So it’s Stress Awareness Month in April, and we can’t help but think about the relationship between hair loss and stress.
A lot of factors contribute to us feeling stressed. Professional, personal issues and demands can induce stress, so too can illness and trauma.
As you know, stress manifests itself differently in different people. Sadly, hair loss is one of them. We will look at two types of hair loss you can experience from stress, and review tips to help you get back to a full head of hair.
2 Types of Stress-Related Hair Loss
1- Alopecia areata (aka bald spots)
Alopecia areata (AA) is one type of hair-loss from stressful situations. With AA, the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles. Once the follicles are damaged, hair starts falling out. Hair loss from alopecia areata often shows itself in hair falling out in round patches.
Studies show that people with AA tend to experience a higher degree of anxiety and depression.
2- Telogen Effluvium (aka lots of thinning)
There are 3 main stages of hair growth: anagen, catagen, and telogen. Telogen is the resting phase. In this phase, your hair isn’t actively growing. People with telogen effluvium will see thinning or shedding of the hair that has gone prematurely into the telogen phase.
Major Physical shock and emotional stress can cause this condition, but there are other underlying medical conditions can also contribute to Telogen Effluvium, so contact your doctor if you’re experiencing significant hair loss to determine what the root cause might be.
The good news is that stress-induced hair loss is not permanent. Get your stress under control, and start taking steps to grow your curls back.
Reducing your stress levels
There are numerous ways to reduce your stress levels. You know better than anyone what helps you de-stress. This is a reminder to please ...make time for those activities that you enjoy, and that make you feel good. Need more ideas? Here are just 2 you could consider:
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These hormones trigger positive feelings in your body and acts as a natural painkiller. So, get your physical activity level up, even if it’s putting on a YouTube workout video at home and get those endorphins pumping. Also…dancing does qualify, so put on your favorite tunes and get moving!
Audit the information you consume
It turns out that your body can’t really tell the difference between “real life” stressful news, and news from “the news” or random videos you receive. For this reason, being exposed to stressful information all day long certainly doesn’t help. And yes, fear of missing out (FOMO) is stress too… F=Fear…. think about that for a moment… and comment below if you’d like for us to go into this a bit more.
Be deliberate about adding sources of good news, good feelings, and laughter to your day and maybe cut out some of the sources of stress. Decide what a good balance is for you. You are the gatekeeper!
The good news
We don’t want this article to actually stress you out even more, so here is an important reminder: Once you start getting your stress levels under control, you will feel better, you might enjoy more of life, and the types of hair loss described here will be reversible.
With proper hair care practices, and the right products for our 4C, curly natural hair, you’ll be well on track to start seeing new growth and retaining length. Also, make it an at-home spa...have fun on wash day!
Want more actionable tips like these delivered weekly to help you on your hair growth journey? Subscribe below for the Miss Iraba newsletter, and while you're down there...leave a comment with your favorite way to de-stress! We want to hear from you! ;)
Laura Alonso, Elaine Fuchs. “The hair cycle” The journal of Cell Science https://jcs.biologists.org/content/119/3/391
Jaliman, Debra. “Alopecia Areata & Hair Loss: Causes, Treatments, and Tips to Cope.” WebMD, WebMD, 5 Sept. 2018, www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/alopecia-areata#2.
Sellami, Rim, et al. “The Relationship between Alopecia Areata and Alexithymia, Anxiety and Depression: a Case-Control Study.” Indian Journal of Dermatology, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, July 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103292/.
Harvard Health Publishing. “Telogen Effluvium.” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/telogen-effluvium-a-to-z.