stress and hair lossWhilst stress might not turn your hair grey, is it responsible for hair loss? So far opinions have been split and often experts find the link between hair loss and stress depends on what type of stress you are actually under.

What’s causing you stress?

First of all it is worth considering what actually causes hair loss. There are a variety of stressors that can result in our bodies losing hair, the most notable of these being when we undergo some form of physiological stress.

Such stressors include:

  • Major surgery
  • Pregnancy
  • Poor diet
  • Severe illness

There are of course forms of emotional stress that can play a significant role in hair loss. But before you worry about whether occasionally working late or having to meet a work deadline is going to make you bald, Paradi Mirmirani of the Permanente Medical Group in California believes that this types of stress isn’t going to make you lose hair. Rather it is the type of stress that causes you to lose sleep, changes in hormone levels or that changes your appetite that is going to have a significant impact.

Of course emotional stress can lead to physiological stress, for example, if you are stressed to the point where it affects you physiologically; such as you lose your appetite or you can’t sleep then this could have an adverse effect on your hair.

How stress affects hair

Stress can affect the hair in several ways, from creating hormone imbalances, causing trichollitomania, alopecia or telogen effluvium:

  • Tricotillomania is when someone has an irresistible urge to pull out their hair and is often associated with stressful situations and a variety of similar factors.
  • Telogen effluvium is when stress causes a large number of your hair follicles to enter a resting phase, which causes your hair to stop growing and fall out.
  • Alopecia occurs when the body’s immune system begins to attack hair follicles and results in hair loss.

Regardless of the condition or the type of stress you are suffering from, it is important to recognise that it doesn’t have to be a permanent issue. By controlling your stress levels you will be remedying your hair loss. If you do notice any hair loss that is more than usual then be sure to visit your doctor for advice.

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By Ian Watson

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