Hair loss is caused by many things and affects individuals in different ways. That’s why it’s helpful when celebrities share their experience of hair loss through the media. It gets the message out that this is not an isolated problem, that hair loss can affect anyone regardless of wealth or status.
It’s particularly helpful when celebrities are open about the emotional stress their hair loss caused them. It’s an aspect of hair loss that is often ignored, but it’s one that deserves more coverage. That’s because stress itself can cause hair loss, and the risk is that this becomes a vicious cycle. This article will consider why stress attacks our hair in this way and looks at ways of combatting it.
Back in 2011, supermodel and entrepreneur Tyra Banks was hit by hair loss. She blamed it on the stress of writing a book. Actress Viola Davis, too, blamed her alopecia on stress. Little Mix member Jesy Nelson was bullied and suffered hair loss in her teenage years.
Stress like this causes a type of hair loss known as telogen effluvium. This occurs when there is a serious disruption to the normal growth cycle of the hair. During the growth cycle, hair grows for about four years before entering the resting phase. Usually, about 85% of our hair is in the anagen phase of the growth cycle. Only about 15% of our hair is in the resting or telogen phase.
When telogen effluvium strikes, it pushes as much as 70% of hair into the resting phase. This means that hair that falls every day as part of the natural cycle doesn’t get replaced. The effect of the loss is therefore spread across the scalp, so it presents as a general thinning rather than the patchy loss of some types of alopecia. The hair loss usually becomes noticeable about two or three months after the stressful event.
Telogen effluvium can be triggered by life events; childbirth can be followed by post-partum telogen effluvium, while hormone changes during menopause can also be a cause. Other causes are more random but the common denominator with all of them is some form of stress.
The only silver-lining feature of telogen effluvium is that it is a temporary condition. Once the source of stress is removed, the growth cycle returns to its normal patterns and the lost hair is replaced. That might take a few months. The danger is that stress caused by the hair loss itself can give rise to more prolonged hair loss. That’s why it’s vital to find ways of coping with stress.
Learning to Chill
There are different forms of stress. Events like bereavement or serious illness have timelines of their own that must be allowed to run their course. Other types of stress may be more within our control. For example, the book that caused Tyra Banks so much stress took her five years to write. Only she knows if the loss of her hair was a price worth paying. For ourselves, stress might be brought on by a job we hate or a relationship that has turned toxic. To end the stress, we need to change the situation that’s causing it.
Dealing with a stressful situation is the most important step you can take to fix hair loss caused by telogen effluvium, but there are other things you can do to alleviate stress while you’re in the throes of it or when you’ve just emerged from it. Activities such as yoga and mindfulness can help. Meditation can be a great way to clear your mind and centre yourself.
Finding a form of exercise that you enjoy can greatly improve both your physical and your mental health. It doesn’t have to be something that requires you to sweat gallons or develop a competitive streak; a brisk walk in the park can get the heart pumping while allowing you to enjoy nature.
Some people find it helpful to talk about their problems. If it’s something you don’t feel comfortable discussing with a friend or relative, counselling or therapy might be the answer. If you can’t find what you’re looking for with an internet search, ask your doctor to point you in the direction of an appropriate service.
Often, hair loss strikes at the heart of an individual’s self-esteem and sense of identity. As a result, it can cause real emotional stress for that person. This is problematic since stress itself can cause hair loss. If the problem is not to worsen, you need to find ways to break the cycle of hair loss followed by stress followed by more hair loss.
If you’re concerned about hair loss, why not speak to a hair expert at Vinci Hair Clinic? We offer an unrivalled range of treatments and products that can be tailored to suit your needs. Plus, we give all our new clients the chance of a free, no-obligation consultation. Book your appointment today!