Have you ever felt like your hair is thinning after a period of intense stress? You’re not alone in wondering if there’s a connection between the two.

The truth is stress can play a role in hair loss. If you’ve been going through intense periods of stress, you may experience both hair thinning, and patchy areas of hair loss.

To mark Stress Awareness Month, we’ll examine how stress can trigger hair loss, the types of hair loss it can cause, and what you can do to treat it.

Can stress trigger hair loss?

Research indicates that stress can indeed be a significant factor leading to hair loss. When we experience stress, our body’s normal functions can be disrupted, including the hair growth cycle.

Stressful events can also lead to hormonal imbalances and poor nutrient absorption, both of which can negatively affect hair health.

So, the short answer is yes, stress can trigger hair loss by affecting the natural lifecycle of hair follicles.

Understanding the types of hair loss caused by stress

Different types of stress-related hair loss reflect the diverse ways our bodies respond to psychological and emotional pressure.

The main types of hair loss you can experience because of stress include Trichotillomania, Telogen Effluvium, and Alopecia Areata. Here’s a brief rundown of each type:

  • Trichotillomania: Trichotillomania is a condition that causes an irresistible urge to pull out your hair, often to cope with emotional or psychological stress. This pulling can lead to noticeable hair loss and bald patches. It’s more than just a bad habit; it’s a psychological disorder that requires understanding and treatment to manage it.

 

  • Telogen Effluvium: Telogen effluvium occurs when many hair follicles on the scalp enter the resting phase (telogen) of the hair growth cycle, resulting in widespread thinning and shedding. This condition is often triggered by severe stress, major surgery, significant illness, or other intense life events. The good news is that this type of hair loss is usually temporary, and hair growth can return to normal once the stressor is removed or managed.

 

  • Alopecia Areata: Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, leading to hair loss. While the exact cause of alopecia areata is unknown, stress is believed to be one of the potential triggers that can exacerbate the condition. This type of hair loss can result in one or more round patches of baldness on the scalp and, in some cases, other parts of the body.

Treating stress related hair loss

Addressing stress-related hair loss involves both direct treatments for the hair and strategies to manage stress.

Depending on the type of hair loss, treatments may include topical minoxidil, corticosteroid injections, or oral medications.

Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, regular exercise, and adequate sleep can also significantly reduce stress levels and potentially mitigate its impact on hair health.

Eating a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients can support hair growth and overall health. Supplements, such as biotin, zinc, and vitamins A, E, and D, may also be beneficial, but should be taken under medical advice.

For conditions like trichotillomania, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and other forms of psychological counselling can be effective in managing the underlying stress and emotional issues.

While stress can trigger hair loss, there could also be many other factors contributing to the problem. It’s crucial to get to the bottom of the issue to receive the most appropriate treatment.

Schedule an appointment with hair loss specialist today to determine the best treatment approach to treat your hair loss concerns.

Living with diabetes means dealing with a lot more than just blood sugar. Many people know about its effects on our health, but what about our hair? Can diabetes potentially lead to hair loss?

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and here we’ll explore the link between diabetes and hair loss. You will also discover the different treatment options available.

Understanding the Link Between Diabetes and Hair Loss

The relationship between diabetes and hair loss involves various biological mechanisms. When it isn’t adequately controlled, diabetes can play havoc on the body’s microvascular system. This in turn can affect blood flow to different organs, including the scalp. Poor circulation to the scalp can deprive hair follicles of essential nutrients, leading to weakened hair structure and eventual hair loss. Indeed, in one study, researchers suggested hair follicle damage could be used as an early risk marker of type 2 diabetes.

The chronic inflammation associated with diabetes can trigger oxidative stress, affecting the hair follicles’ ability to regenerate and maintain healthy hair growth. The hormonal imbalances associated with diabetes can also contribute to conditions like Androgenetic Alopecia, and Telogen Effluvium.

In one study into diabetic mice, hair regrowth was reduced because of suppression of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, the molecular pathway that controls the proliferation of hair follicle cells.

It’s also worth noting that the emotional and psychological stress often experienced by those managing diabetes, can further exacerbate hair loss.

How Can Diabetes Trigger Hair Loss?

There are various ways Diabetes can trigger hair loss. Fluctuating blood sugar levels tend to be one of the biggest culprits.

Increased blood sugar levels can lead to inflammation, which, over time, can damage blood vessels and affect the blood circulation in the scalp. This compromised circulation can reduce the hair follicles’ ability to receive essential nutrients and oxygen. This in turn weakens the hair, causing it to become brittle and prone to breakage.

Uncontrolled diabetes can also disrupt hormone levels, particularly androgen hormones, which play a significant role in hair growth. Fluctuations in these hormones can trigger a condition known as androgenetic alopecia, or pattern hair loss, leading to a gradual thinning of the hair on the scalp.

Treating Diabetes-Related Hair Loss

Treating hair loss triggered by diabetes requires a holistic approach that combines targeted interventions. This includes maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

Following a well-balanced diet, partaking in regular exercise, and taking medication or insulin therapy, can help stabilise blood sugar levels.

If you have diabetes and you are experiencing hair loss as a result, a consultation with a dermatologist that specialises in alopecia can advise you on effective treatments for diabetes-related hair loss including topical treatments, such as minoxidil.