According to the Mayo Clinic, too much stress on the body can result in hair loss, a condition known as telogen effluvium, validating the concern that stress and hair loss can be related. Approximately one-third of those who struggle with stress and/or anxiety, experience hair loss, thinning, and balding.
In previous articles, we’ve talked about the three types of hair growth/loss phases; anagen, catagen, and telogen. Hair loss that may be associated with high-stress levels happens mostly during the telogen effluvium phase. You may recall that in the telogen effluvium phase, heavy stress drives large numbers of hair follicles into a resting stage.
Within the first three months of significant stress, telogen effluvium may occur. New hair typically begins to grow within three to six months after the initial hair loss. If the stressful event or period endures, new hair may not be able to grow until the stressful situation subsides or passes. You may also experience hair loss in specific areas on the head, the entire head, as well as other parts of the body.
Hair loss may persist indefinitely, occur frequently, or come and go occasionally. The inconsistency makes it even more frustrating and stressful and sadly adds more anxiety to the already disturbing situation.
During stressful and anxiety-ridden times, it is common to experience the following hair loss symptoms:
- Thinning hair
- Hair falling out in clumps
- Bald spots appear
- More hair is lost or thinning than usual
- It appears you may be going bald
- Hair is lost on your head and other parts of the body
- Excessive hair is in your brush, comb, tub or shower
- Anxiety is creating a fear of going bald
Stress Related Hair Loss in Men
During stressful times, it is not uncommon to notice many disturbing physical symptoms, such as: feeling anxious, exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, and some people may even feel ill with a headache or upset stomach.
It is critical to learn how to manage stress in any way you can. By sharing these five tips with your clients, it will help strengthen your professional relationship, build trust, and inhibit unnecessary hair loss through stressful times. This is not an exhaustive list of tips, but some essential guidelines to help anyone experiencing significant stress in their lives:
- Relaxation techniques – regularly practice or learn deep breathing, meditation, and yoga.
- Make regular exercise a priority – take walks, runs, calisthenics, play sports, aerobics, pilates, etc.
- Surround yourself with positive people and energy.
- Avoid isolating yourself from others – during the current shelter at home situation, use Zoom, FaceTime, Social Media, Telephone, Text, etc. to interact with others.
- If you are feeling extremely overwhelmed, depressed, experiencing anxiety attacks or having any thoughts of suicide, immediately seek professional help from a therapist or suicide prevention hotline*.
The good news is that it is possible to stop and reverse stress and anxiety-related hair loss. If a person experiencing mental health strain makes a concerted effort to reduce that stress, the body can heal and reverse any damage created by the trauma. Unfortunately, there are no quick-fix solutions to stress and anxiety-related hair loss. Be encouraged because you can put into practice the tips mentioned above and eventually see a positive change in your mental health, as well as the condition and health of your hair. As during any crisis, or significantly stressful situation, this too shall pass!
*National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255