But just how worried should you be?
Well, there’s good news – and not so good news.
The good news is that a couple bad days, or a few stressful moments are NOT going to cause you to lose your hair.
The not so good news is that hair loss can be caused by ongoing, long-term stress.
And it may be unexpected stress, at that.
Hair Loss and Physical Stress
Let’s start with the kind of stress most people don’t consider when thinking about hair loss – physiological, or physical, stress.
This stress doesn’t have to have anything to do directly with your hair, either, so don’t think it’s only about pulling a bun too tight or using the wrong brush.
Physical stress that leads to hair loss can be an accident, illness, extreme weight loss, or poor nutrition. Even a change in prescriptions may cause hair loss.
Your body registers all of those – and reacts to them – as stressors. And that means if they go on long enough, they can cause hair loss.
It’s often hard to recognize the hair loss as a symptom of physical stress because it can take so long for the cause to lead to the effect.
In other words, it may take up to three or four months after the accident, illness, surgery, or weight loss for your hair to start falling out. But it really was caused by that initial physical stress.
Luckily, so long as the physical stress is a temporary event, the hair loss should be temporary as well.
Hair Loss and Emotional Stress
This is the kind of stress most people think about when they think about hair loss and stress – and with good reason.
When you’re stressed, your body goes into “fight or flight” mode, which, in turn, takes over many of the other systems throughout your body – including hair growth.
Shut that system down long enough, and your hair follicles go into resting mode, which is when hair falls out.
Unfortunately, life is stressful enough these days that many people are in “fight or flight” mode almost all the time.
Your adrenal glands are always working overtime, so they take and keep control of the systems that allow your hair to stay healthy, thick, and strong.
Playing a role in hair loss and stress is sleep – or a lack of it. The more stressed you are, the less sleep you’re likely to get.
The less sleep you get, the more stressed you’re likely to be. It’s a cycle that’s hard on your hair, and harder to break. Every part of your body needs sleep in order to restore itself, and that includes your hair follicles.
Since your hair is sensitive to changes in restorative sleep, if you aren’t getting enough of it, you’ll probably start seeing the results in your brush and drain.
As with physical stress, though, if you can get control of your emotional stress so it’s a temporary event, your hair should start growing back.
So how do you keep hair loss and stress from being a permanent concern? It may not be easy, but it is simple…
Combat Stress – Combat Hair Loss
1. Do what you can to reduce stress. This is the one that’s not so easy, but it’s also one of the most important steps you can take to help with hair loss caused by stress. There’s no right or wrong way to reduce stress. Still, consider trying some combination of these:
- Get exercise. A walk can help reduce stress, even if you think you’re too stressed to get off the couch.
- People with friends to laugh with, talk to, and just be around tend to have lower stress levels.
- Learn to say no. Although being social can help with stress, feeling obligated or over-extended increases stress levels. It’s okay to set boundaries.
- Try yoga. Or tai chi. Or meditation. There are many relaxation techniques that have proven track records. Just because one doesn’t fit your style doesn’t mean none of them will.
- Find someone to talk to. A therapist or counselor may be able to help if you need more than a friendly ear. And the stigma that used to be attached to finding one is long gone. So ask for help dealing with your stress if you need it.
2. Get more sleep. If you can manage your stress, you should be able to get to sleep easier in the evenings. Still, it’s important to make sleep a priority in its own right, too. Take an hour or two before bedtime to start winding down, so your body recognizes it’s time to rest. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, so your body can learn a sleep schedule. And keep your bedroom peaceful.
3. Check your diet. Eating a proper diet can help with both emotional and physical stress. Make sure you’re getting plenty of vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Protein and vitamin B are especially important to hair health. Make sure you’re getting fish, nuts, fruit, and avocado along with your leafy greens and healthy carbs.
4. Help your hair along. While hair loss and stress may be connected, even stress-related hair loss can be helped by advancements in research. There are products available that have been shown to support healthy hair, discourage hair loss, and even encourage hair growth – products like Restore FX – so that you can keep the hair you’ve got instead of watching it go down the drain.
If it’s emotional or physical, stress and hair loss ARE connected. So disconnect them, with these simple steps, and Restore FX.