How To Regain Hair Loss From Stress: What To Know
For some of us, bouts of stress lead to sleepless nights and acne flares, but for others, it might trigger hair loss.
Yep, you read that right — stress-induced hair loss is a thing, and according to experts, it’s on the rise. Fortunately, it is possible to regain any hair you’ve lost at the hands of stress.
Read on as we dive into the world of #HairCare to uncover all you need to know about reversing hair loss from stress.
What Is the Hair Growth Cycle?
Believe it or not, your hair is never just stagnant — the follicles are in a constant cycle between three hair growth phases:
- The anagen phase. Also known as the “active phase” or “growth phase,” the anagen phase occurs when the cells in the follicle of your hair are most rapidly dividing, so more new hair is formed.
- The catagen phase. Also known as the “transition phase,” the catagen phase starts when the anagen phase ends and tends to last about a week or two. During this period, follicles shrink and hair growth slows.
- The telogen phase. Also known as the “resting phase,” this is the final phase and usually accounts for 6-8 percent of all hairs. During this time, the hair is released and falls out of the follicle. Up to 150 hairs can shed daily — this is considered to be normal hair shedding.
So, in a nutshell, if you notice loose strands on your pillow after a restful snooze or locks of hair in your brush, don’t panic — hair shedding is completely normal and something everyone experiences due to the cycle in which hair grows.
Is Hair Loss Different From Hair Shedding?
Yup. As mentioned previously, hair shedding is a perfectly normal and natural thing that occurs as our tresses cycle through the three phases of hair growth.
Hair loss, on the other hand, is the unexpected, heavy loss of hair that may result from genetics, hormonal changes, medical conditions, aging, and stress.
Why Does Emotional Stress Cause Hair Loss?
When confronted with a major emotional stressor, the body responds by pushing more hairs than usual from the growth phase (aka the anagen phase) to the resting phase (aka the telogen phase). This condition is called telogen effluvium.
Normally, about 90 percent of the hairs that live on your head are in the growth phase, and up to 10 percent are in the resting phase. But when you experience stress-induced hair loss, up to 50 percent of the hair follicles can enter the resting phase at the same time. And a few months later, those same strands will shed.
As for why this happens, experts aren’t sure, but it’s thought that severe stress can affect the follicle’s ability to function. When dealing with a super stressful situation, the body releases the hormones known as adrenaline and cortisol as part of our natural fight-or-flight response.
These hormones reduce blood flow to the skin and redirect nutrients to our vital organs. And since your gorgeous mane isn’t considered vital, your hair follicles may experience a temporary drop in nourishment that could eventually result in — you guessed it — stress-related hair loss.
In addition to telogen effluvium, there are two other causes of stress and hair loss, though they’re less common:
- Alopecia areata. In this condition, the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing the strands to fall out. In some cases, alopecia areata can just cause hair thinning, but for some, it leads to baldness.
- Trichotillomania. If you’ve ever found yourself pulling your locks when you’re dealing with stress, it could be a sign of trichotillomania — aka hair-pulling disorder.
What’s the Best Way To Encourage Healthy Hair Growth?
There are many things you can do to combat hair loss and encourage new growth. Not sure where to start? Check out these helpful tips below:
Tip #1: Get Your Stress Levels in Check
If you want to learn how to achieve hair regrowth after chronic stress or a stressful event, you’ll need to adopt some stress management techniques that work for you. Why? Because regrowth after hair loss from stress can only happen after the stress is removed. With this in mind, here are some awesome stress management techniques you can try at home:
- Deep breathing
- Counseling or therapy
Tip #2: Massage Your Scalp
If you’ve never had your scalp massaged, you’re missing out. Not only does it feel oh-so-good, but massaging the scalp helps to boost blood flow which may stimulate the hair follicles and boost healthy hair growth.
Plus, taking the time to massage your scalp each day can also help you to relieve stress and tension — an added bonus if these emotions are at the root of your hair loss!
Tip #3: Take Supplements That Support Hair Growth
There are many supplements designed to improve hair growth, but it’s important to keep in mind that their efficacy isn’t always backed by science. That said, some have proven more effective than others, so we went ahead and listed those for you below:
- Biotin helps support keratin production in hair and may increase the rate of follicle growth.
- Collagen is broken down into amino acids (namely, hydroxyproline, glycine, and proline) that are used to build new proteins and compounds that help foster hair growth by nurturing hair health. (Try Call Me Collagen!)
- Probiotics can lead to smooth skin and hair growth, according to a study conducted by MIT in 2013. You’ll find a number of probiotic supplements on the market, but to support longer, thicker, and shinier hair — we recommend Healthy Hair Probiotics.
- Fish Oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which nourish the hair and support its growth.
Note: Always talk to your doctor before taking any new supplement — especially if you’re being treated for or taking medication for a chronic illness or condition. Your primary care provider is familiar with your medical history and can suggest supplements to take or to stay away from.
Tip #4: Use Hair Loss Medication
While hair loss medications won’t directly halt hair loss from stress, they can help you regain some of hair after stress-related hair loss. Some of the most common medications used for hair loss include:
- Minoxidil (Rogaine)
- Finasteride (Propecia)
- Spironolactone (Carospir, Aldactone)
- Oral dutasteride (Avodart)
Tip #5: Eat a Healthy Diet
A balanced diet full of healthy fats, protein, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals can help thicken thinning hair and prevent nutritional deficiencies that may worsen the problem. When it comes to the best foods for preventing hair loss from stress, opt for foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin D, and iron.
Pro Tip: Struggling to get the nutrients you need to support a fabulous mane? Check out Daily Love Multivitamin + XOmegas™ — a multi-vitamin for women packed with vitamin C, B12, B6, D, zinc, calcium, iron, biotin, magnesium, and so much more.*
Tip #6: Keep Hydrated
Maintaining good hydration improves overall health and gives you soft, supple skin, but did you know it affects hair growth, too? Yup, much like a plant needs H2O to grow, so does your hair.
Drinking water is key for regulating the circulatory system, which nourishes the hair follicles and supports growth. Plus, water activates all the itty-bitty nerve endings and other important sensors in the roots, which increases the natural vitality of hair.
Tip #7: Avoid Over-Washing
If you have thinning hair, try not to wash it with shampoo daily, as this can quickly dry out your hair, which often leads to brittle locks and breakage.
Try to cleanse your tresses with an exfoliating shampoo a few times a week, and if your mane feels limp or dirty, consider using a dry shampoo.
Tip #8: Get More Sleep
The way that sleep impacts your body’s natural hormones is probably the most important part of keeping hair loss at bay.
You see, your body produces a hormone called melatonin. This snoozy hormone helps your body regulate your sleep-wake cycles — and it also has been shown to increase hair growth. But, that’s not all; adequate sleep has also been proven to drastically reduce feelings of tension by boosting the body’s ability to process stress.
Pro Tip: Struggling to catch some Zzzs? Try Sleeping Beauty — the natural ingredients in this dreamy formula help relax and calm the mind so you can fall into a deep, restful slumber, leaving you drowsy-free the next day.*
Tip #9: Avoid Harsh Ingredients
Avoid styling products that contain sulfates, silicones, artificial colors, and fragrances. These harmful ingredients can cause scalp issues, which can sometimes lead to dermatitis, folliculitis, and even patchy hair loss.
Other harsh ingredients to steer clear from include:
- Sodium chloride
- Polyethylene glycols (PEG)
- Diethanolamine (DEA)
- Triethanolamine (TEA)
Tip #10: Ditch Hot Tools
We know it can be tough to break up with your hair dryer or curling iron, but if you want to boost healthy hair growth, it is crucial.
Hot tools irritate breakage-prone hair, which can quickly lead to frizz, split ends, and the appearance of thin, lack-luster tresses.
Pro Tip: If you simply can’t give up your hot tools, use a heat protectant. These products create a shield of heat protection up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which will keep your strands free from heat damage.
A Final Word
If your hair loss is a result of chronic stress, your follicles likely haven’t been permanently damaged, meaning it’s completely possible to restore your mane to its former pre-stress glory.
Once you get your stress levels back in check, your hair should return to a normal rate of growth in due time, but if you need some help to thicken it up sooner rather than later, you can always try some of the awesome tips listed above.
Here at Love Wellness, we believe wellness should be accessible, educational, affordable, and by experts who have been there too. That’s why we created our line of doctor-developed solutions that are not only backed by scientists, but clean, too!
Whether you’re on a mission to combat hair loss, reduce stress, or achieve radiant skin, you can always count on us to have clean supplements that are second-to-none and of course, made with love.
Ready to take your overall health up a notch? Check us out today and see how we can help you to feel good in the skin you're in.
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