What Is Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata is a stress-related hair loss condition that occurs when the immune system is inappropriately activated to attack hair follicles thinking they are the threat. It is not possible to tell why this occurs, but the condition is common among women, men and children.
In fact, children that develop this condition before puberty are more likely to experience extensive and persistent hair loss in future. The condition causes inflammation on the roots of your hair follicles resulting in a sudden hair loss.
The condition does not destroy the hair follicles completely and thus, they can re-grow if you eliminate the inflammation. However, most individuals suffering from this condition experience extensive hair loss with recurring cycles of hair loss and re-growth.
Stress And Trichotillomania: Hair Pulling
Trichotillomania is a form of hair loss caused by an irresistible urge to pull out your hair, either from your scalp or any other part of your body. It can result in small or large thin and bald patches, and it is often extremely distressing for those who suffer from it.
The causes of trichotillomania are psychological, and are often complex. Stress is a major contributing factor, as are anxiety, depression, or a traumatic experience.
For more information on hair pulling disorder, please visit our guide to Trichotillomania.
Will It Grow Back
In most cases, thankfully, yes. Telogen effluvium is often a temporary thing, Rieder says. The vast majority of cases will resolve within a few months purely on their own. In the case of alopecia areata, says Wechsler, steroid injections are often prescribed. The effects of the injection typically last a month, and then Ill bring a patient back in for another roundit usually takes several, she explains. In both conditions, topical minoxidil, a commonly used hair loss medication, probably wont do a thing. So pass on the Rogaine.
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Different Types Of Stress
- telogen effluvium when your body tells more hair than usual to stop growing across your scalp
- alopecia areata when you lose large amounts of hair in patches on your scalp
- trichotillomania when you pick and pull out hairs on your head or around your body without realising youre doing it
Be Mindful Of Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills are a form of contraception that works by suppressing ovulation and/or making it more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant into the lining of the uterus. Hormonal hair loss in women may occur when women start or stop taking certain kinds of contraceptives. The hormones that make birth control pills effective may also cause hair thinning in women who use them. You are more likely to experience this side effect from birth control pills if you have a family history of hair loss. Stopping the pill is also a cause of hair loss in women. Hormones are not the only medication that may be associated with hair loss. Blood thinners and blood pressure medications may do it, too. So can drugs used to treat depression, heart disease, and arthritis.
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Facts About Hair Loss And Stress
Stress-induced hair loss is something Im sure youve heard of before, most likely from your parents or guardians. We are all told at some point that as children, teenagers, and sometimes even adults that were the reason our parents are losing their hair! But how true is this?
The fact if the matter is that losing hair due to stress is relative unlikely, but still possible. Both physical and emotional stresses take a huge toll on our body and its functioning, and there is no reason why this wouldnt also extend to hair growth and health.
However, in many cases losing hair because of stress will stop once the stress is removed. This process can take a while as hair cycles are long, so you should expect it to take a few months to a year for your condition to reverse.
Despite this, there are things you can do to potentially reduce stress and help this process. Weve created this helpful guide to show you how to do it!
How Long Does It Take To Regrow Hair
Most of the time, any hair you lose from stress-induced hair loss will come back. After youve treated the root cause of your hair loss, its normal for your hair to grow back over three to six months.
However, because it can take several years for hair to grow to its full length, it can take quite a lot of time for your hair to completely restore itself after stress-induced hair loss.
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Manage Your Stress Level
Do feel stressed with hair loss. It will only contribute to hair loss. Remember that the more you are stressed, the more you experience hair loss.
So, start managing your stress level. Go for yoga, meditation, spending quality time with friends, and go for hair therapy.
These small tricks help reduce your stress level, which is the leading cause of hair fall these days.
Stress Related Hair Loss: Why Pandemic Stress Might Mean Losing Some Hair
During the coronavirus pandemic, people have had a lot of stress to manage, changes to navigate, and life challenges to overcome. Its no surprise that many people been suffering from a range of stress-related skin conditions. Stress can take a toll on the body. During stress, a perceived threat causes the bodys fight or flight response to shift energy away from areas it considers non-essential until that threat has resolved. When youre stressed, you may notice that your skin and nails look less healthy. You may also find yourself losing hair. In this blog, we will walk through what stress-related hair loss is, why it happens, and how you can prevent long-term hair loss.
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Get A Good Nights Sleep
Physical and mental stress can both be caused by not getting enough sleep. This is especially true if this is a long-term issue, as it will begin to affect you more and more over time.
Ensuring you follow a regular sleep pattern can help you get into a good rhythm and provide you with adequate rest. Make sure you relax before bed so you get a good sleep and feel refreshed. By fixing your sleeping routines you can greatly improve your overall health and reduce stress, which in turn can help counteract hair loss.
Hereditary Hair Loss And Stress
While stress alone is unlikely to be the trigger of hereditary hair loss , being under significant emotional stress can cause existing hair loss to accelerate.
Hereditary hair loss primarily involves gradual and consistent thinning of the hair in certain areas of the scalp, while stress-induced hair loss usually manifests in high levels of shedding.
Experiencing both shedding and thinning at the same time can have a serious effect on self-esteem, and even make it look like youre losing your hair at a more alarming rate. If youre suffering from both, its important that you address your stress levels and seek treatment for hereditary hair loss too.
If you are looking for medicinal treatment options, remember to always talk to your pharmacist or healthcare professional first.
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How To Stop Stress
When youre stressed, you know it. You might feel tired, anxious, angryor just head straight to fridge. But there are other ways that stress can take a toll, and one big one involves your hair: stress-induced hair loss. While its common to shed 80 to 100 individual strands each day, if youre noticing large clumps of hair collecting near your showers drain or hair breakage on your brush, stress could be the culprit.
In fact, research published in the journal PLOS One found that stress may actually interfere with the immune response in a way than hampers growth. There are three known types of hair loss that can be attributed to stress, says Evan Rieder, M.D., who is dual board-certified in psychiatry and dermatology. And its more common than you may think, he says.
Now onto the good news: Theres plenty you can do to address this phenomena if youre starting to feel things are getting a little thinner when you run your fingers through your hair. Here, Rieder and Amy Wechsler, M.D. show you what a head-first stress management strategy looks like.
How Does Stress Cause Hair Loss
Most of the time, hair loss is caused by hormonal and genetic factors such as a sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone . However, in some cases, external factors such as stress can take their toll on your hairline, causing everything from thinning to patches of total hair loss.
Stress is linked to a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium, which can interrupt your hairs natural growth cycle.
Like your skin and nails, your hair doesnt grow in just one stage. Instead, each hair completes a complex growth cycle that involves multiple stages, from growing from the follicle to reaching its full length, breaking away and repeating the cycle.
In the first stage the anagen phase your hair starts to grow from the hair follicle, growing by about six inches every year. Each strand of hair continues to grow for two to six years before it reaches its full length.
After the hair reaches its full length, it enters the catagen phase. In this phase, the hair follicle starts to shrink. The strand of hair detaches from the follicle and stops growing. Since the hair isnt attached to the follicle, its no longer supplied with nutrients from your body.
After about two weeks, the hair exits the catagen phase and enters the telogen phase. At this point, a new hair will start to grow from the follicle, causing the old strand of hair to detach from your body and shed.
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Stress And Hair Loss Causes
Stress induced hair loss can either be acute or chronic.Acute Hair all from stress occurs as a response to a high-stress incident. In this case, hair loss occurs 2-3 months after the catalyzing event. Examples include major surgery, car accident, high fever, emotional trauma, and even crash dieting. This type of stress induced alopecia will begin to regrow within 3-6 months after identifying the stress trigger.Chronic stress is an ongoing and will result in continuous excessive hair shedding. Hair fall from chronic stress may indicate an underlying medical condition such as a thyroid issue, medical illness, or poor nutrition. Chronic stress-related hair loss will cause general hair thinning all over the scalp. Once the stress triggers or condition is under control, hair should start to grow back. Anxiety hair loss occurs from ongoing chronic stress that takes an extreme toll on a persons mental, emotional, and psychological wellbeing.
What Treatments Are Available For Stress
The first step to successfully treat stress-related hair loss will be a consultation with an experienced dermatologist. Your dermatologist will test for factors that are associated with telogen effluvium such as Vitamin D deficiency, thyroid abnormalities, or iron deficiency, and will create a custom treatment plan that addresses these factors as needed. There are numerous effective treatments available to address all types of hair loss, including stress-related hair loss. Your treatment plan may include oral and topical medications, laser treatments, injections, or even hair transplants.
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Can Heartbreak Cause Hair Loss
Heartbreak is the most common cause of hair loss due to emotional stress or trauma. It can last for as long as the heartbreak goes on for, plus an additional 7 or 8 months for the hair to grow back properly.
This is because the emotional stress the heartbreak will shift hair follicles into the resting phase too quickly, preventing them from growing properly. The hair then moves into the shedding phase and starts again. However, if the emotional trauma is not addressed, the cycle happens again before the hair can grow properly.
Once the emotional stress has been resolved or is being resolved, the hair can start to regrow. However, this can take roughly 7 to 8 months, as all the hair that was pushed into the resting phase early needs to shed before it can regrow.
What Is Telogen Effluvium
Telogen Effluvium is a hair loss condition that occurs when there is a significant drop in the number of hair follicles, resulting in hair shedding.
People suffering from this condition do not lose all their scrap hair, but their hair is usually noticeably thin in extreme cases.
The condition occurs as an uneven thinning of hair on the scalp with some areas being more severe than others.
Telogen Effluvium condition usually develops in three basic ways that include abrupt, slowly and through truncated growth cycles.
When something that shocks the growing hair follicles happens abruptly, it causes the hair follicles to go into a resting state, resulting in an increased hair shedding and diffuse thinning of hair on your scalp.
Hair shedding that occurs as a result of an abrupt trigger is usually not permanent and the state of your hair can be restored by dealing with the trigger.
Telogen effluvium that develops slowly does not immediately cause hair loss. Instead, it affects the growing cycle of hair by prolonging the period hair stays in a resting state resulting in gradual accrual of hair follicles in the telogen state, which leaves fewer hair follicles growing.
Stress is the major cause of TE among other factors such as poor diet and thus, the most effective treatment method is the elimination of stress trigger factors.
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Treating Stress From The Source
Wary of this advice, I decided it was at least easy and affordable to try. So I cancelled my next appointment at the dermatologist and didnt buy any special oils or scalp massage tools.
Instead, I went out with friends. I worked out. I took my vitamins. I watched movies. I cried when I felt like crying. I made an effort to do five minutes of breathwork and ten minutes of meditation in the morning. I slept in when it felt good. I went to therapy. I meal prepped. Basically, I lived my life.
And you know what? The next month, I did see new hairs start to come in. And more, the month after. Until finally, the spot went away completely.
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Tackling Hair Loss Holistically
For those who have had the virus, hair loss has become a common symptom of the recovery process, usually occurring three to four months after getting sick but sometimes experienced sooner. Dr. Jerry Shapiro, a dermatologist at NYU Langone Health who specializes in hair loss, said that while a healthy head of hair usually includes 90 percent anagen, or growing, hairs and 10 percent telogen, or resting, hairs, that ratio can shift up to 50-50 after experiencing a high fever or flulike illness.
For Misty Gant, a 35-year-old wellness coach living on the Lower East Side, the change happened fast. After being infected in March, Ms. Gant started losing handfuls of her long red hair in the shower and began to notice balding at her temples a few weeks after recovering.
It was really hard because my hair is important to me its part of my identity, she said, noting that before it thinned, it was her most complimented feature.
Ms. Gant, who regularly dives into health and wellness research for clients, soon landed in forums full of people who had gone through similar post-Covid-19 hair loss. After doctors confirmed her suspicion that she was suffering from a post-viral inflammatory response, she readied an arsenal of holistic remedies to try to fix it.
I try to do everything the natural way, and as a wellness practitioner, I know that things take time, Ms. Gant said.
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