Stress hair loss: will my hair grow back?
By Prof. Dr. Soner Tatlidede 2021-03-19
Stress hair loss is much more common than we think. When we go through a prolonged situation of stress, it is normal for our body to suffer different symptoms and side effects, such as headache, stomachache, insomnia... and also hair loss.
Many people who are interested in a hair transplant due to the good reviews that this treatment has in Turkey, do so because they feel worried after watching how their hair has started to fall out, and they fear they are suffering from alopecia and that are going to lose much of their hair. Usually this is the case; but sometimes the cause is the relation between stress and hair loss. The question is: is this hair loss reversible? Can we stop it? Is there a treatment?
Why does stress cause hair loss?
Not every time we lose hair we are facing a case of alopecia. Actually, we lose hair every day: in a single day we can lose up to 100 hairs; this is something perfectly normal that is part of the natural cycle of hair growth (anagen phase), resting (catagen phase) and hair fall out (telogen phase). So, what happens when we suffer from stress-hair loss?
Not all hair is in the same phase at the same time; actually, normally just about 15% of our hair is in the fall out phase; what happens during episodes of hair loss due to stress and anxiety, is that our body reacts to a stressful situation by shedding hair, causing a large part of it to suddenly go into the fall out phase. When this happens, daily loss of hair can be multiplied by up to 10... something really alarming.
This sudden hair loss can occur on the head but also elsewhere in the body, and is due to an acute inflammatory reaction caused by neurotransmitters released by cells under stress. There are several studies showing the influence of neurotransmitters like substance P (SP) on hair growth cycles.
Stress is also one of the main causes of telogen effluvium, which is a type of alopecia that occurs mainly - although not only - in young women and that can also have other causes, such as physical trauma, high fever episodes, nutrition deficiencies, menopause, pregnancy, etc.
How long does hair loss last?
OK, we have learnt what causes hair loss from stress but, how long does it last? Well, since hair loss due to stress has an obvious cause in this triggering factor, its duration will of course depend on how long the stressful situation lasts. Normally hair shedding occurs 3-4 months after the stressing factor, and then, it can last weeks or months depending on whether the factor is repeated or not.
In general terms, if we talk about a specific stress situation that does not recur over time, abnormal hair loss can last for 2 or 3 months at most, until body readjusts itself and the normal cycle of growth-shedding of hair is resumed. The problem is that, since it can take up to 4 months since the stressing factor that triggered hair loss, sometimes it is not easy to identify what caused abnormal shedding.
However, if the stress triggering factor is repeated or even prolonged in time, abnormal hair loss can continue for many months, even years, leading to a case of chronic telogen effluvium, which can generate significant bald spots in the scalp, and therefore requiring treatment and monitoring by a specialist.
Will my hair grow back?
Hair loss due to stress, will it grow back? We have said that usually accelerated hair loss due to stress does not last beyond a few weeks or months... when is caused by a sole and brief event. There are different types of stress: from stress caused by overwork, to the one caused by the loss of a loved one; and each type requires a different treatment. However, once the stressful situation that triggered hair shedding is over, there are good news: lost hair will grow back.
Why is it that in male pattern baldnes - the most common cause of alopecia among men - lost hair does not grow back, and in alopecia by stress it does? The reason is simple: unlike in the first type of alopecia, where follicles atrophy and die, in hair loss due to stress follicles are still alive; so, once the inhibiting factors disappear, they can generate hair as usual.
How to regain hair loss from stress
So, how to stop hair loss from stress? Obviously, in a case of hair loss by stress, the main point is to reduce or avoid stress... However, there are also treatments that can help strengthen hair during the telogen phase or accelerate its subsequent growth, such as mesotherapy, or treatments with minoxidil, finasteride, or with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP).
It is also important - as long as abnormal hair loss phase lasts - to use a good hair loss shampoo as well as vitamin supplements; and of course, we must avoid hairstyles that are too tight or that involve the use of chemical products, as well as using hair straighteners.
In any case, if we face any symptom of hair loss due to stress, the most important thing is to ask help from a good professional capable of diagnose our problem in time and offer the appropriate stress hair loss treatment to minimise any damage to our hair. Clinicana is the best hair transplant clinic, and we are specialised in all types of hair treatments: request your free consultation now, and ask for a free, no obligation estimate. Get your hair back!