There are different causes for hair loss. Much discussion goes into its most common cause, androgenic alopecia that is triggered by genetics. It is also known as male pattern baldness and follows a certain hair loss progression along the scalp. Then there is the auto-immune condition called alopecia areata. This type of hair loss condition results in random round bald patches all over the scalp. The reason why this comes about is unknown though some might guess that it is also caused by genetics. There are others that theorize its cause may be attributable to stress. On its own, stress is also regarded as a cause that leads to hair loss. In fact, this is one of the main contributors to the different conditions of hair loss.
Stress may be classified as a self-inflicted cause for hair loss. This is so because stress is a very manageable situation and can be avoided. One just has to be aware of the thoughts and emotions that lead them to feel stressed. This is of course, easier said than done as evidenced by the many cases of stress.
Perhaps one of the conditions most influenced by stress is telogen effluvium. This is brought about by stressful events in one’s life such as: major surgery, divorce, accident, rapid change in one’s diet, depression and childbirth. The reason why this occurs is through the sudden shift in the hair growth cycle from anagen to telogen, disrupting the normal flow.
There are four stages in this cycle that are: anagen or the hair growth phase, catagen or the transition phase, telogen or the resting phase and exogen or the shedding phase. Each of these stages occurs at specific time frames throughout one’s lifetime. The anagen stage exists in about eighty five percent of the hair follicles over the duration of two to eight years. This is a period where hair increases in length and becomes thicker and denser. The catagen stage lasts for a short period of two to three weeks. It is where the hair shaft and bottom of the hair follicle start to form club hair. The telogen stage is a period of about three months where old hair rests and the club hair becomes fully formed. There are about ten to fifteen percent of hairs that is in this phase at any given time. The last stage is the exogen stage where the old hair is shed. One can notice the club hairs come out and have bulbous, whitish material at the end.
Any of the stress related situations causes the hair loss stages to abruptly enter into the telogen stage for a longer period of time. Hair growth resumes however, after about six months or when the person is able to get their stress levels under control.
The next stress related condition is called trichotillomania or the pulling of hair to deal with negative emotions. It is an irresistible urge where one has to tug at the hair on the scalp, face or body to deal with heavy feelings such as depression, boredom, loneliness, stress, frustration and tension. Pulling at it over a significant amount of time can lead to hair loss.
Alopecia areata can also be triggered by stress. Though the exact reason why this situation comes about is unknown, studies have shown that increased stress levels have brought about the manifestation of this autoimmune condition. The body starts to send out white blood cells to attack its own hair follicles that prevent its growth. Eventually, the hair follicles no longer create new hair and remain dormant.
Stress related hair loss is on the rise as evidenced by these different events. The faster pace of life in today’s society might further influence these cases. One just has to remember to always find the time everyday to take a step back, breathe and relax. It might be all one needs to be able to relieve their daily stress levels.