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Fight Stress-Related Hair Loss with These Science-Backed Methods
Does stress play a role in hair loss? These scientific studies say yes. Read on to find how to combat this troublesome side effect of stress.
Can stress cause hair loss? There are a lot of anecdotal stories about stress leading to hair loss or other hair-related symptoms, like a sudden change in color. Although there are few studies that nail down the exact link between hair loss and stress, there are enough related triggers that definitely relate hair loss to stress.
Many of the causes for hair loss are unknown and unproven. The most common form of hair loss in both women and men is telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium is a condition where the hair goes into the loss phase faster than normal. This causes noticeable hair loss because the rate of new hair growth cannot keep up with the rate of hair loss. TE is thought to be linked with some forms of stress, but there have been few scientific studies that have examined or proven the link. TE is most common in women after pregnancy, due to the sudden fluctuations of hormone levels.
Another commonly associated form stress and hair loss is alopecia areata, which is attributed to many causes, including age, hormonal changes, stress, illness, and even some medications. AA is considered an autoimmune hair disorder, where the cells in your body overreact and attack healthy body tissue, preventing effective hair growth. This form of hair loss can remain in small patches, or cause hair loss throughout the entire body.
It is a common assumption that high levels of stress can lead to excessive hair loss, but this commonly-held theory has not been entirely proven in scientific studies or human clinical trials. However, some animal studies and the other effects of stress on the body indicate that stress may be a determining factor in some forms of hair loss. Read on to discover more about how this troubling condition can occur and what you can do to help stop stress-related hair loss.
TE normally occurs in women between the third and fifth month after childbirth. Pregnancy lowers the normal rate of hair loss in a woman. After childbirth, the body sheds the excess hair from the pregnancy down to normal levels. Other triggers can include thyroid problems, weight loss, medical illnesses, general anesthesia, changes in hormone levels, or the use of some medications. According to the University of California, TE is also associated with some forms of stress. The University of California states that individuals suffering from TE hair loss will regrow their hair within 6 months of the stress ending.
Many nerves exist in and around hair follicles. According to some studies, the nerves and nervous system products (called neuropeptides), could be responsible for some forms of hair loss during times of stress. One neuropeptide, called substance P, is a brain chemical involved in pain transmission. Substance P is released from the nerves around hair follicles during the inflammatory part of the alopecia cycle. This could affect hair growth.
A 2003 study conducted by the Boston University School of Medicine studied the link between substance P and stress-inhibited hair growth. The researchers found that premature catagen development and deleterious perifollicular inflammation were caused by a restriction of substance P. When the mice were given a substance P supplement during the resting hair growth phase, hair growth increased. However, when the mice were given substance P during the growth phase of hair, it triggered hair loss because the follicles were forced into premature conversion to the intermediate stage of the hair cycle. This indicates that substance P may be responsible for regulating normal hair growth. Hair follicles also synthesize and secrete cortisol (a stress-related hormone).
A 2005 study from the Hamamatsu University School of Medicine indicated that the synthesis of cortisol by hair follicles indicate that hair may respond to stressors in a more direct way than previously thought possible.
The South China Morning Post cites a few other theories about what causes stress-related hair loss. According to the news publication, vitamin B12 may be responsible for some forms of hair loss. Vitamin B12 is depleted during times of stress, which may affect the hair growth cycle. Vitamin B12 is responsible for delivering blood, nutrients, and oxygen to the body’s tissues. Hair is a non-essential tissue, meaning that the body will regulate low vitamin B12 supplies to vital tissues first. This could lead to hair loss.
Other triggers may upset the normal balance of hormones in a person’s body. According to the University of California, upsetting the balance of hormones could lead to increased hair loss, exemplified by the added hair loss seen after childbirth. However, it is likely that stress has to continue for prolonged periods before hair will be affected.
As the exact link between hair loss and stress is unknown, it can be a challenge to determine how to fix the issue. However, there are a variety of steps you can implement to lower stress levels and see stronger, healthier hair. Try these methods to slow stress-related hair loss:
Certain conditions are known to trigger hair loss. If you are going through any of these triggers, you may be able to find the exact cause for your sudden hair loss. The main triggers for sudden hair loss include: Medications: Some medications can cause hair loss, according to The New York Times. Check with your doctor to find out the side effects of any medications you are taking and whether hair loss could be one of them.
Stress can play a role in hair loss, although the exact link is not entirely clear to scientists and health professionals. However, you should be able to reduce some of your hair loss by reducing the amount of stress in your life. Try to reduce stress by avoiding the stressful activity. That is not always possible, so if you are forced to continue in a stressful situation, combat the effects with these calming activities:
Certain supplements have been proven to help hair grow stronger and go through a shorter hair loss phase. These supplements will help you reduce hair loss during times of stress.
A variety of vitamins are important for healthy, strong hair. If you have enough of these vitamins in your body, you should see a reduction in hair loss, even during times of stress. Try to ensure you get these vitamins in your diet each day (through foods or supplements).
You can also eat for healthy hair by reducing the amount of inflammation in your body. Inflammation can lead to autoimmune disorders, including AA. An inflamed body also does not respond to stress as well.
The Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in Scotland conducted a study in 1998 on the effects of aromatherapy in hair loss. The study showed that aromatherapy decreased hair loss in 44 percent of patients. In the study, AA patients massaged cedarwood, lavender, thyme, and rosemary essential oils into the scalp along with carrier oils of jojoba and grapeseed oils daily. A similar routine may also help fight stress-related hair loss.
Stress can be a trigger for hair loss, although all of the precise triggers are unknown. If you find yourself under intense stress that lasts longer than a week or two, you may find that you have increased hair loss. To protect your hair from stress-related hair loss, all you have to do is try to reduce stress and take supplements that promote healthy hair. When you do this, you should see your hair loss slow and stop within a few weeks to a few months.
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Advecia is a natural DHT blocker that has been formulated to restore the appearance of existing hair, while decreasing the psychosocial impact of hair loss.