs found on their pillowcase and shower. Though it may lead to as much as 50 % hair loss, it doesn’t cause baldness. Another ray of hope is contained in the fact that this is a temporary condition (six months or less).
2. Trichotillomania- It is also called a hair-pulling disorder. As the name suggests, it makes the person want to pull out the hair from your head or any other part of the body. It is usually a way of dealing with negative emotions like frustration, anger, loneliness, or boredom. But it may also be unintentional where a person may pull their hair out without thinking. It is classified as an impulse control disorder. This condition often develops in teenagers and preteens and can persist throughout their life. It may be a genetic disorder.
3. Alopecia areata- An auto-immune disease, alopecia areata occurs when our immune system turns against our hair follicles and destroys them. This condition can be triggered by multiple factors, stress is one such factor. The pattern of hair loss may be patchy or complete. If severe, whole-body hair may be lost. Re-growth may occur but hair loss will accompany it. It affects both men and women across the age spectrum.
Treating Stress-related Hair Loss Naturally
Generally, all stress-related hair loss is reversible. Thus, it is possible to grow back your hair. However, the rate of hair re-growth will vary from person to person. Effective stress management is the key to treating these types of hair loss issues. The hair loss experts at Hisblue suggest the following ways to reduce your stress level-
Exercise is one of the best ways for stress release and it also has added health benefits. Do some aerobics, yoga, or take a long walk or simply dance. Experiment and see what forms of exercise work for you!
Meditation is another tried and tested way of killing stress. Set aside 10-20 minutes daily (at any time of the day) to practice meditation. You may also combine meditation with physical exercise in techniques like tai chi.
Make sure you have a couple of hobbies that you can practice every day. Doing something that you enjoy will uplift your mood. It can be anything from painting, singing, reading, gardening, to community work.
Journaling/ writing is a good stress-buster too. Putting all your negative thoughts on paper can purge you of the emotional stress. It is also an effective way of finding solutions to any problem you are facing that is causing stress.
Head massages with warm oil (coconut/ castor) will not only reduce stress but also provide nourishment to the hair.
Take a balanced diet. Even though it isn’t directly related to solving stress issues, it certainly will make sure that your body has all the important nutrients. Vitamins A, C, D, B12, Iron, Zinc, and Selenium are some nutrients that are essential for healthy hair.
If the above tips fail to give you the desired results, consider consulting a doctor. It may be that some other factors are also contributing to your hair loss problem.