Hair Loss Awareness 101 – Stress

7. True or False?  Stress causes hair loss.

True: Stress related hair loss affects both men and women. 

You often hear people say that stress is giving them grey hair, consider them the lucky ones. For many men and women too much stress can cause major damage to health, mood, productivity, relationships, and quality of life. Some of the physiological stressors commonly linked to hair loss include rapid weight loss/gain, caloric deficiency, and, in women, hormone fluctuations following childbirth or switching/stopping oral contraceptives. Even though physiological change is the underlying cause of stress-related hair loss, added emotional stress can exacerbate the effects, leading to a more pronounced bout of shedding. As we age, the growing cycle slows like most other body processes, so periods of stress during middle age and later in life can make it that much harder for the hair to fully recover.

 

Contrary to what some people believe, stress-related hair loss can affect both men and women. It is most common in men over the age of 30, while women are usually affected at a slightly later age. While normal (hereditary /pattern) hair loss often results in “bald patches”, stress-related hair loss usually presents as a general thinning of the hair. Numerous studies have shown a statistical link between high levels of stress and hair loss. A 1998 study at Western Kentucky University concluded that “women who experience high stress are 11 times more likely to experience hair loss”.

Some hair replacement clients notice areas of regrowth after the stress related hair loss is relieved. Many women who suffer from stress related hair loss are experiencing temporary hair loss. If healthy hair follicles still exist on the scalp, they may once again produce strands of hair when unhealthy stress levels are reduced. This regrowth is most common in women with Trichotillomania who have had hair replacement.