Everyone loses up to 150 hairs from their head every single day. But, if you’re losing more than usual or have started to notice patches on your scalp, this could point to an underlying cause.
It’s thought that up to 68% of all men will experience hair loss at some time in their lives. Male pattern baldness is the most common form of hair loss and is genetically pre-determined. It can even begin to happen as early as 20 years old.
Hair thinning is common for women as they age and according to NHS estimates, female pattern baldness affects 50% of women over the age of 65.
But what about hair loss from stress? Is this actually a thing and how long does it last?
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Does Stress Cause Hair Loss?
The link between stress and hair loss has been well researched. It’s thought that the time between a stressful event happening and hair falling out is around three months.
Why? During this time the hair follicles have prematurely reached the next stage and it takes around three months for the cycle to complete.
Stress-related hair loss is known as telogen effluvium. It usually happens abruptly but the good thing to know is; it is temporary.
Once your stress levels go back down to normal, hair growth should return. In some circumstances, hair density may not completely return to what it was like before the stressful event. This is normally due to general thinning from age.
How Do You Know If You’re Losing Hair from Stress?
Hair shedding is a natural part of every person’s life. But if you’re losing handfuls of hair in the shower or waking up with hair clumps on your pillow, it could mean you’re losing hair from stress. Here are some common signs you may be experiencing stress-related hair fall;
- Happens fast. Telogen effluvium can be pinpointed by hair loss happening abruptly. The thing is, the reason your hair is falling out was probably triggered by an event three months ago. Have a think back; did you experience a traumatic or emotional event? Did you have a severe illness or maybe you had a baby?
- Wide area of patchy hair loss. With stress-related hair loss, its generally spread over a wide area. You may notice a thinner ponytail and increased amounts of hair on your pillow or in a hairbrush. Stress-related hair fall usually doesn’t create complete bald patches
- Hair loss is non-permanent. The good news is, hair lost because of stress, will generally grow back. Hair re-growth may be slow taking years to get back to how it was, at around half an inch a month
How Do You Treat Hair Loss from Stress?
If you experience stress-related hair loss, there’s every chance it will grow back to its former glory. The first thing to work on is getting your stress levels under control. Be kind to yourself and work on improving your diet and overall health.
Hair loss due to stress is completely curable. Talk to your doctor for extra support and advice on minimising stress levels and re-growing your hair safely.
Some simple ways to treat hair loss from stress are;
- Aim to get 7-8 hours’ sleep a night
- Eat a clean diet filled with fresh veg, fruit, lean protein and whole grains
- Start a regular exercise routine
- Minimise sugar, caffeine and alcohol intake
- Practice meditation, mindfulness and yoga
- Share problems with others
- Take a break from work or from a stressful environment
Three Types of Hair Loss Associated with High-Stress Levels
When looking at hair loss from stress, it’s good to be aware that there are a few types of stress-related hair loss.
With over 74% of UK adults saying they’ve experienced stress at some point where they felt unable to cope, stress and anxiety are conditions we need to learn more about. Three types of stress-related hair loss are;
- Telogen effluvium. This is the main one we’ve talked about in this article, where a stressful situation triggers our body to stop hair growth
- Alopecia areata. With this condition, the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles. Severe stress is thought to be one contributing factor
- Trichotillomania. Also thought to be caused by severe stress. This condition causes the sufferer to pick and pull at their own hair on the head or even eyebrows
Hair loss from stress isn’t permanent. Work on lowering your stress levels and your hair will eventually start to grow again. Always talk to your doctor if you experience unusual amounts of hair loss, as this could need the intervention of a medical professional.