Easily dismissed as apples and oranges, hair loss and stress are actually oftentimes related. Sure, a common person loses around 100 hair strands per day, but we’re talking about a sudden fallout or thinning and patches on your scalp.
While we don’t succumb to the mainstream concept of beauty that involves shampoo commercial-worthy hair, we can’t deny how having great hair strengthens our confidence level. Believe me, I’ve gone through it before.
Fourteen years ago, I suffered from a medical condition called Alopecia areata. Yes, a total hair loss. And my dermatologist, after running all possible tests, said it’s due to severe stress.
Alopecia areata is a condition when our immune system attacks our hair follicles, therefore, slowing down hair production.
There’s also what we call Telogen effluvium where large numbers of our hair follicles go into a resting phase, thus, falling out. This type of hair loss is rather abrupt and temporary, but this is associated with our stress levels as well.
We have about 100,000 hair follicles. Each one follows the cycle of growing (anagen) and resting (telogen). We shed hair which follicles are in the resting phase. But when we experience stress, i.e. emotional, our hair follicles in the growing phase can suddenly shift to the resting phase, causing hair loss.
Lastly, there is a condition called Trichotillomania (something which you or someone you know might have). This is a hair-pulling disorder characterised by the irresistible urge to pull our hair in response to stress or anxiety. I’ve known people who do this when faced with tough situations.
Stress is a cruel enemy. In fact, it not only causes hair loss but other diseases, too. But once we know how to efficiently manage our stress level, we can maintain healthy hair and a healthy body overall.
Below are ways we can improve our hair health and get our stresses under control:
- Try doing meditation or yoga as these activities reduce the impact of any stressors.
- Explore scalp massages. Several studies show how a scalp massage actually helps grow hair besides making us feel better.
- Take supplements, especially those with Vitamin D and biotin. These vitamins are essential to hair growth.
- Consume more protein, i.e. eggs, chicken, fish, nuts, beans. A protein called keratin makes up our hair follicles, so a protein-rich diet can help prevent hair loss.
The most important tip, though, is to know when to treat your self to a well-deserved rest!