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Hair loss and stress

Just like the skin, the hair is sensitive to stress. Hair loss is, therefore, a common occurrence after an emotional shock. With that in mind, can stress really cause alopecia in women? Through which physiological mechanism does it contribute to hair loss? Here is what we discovered.

What are the links between stress and hair loss?

Like with hair loss and fatigue, there is a clear link between hair loss and stress. In the case of stress-related hair loss, the neurons in proximity to the hair follicles are activated, triggering inflammation which causes the hair to fall out. In fact, it has been proven that, when the cells in the scalp are exposed to sudden or intense stress, they release neurotransmitters (substance P) which trigger an acute inflammatory cascade. The latter inhibits and disrupts the normal hair cycle: the hair enters the telogen phase prematurely, resulting in sudden hair loss three to four months after the triggering factor. This is acute telogen effluvium, more commonly known as occasional or reactional hair loss. It lasts no more than six months.

Stress-related hair loss: identifying the daily stressors

A treatment plan cannot be implemented without knowing what you are fighting against. This rule is especially true when it comes to stopping hair loss following a “wave of stress” and to rebooting hair growth. Not all stress is equal. Some may be caused by factors that require extensive treatment by a healthcare professional. There is daily stress: difficulties juggling one’s professional and private life, burnout, fatigue, mental workload, etc. And then there is stress due to a major psychological shock such as the death of a loved one. Either type can have a detrimental effect on your scalp and your overall health.

Stress-related hair loss: is there a “miracle” treatment?

Acute telogen effluvium requires an adapted treatment. Physiologically speaking, a healthy hair follicle, in order to grow effectively, goes through intensive cellular proliferation stages that require oxygen and a number of nutritional elements supplied to the follicles by the blood capillaries in the scalp. A cosmetic adjuvant treatment such as food supplements containing vitamins and minerals may help stimulate regrowth following stress-related hair loss. The action of food supplements (which is internal) can be combined with simple modifications to your hair care routine, mainly the use of a shampoo and conditioner that are specifically adapted to prevent hair loss. Also, avoid worsening the condition by prohibiting harsh hair care habits such as the overuse of straighteners, overly hot hairdryers or overly tight braids.

Note that approximately 6 months are required before you start seeing any regrowth following stress-related alopecia, and a return to the hair’s initial state may take 12 to 18 months.

Our care routines

My anti-occasional female hair loss routine (less than 6 months)

Action against occasional hair loss (caused by stress, fatigue, post-pregnancy, changing seasons, etc.)

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My anti-chronic female hair loss routine (over 6 months)

Action against chronic hair loss

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My male anti-hair loss routine

Action against chronic hair loss (> 6 months)

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