You might not know this – our hair isn’t meant to stay in our scalp forever. Each strand of hair has its lifespan (4.5 years), after which it falls off naturally to be replaced by new hairs within six months. If you lose 100 hairs per day, it’s considered normal. If it’s more than that, you probably have hair loss.
Why Does Hair Loss Happen?
The hair growth cycle occurs in three phases. Your hair is in one of these three phases, at any given time:
- The anagen phase: In this phase, the hair is growing.
- The catagen phase: In this phase, the hair reaches its maximum growth potential.
- The telogen phase: This is a resting phase where the scalp sheds dead or inactive hair.
The patterns for baldness are different in men and women. In the case of male pattern baldness, hair loss usually occurs on the front and the top of the head, whereas for females, hair thinning can be seen on the crown of the head. When the regular hair growth pattern is interrupted, hair loss happens. This interruption can be due to a variety of reasons, including:
- Family history
- Hairstyles and treatments
- Hormonal changes and medical conditions
- Medication and supplements
- Radiation therapy to the head
- Stress and anxiety
Throughout a lifetime, people experience anxiety for various reasons – from career issues, relationship problems, and increased financial obligations to illness or injuries – several complex life events and life-long struggles lead to stress. Studies have shown that anxiety-induced stress can result in various health conditions affecting the quality of life or life itself.
Another symptom of stress and anxiety is hair loss.
This article will discuss the link between anxiety-triggered stress and hair loss.
The Link Between Anxiety and Hair Loss
Anxiety doesn’t cause hair loss directly. The anxiety-triggered stress brought on by everyday difficult life events is responsible for hair loss. The three types of hair loss that occur due to high-stress levels include:
- Telogen effluvium. In this type of hair loss, high stress levels push a significant number of hair follicles into the telogen phase. The affected hairs fall within a few months when you wash your hair or simply comb it.
- Trichotillomania. This type of hair loss is an irresistible urge to pull hair out from your scalp, eyebrows, and other areas of your body. Hair pulling is a way of dealing with negative feelings such as stress.
- Alopecia areata. Stress is one of the reasons that are thought to cause alopecia areata. In this type, the hair follicles are attacked by the body’s own immune system, causing hair loss.
Potential Ways to Cope With Stress-Induced Hair Loss
Fortunately, stress-induced hair loss is a temporary condition and recovers entirely after several months to a year. Here are a few steps you can take to quicken the recovery period:
Hair Loss Medication
In some cases, hair loss can be treated with topical medication. For men, Regaine scalp foam and Finasteride are recommended. These medications promote hair growth by increasing blood flow to the scalp. The medicines also help in hair regrowth after chronic telogen effluvium hair loss. Biotin, a vitamin, also helps in promoting hair growth.
Manage Your Stress
You must manage your stress levels to prevent hair loss. Consider seeking professional help from a therapist. Some of the stress management techniques you can do at home are:
- Deep breathing
- Spending time outdoors
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is essential for your overall health, including your hair. Crash dieting and malnutrition are known to cause telogen effluvium. Eat these foods to prevent hair loss:
- Lean protein
- Whole grains
- Lots of fruits and vegetables
Therapy can help prevent trichotillomania. Some of the therapies that can help prevent hair-pullers from puling their hair are:
- Cognitive therapy: In this type of therapy, the therapist may help the hair-puller identify and look into distorted beliefs connected to hair pulling.
- Habit reversal training. This type of behavior therapy helps hair-pullers recognize the situations that can trigger hair-pulling and teach them to substitute it with other behaviors instead.
It can be a devastating condition when hair loss and anxiety are combined. However, the good news is that if your hair loss is anxiety-related, it isn’t permanent and doesn’t affect your hair health in the long term. Address and treat your anxiety, and you should be on the road to recovery.