Hair and stress are inextricably linked, both in reality and in culture. Think of anyone that’s stereotypically stressed, and you’ll probably be picturing them tugging at or pulling their hair out.
But why is that? What exactly is it about stress that’s so intimately linked with hair loss?
The Physiological Effects of Stress
Although stress is generally considered to be an emotion, akin to anxiety, worry or concern; it can actually translate to some very real physiological effects. In that way stress transcends the emotional, and can have some significant impacts on our bodies.
Here are some of the effects that stress can have on the body:
- Stress can lead to poor sleep, which diminishes academic and physical performance
- It makes our muscles more tense, leaving us in a constant state of guardedness and paranoia (this can manifest itself through migraines and chronic back pain)
- It can hurt our breathing, creating complications and issues within our respiratory systems
- Gastrointestinal consequences, such as a near-constant state of nausea
- Increased release of the stress hormone cortisol
- Negative effects on the cardiovascular system
- Substantial, sudden hair loss
The Relationship Between Stress and Hair Loss
As has been shown, too much stress can have horrific consequences on the human body. In terms of hair loss, high levels of anxiety can trigger many different types of hair loss conditions.
Stress can lead to forms of alopecia; to telogen effluvium (more hairs than normal fall out); and to trichotillomania, among many others.
In addition to these concerns, times of high stress levels can lead to weaker, more brittle hair, which can be more susceptible to falling out.
Despite the extent of correlation between high levels of stress and anxiety and hair loss, it’s worth nothing that not all hair loss can be attributed to stress. In fact, hair loss can occur for a slew of reasons. Some of these reasons can be explained, others can’t be.
With such a variety of different causes for hair loss, it’s never been more important to seek out professional help. If you’re experiencing hair loss, and aren’t sure how to proceed, it’s time to find the right information.