You have probably heard that stress can cause hair loss. But you may not know that this can happen in three different ways.
1. Telogen Effluvium (TE)
After male and female pattern baldness, TE is the second most common form of hair loss. In this case, a severe emotional or physical shock makes a large percentage of your hair go into a resting (telogen) phase. Hairs that are in resting phase will fall out within a few months.
Hair growth happens in phases. Your body can disrupt this natural cycle to protect itself in a stressful situation. There is always some percentage of hairs that are in resting phase. But if you have TE, this percentage grows significantly.
TE manifests as a thinning of hair on the whole area of your head. The good news is that you can fully reverse it. Avoiding stressors is a good first step. As you recovering from some traumatic event, the effects of TE will go away with time. Diet changes can be a good idea too, such as an increased zinc or vitamin B intake.
2. Alopecia Areata
This is a disorder which causes your immune system to attack your hair follicles. If you have alopecia areata, your hair will probably fall out in clumps. You can inherit a tendency toward this condition, and it also often follows other immune disorders.
However, research shows that stress can contribute to the development of alopecia areata. Thus, a high-stress event can cause it to flare up.
The effects usually go away even without treatment. But it’s still a good idea to consult a doctor about your alopecia areata. After all, it can indicate that there are problems with your body’s defense mechanisms.
Here is a way that stress can cause hair loss directly. People who have trichotillomania have an irresistible urge to pull their own hair out. Stress usually makes this disorder worse. Behavior therapy can help with this issue.
Very stressful events can activate various disorders that will make you lose your hair. But everyday stress can cause hair loss too, as it disrupts your sleep and negatively impacts your metabolism. A bad circulation caused by lack of sleep can damage your hair at the rots.