Treatment For Hair Loss
Most hair loss does not need treatment and is either:
- temporary and it’ll grow back
- a normal part of getting older
Hair loss caused by a medical condition usually stops or grows back once you’ve recovered.
There are things you can try if your hair loss is causing you distress. But most treatments are not available on the NHS, so you’ll have to pay for them.
No treatment is 100% effective.
What Are The Different Types Of Female Hair Loss
Engelman explains how the hair cycle is a four phase process: Anagen , Catagen , Telogen , and Exogen . Each hair follicle goes through this process at different times, otherwise we would lose all of our hair at the same time before it started to grow again. There is no exact normal number of hairs shed per dayit depends on the individual. But if your normal seems to have changed, and youre finding extra hairs on your pillows, clothing, and even falling into your food, it could mean your hair growth cycle has been disrupted.
According to Joshua Zeichner MD, Associate Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, female pattern hair loss, or FPHL, is polygenic, meaning that its likely caused by a combination of genetic factors from both your mom and your dad, though other factors can contribute to hair loss. It is important to understand whether hair loss is caused by genetics alone or whether there are contributing medical factors involved, Zeichner adds. Medical factors might include hormonal changes that occur during perimenopause, menopause and post-partum, as well as stress, illness, weight loss, and even gut health.
Stress can play a big role in female hair thinning and loss. The Mayo clinic describes
Is Hair Thinning From Stress Permanent
Many myths are associated with hair loss. You won’t lose more hair if you shampoo daily or wear hats or hairpieces, nor will shaving thinning hair make it grow back any thicker. One type of hair loss, telogen effluvium, can be caused by physical or emotional stress. However, yet another myth attached to hair loss is that thinning hair caused by stress is permanent, says the American Hair Loss Council, or AHLC.
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Use A Topical Treatment
The only topical treatment that has been approved by the FDA for hair loss in women is minoxidil, better known by the brand name Women’s Rogaine . Topical minoxidil is the gold standard standard of treatment, Dr. Zeichner says. It helps lengthen the active growing stage of hairs and promotes healthy delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicle.
When You Should Worry
Losing up to 100 hairs a day is normal for every person. Because you have over 150,000 strands on your head, you wont even notice those missing 100 each day. However, if you begin to see more than your typical hair loss, you should start making notes to discuss with your doctor. Start by finding when your most substantial loss occurs during washing, combing, running your fingers through your hair, etc. Then speak to your doctor about the problems youre experiencing with your hair loss.
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These initial findings in mice need to be further studied before they can be safely applied to humans. Harvards Office of Technology Development has protected the intellectual property relating to this work and is exploring opportunities for collaboration on its further development and eventual commercialization.
Last year, Hsus group discovered how stress affects another type of stem cell in the hair follicle: the melanocyte stem cells that regenerate hair pigment. The researchers found that stress activates the sympathetic nervous system and depletes melanocyte stem cells, leading to premature hair graying. With the new study, the two findings together demonstrate that although stress has detrimental impacts on both hair follicle stem cells and melanocyte stem cells, the mechanisms are different. Stress depletes melanocyte stem cells directly via nerve-derived signals, while stress prevents hair follicle stem cells from making new hairs indirectly via an adrenal-gland-derived stress hormones impact on the niche. Because hair follicle stem cells are not depleted, it might be possible to reactivate stem cells under stress with mechanisms such as the Gas6 pathway.
Beyond the potential application of the Gas6 pathway in promoting hair growth, the studys results have broader implications for stem cell biology.
How Stress Causes Hair Loss
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Noticed more hairs on your brush, pillow or around the shower drain than normal? Dealing with hair loss is never fun, especially when youre not sure whats causing it.
However, its also possible for a range of other factors to cause and contribute to hair loss.
One of these factors is emotional stress. If youre feeling overly stressed due to work, your personal life or anything else, its possible that this stress could contribute either tomild hair thinning, or significant hair loss.
Below, weve explained how and why stress can cause you to lose hair. Weve also looked at a range of treatment options that can help you regrow any hair you lose due to stress.
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The Relation Between Stress And The Hair Cycle
There are approximately 100,000 hair follicles on the adult scalp . Each hair follicle is constantly cycling between growth and rest. The majority of these hair follicles are in the growth phase at any given time. When the hair follicle transitions to telogen, or the resting phase, the hair is shed. During an episode of telogen effluvium, a trigger causes a sudden, abnormal shift of hairs into the telogen phase all at once. One possible trigger for this sudden shift? Significant emotional stress.
What qualifies as significant emotional stress? Think major, negative life event . While a single bad day at work shouldnt meet this threshold, severe and prolonged stress secondary to the Covid-19 pandemic, for instance, could certainly qualify.
To test the relationship between substantial stress and hair loss, researchers giving birth can also trigger an episode.
Temporary in nature
The other good news? The hair loss is temporary, and should return to itspre-effluvium density, although this process is generally slow. It can take months before the shedding stops, and then months to years for lost hair to grow back at the sluggish rate of ~½ inch per month.
In some circumstances, hair does not fully return to its normal density. For one, telogen effluvium can uncover other types of long-standing hair loss . Additionally, overall hair density is expected to slowly decrease with age, and in few , telogen effluvium can be chronic and lasts for multiple years.
How To Help Your Hair Grow Back
As weve seen, certain conditions do not necessarily lead to baldness, so you can regrow your hair and strengthen your hair follicles after suffering from an upsetting episode of hair loss. To give your beautiful hair a boost, here are a few steps to follow:
- Try over-the-counter treatments minoxidil is the most common OTC medication that comes in the form of creams, foams and it prolongs the anagen phase.
- Home-made masks there are several herbs and oils famous for their hair-growing properties. Some of these are rosemary essential oil, castor oil, onion black seed oil, olive and coconut oil, aloe vera, etc. You can try making some masks for your scalp and hair to boost healthy hair growth. There is no need for complicated treatments in the case of oils, for example, you can use them to gently massage your scalp for several minutes, leave it for about half an hour and then continue your usual washing routine.
- Control your stress levels try taking at least one day off your week so that you can take care of yourself. Essential oils are commonly used for managing stress: they can be inhaled either directly or by using a humidifier, used on the skin, or incorporated in different products. You can also incorporate a healthy diet and some exercise into your daily routine. While these remedies act slowly, your future self will be very grateful.
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Other Hair Loss Factors
There are other factors that can also cause hair loss, including but not limited to:
- Nervous habits
- Pregnancy, childbirth, and birth control pill usage
If your hair is thinning, or youre experiencing baldness and it seems abnormal its a good idea to see your doctor in order to determine the cause.
Also, if youre concerned that stress is the culprit, its always a good idea to cut down on lifestyle stress and find some effective coping techniques for the stress that remains. Specifically, the following resources can help.
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Habits And Lifestyle Changes
Changing your lifestyle and habits can often help to reduce stress. If you often feel stressed, try using the techniques below to limit your exposure to sources of stress and manage stress when you experience it:
If your hair loss is caused by chronic stress, understanding and coping with the stress in healthier ways may help you to regrow some or all of the hair that youve lost.
This is something that youll need to discuss with your healthcare provider.
How To Control Hair Fall Due To Stress
There are several ways you can address hair fall caused due to stress.
Over-the-counter, FDA-approved topical solutions and drugs like Minoxidil and Finasteride can help in promoting hair growth and act as treatments for hair loss due to stress. Minoxidil or Rogaine enhances the blood flow and oxygen supply to the scalp, thereby nourishing the hair follicles. Finasteride, on the other hand, is a prescription medication that reduces the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone , the hormone that is primarily responsible for hair loss in men. Finasteride stimulates hair growth by bringing down the DHT levels.
Massaging the scalp with certain essential oils is also said to be an effective remedy for hair loss. Some examples include lavender oil, castor oil, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, tea tree oil, lemongrass oil, and thyme oil.
Besides addressing hair loss, your stress level needs to be managed too. Relaxation techniques like yoga, exercise, meditation, breathing exercises, and positive thinking can effectively deal with stress. While yoga and meditation calm the mind, exercise releases chemicals like endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which impact your mood and help you manage your stress.
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When To See A Doctor For Stress
Stress does cause hair loss, but it isnt the only cause. If youre experiencing sudden and ongoing hair loss, visiting your family doctor is a good first step. Your doctor can evaluate the hair loss, review your medical history, and refer you to a dermatologist if necessary.
You might think of a dermatologist as just a skin doctor, but this doctor also specializes in problems of hair and nails. Visiting a doctor sooner, rather than later, can improve your outcome.
Causes Of Anxiety Hair Loss
Hair loss is never the only symptom of anxiety. But it is a distressing one.
The key issue between anxiety and hair loss is stress. Anxiety can create long term and persistent stress. While technically these are two separate conditions and long term stress on its own can lead to many of the same symptoms, the reality is that anyone dealing with anxiety is putting themselves under severe mental and physical stress all the time.
Stress can cause many conditions that lead to hair loss. These include:
- Alopecia Areata – Sudden loss of large clumps of hair in areas around your scalp or gradual hair loss that builds over time.
- Telogen Effluvium – This is a condition where more hairs than normal prepare to fall out.
- Trichotillomania – This is a habitual condition caused by stress and anxiety where the person pulls out hairs – sometimes without realizing it.
It’s highly likely that those with mild hair loss caused by anxiety are suffering from either telogen effluvium, or simply stress weakened hair. But the other two are also a concern and affect a smaller percentage of the anxiety population.
Many individuals with anxiety conditions suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Lack of vitamins will develop problems with growing back hair that naturally falls out daily.
Hairs have a growth cycle of two years before stopping and falling out two months later. If your body “tells” more hairs than normal to stop growing, two months later more hairs will fall out.
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Can Stress Cause Hair Loss
Our bodies are a network of interconnected systems, meaning very few events relating to our health happen to us in isolation. Many types of stress start out in the mind, then go on to immensely affect our physical wellbeing.
This is certainly true of our hair and it is why we take a holistic approach to hair care. Stress results in hair loss far more frequently than most people realise, and we consider stress management a crucial part of most treatment plans. Of course, hair loss itself can be stressful, which may then perpetuate the problem.
Types of stress related hair loss include:
- Telogen Effluvium
- Alopecia Areata
- Androgenic Alopecia
It is important to note that stress will usually not cause hair loss straight away. Most hair loss you experience will present itself anywhere between 6-12 weeks after a stressful event, due to the nature of the hair growth cycle.