Hair loss due to stress: reactional hair loss

Hair, like skin, is sensitive to stress. It is not uncommon to see it fall out after an emotional shock or a period of intense stress. So, can stress really be a cause of alopecia? How does it work? Find out here.



Stress and hair loss: what are the links?

There is indeed a link between stress and alopecia, just as there is between hair loss and fatigue. In the case of hair loss after stress, neurons close to the hair follicles are activated, inducing inflammation responsible for hair loss. In fact, it has been proven that at the level of the scalp, the cells subjected to temporary or deep stress release molecules, neurotransmitters that trigger an acute inflammatory reaction. This has the effect of inhibiting and deregulating the normal hair cycle: the hair then goes into a phase of premature loss (telogen phase), which causes a sudden and brutal loss of hair 2 to 3 months after the stressor. This is acute telogen effluvium, more commonly known as reactional hair loss. If the stress is temporary, it lasts less than 6 months.

Hair loss due to stress: identifying everyday stressors

You cannot develop a plan of attack without knowing your opponent. This rule is even truer for curbing hair loss after stress and restarting hair growth. Not all stress is the same and it is important to properly identify it:

  • There is everyday stress: difficulties in juggling work and personal life, overwork, fatigue, mental overload...
  • And there is stress due to a major psychological shock, such as the death of a loved one or a traumatic event.

Both may require the intervention of a health professional, as stress has a significant impact on general health. Stress can disrupt the normal life cycle of the hair on the scalp and accelerate the transition to the telogen phase. Stress is a frequent cause of reactional alopecia or acute telogen effluvium.

Hair loss due to stress: is there a "miracle" treatment?

Acute telogen effluvium requires appropriate management. Efficient growth of healthy hair involves stages of intense cell proliferation that require oxygen and many nutrients brought to the follicles by the small blood vessels of the scalp.
The treatment of hair loss due to stress is not done with medication. Cosmetic supplements, such as vitamin and mineral supplements, can be helpful in stimulating regrowth after hair loss due to stress. The action of nutritional supplements can be complemented by simple changes in your hair care routine, such as using a specific anti-hair loss shampoo and conditioner every day. Also, avoid making things worse by reducing harmful hair habits, such as intense use of hair straighteners, blow-drying too hot or braiding too tightly. A stimulating anti-hair loss lotion massaged into the scalp can also help stimulate regrowth after hair loss due to stress.
Note that it takes about 6 months to see the first signs of hair regrowth after stress alopecia and that it can take 12 to 18 months for hair to return to its normal state.

Stress and hair loss: when to worry?

In today's world, hair loss due to stress can affect anyone. If the stress episode is only temporary, the hair loss will be temporary and will only last a few months before returning to a normal state. There is no need to worry. This is one of the main causes of alopecia in women.
When this hair loss becomes established over time (more than 6 months), it is preferable to consult a doctor to find the cause of the hair loss and the stress. This is all the more important since chronic stress can have a negative effect on the general health of the body and should not be allowed to set in.

How to stop hair loss due to stress?

Hair loss caused by stress can be stopped by eliminating the triggering factor, i.e., stress, when possible.
If it is a question of everyday stress, it can be reduced by regularly taking time to relax. Physical activity can also reduce stress and its harmful effects on the body.
If the stress is more profound, it is important to get in touch with a health professional so that it can be treated as soon as possible and not allowed to persist for too long.
Whatever the cause of the stress, anything that can stimulate healthy hair growth will be of interest to stop or limit hair loss due to stress: scalp massage, balanced diet, food supplements, anti-hair loss lotion and shampoo, etc. All of these can easily be integrated into a hair care routine.

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