Stress is terrible for your body in many ways. It can contribute to stomach issues, heart problems and depression. Not only that, but studies have shown high stress levels can even cause hair loss.
Read on to learn more about the connection between stress and hair loss.
The three stages of hair growth
Before learning about the connection between stress and hair loss, it’s first important to understand the hair growth cycle. There are three stages involved in hair growth, including growth (anagen), degeneration (catagen) and rest (telogen).
During the first stage, anagen, hair pushes through the skin. The hair stops growing during the second stage, or catagen. This is also the stage at which base follicles begin to shrink. Hair falls out during the telogen stage and the process starts all over.
Stem cells found in hair follicles drive the growth cycle. A team of researchers conducted a study on how stress impairs these stem cells.
Dr. Ya-Chieh Hsu’s study
Harvard University’s Dr. Ya-Chieh Hsu led a team that studied the connection between stress and hair loss. They did so by causing mild stress to mice over several weeks, which resulted in raised corticosterone levels. The scientists then discovered that corticosterone prevents a cluster of cells underneath the hair follicle, called the dermal papilla, from producing GAS6 molecules. GAS6 molecules help in the activation of hair follicle stem cells.
Basically, they found that stress produces a hormone that inhibits the stem cells necessary for hair growth.
Types of hair loss associated with stress
High levels of stress are known to cause three different types of hair loss. The first type, telogen effluvium, occurs when stress causes multiple hair follicles to go into a resting stage. Those affected by telogen effluvium might start seeing significant hair loss within several months. This type of hair loss is usually temporary and may resolve itself.
The second, trichotillomania, results from stress-induced hair pulling. It’s considered an impulse control disorder and can usually be treated with therapy. That said, there’s no official cure for trichotillomania.
The third, alopecia areata, occurs when the body’s immune system damages hair follicles. The hair loss associated with alopecia areata is usually unpredictable.
Getting your stress under control
If you can get your stress under control, your hair may start growing back. There are plenty of ways to control stress, including meditation, healthy eating habits and regular exercise. Trying to control stress might be difficult, but it’s important in promoting good overall health.
If you’re having trouble controlling your stress, consider asking your doctor for treatment recommendations. In some cases, they might recommend seeing a therapist.
Getting your stress completely under control can take time. Additionally, controlling your stress doesn’t always mean your hair will grow back, but all isn’t lost. There are plenty of great treatment options out there for hair loss.
If your stress levels are causing hair loss and you’re ready to seek treatment, contact the experts at Raveen Hair Replacement. We specialize in non-surgical hair replacement and provide a wide range of hair treatment products.