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Mags is now the International Brand Ambassador for Compagnia Del Colore and the National Education Director for Haircared.com, the USA distributor for CDC.

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Stress and Hair Loss

 

Stress And Hair Loss... Hair Loss And Stress, Are They Connected?
Research has shown that stress undoubtedly affects the hair cycle and that losing your hair can cause stress. However, which one triggers the other? Did the stress of meeting that deadline last month cause you to lose some hair, or was it the hair you noticed on your pillow last week that triggered a stress episode? In this article, I have discussed the effects of stress and hair loss, looking at both sides of the equation.

Does Stress Cause Hair Loss?
The exact role of stress as it relates to different types of alopecia is difficult to assess accurately. Under most circumstances, increased hair shedding occurs between 6 and 16 weeks after the trigger has occurred. But, most people attribute an increase in hair shedding to what happened yesterday or last week, not a couple of months ago. If your stress levels are 'normal' at the time you contemplate your thinning hair, you are unlikely to associate your problem with a stressful situation that occurred say 3 months before. However, although it is difficult to pinpoint a specific stress episode as the cause of hair loss, there is evidence that acute and/or chronic stress may precipitate certain hair loss conditions.

Genetic Hair Loss
Since male hormones trigger genetic hair loss, many researchers believe that stress can aggravate the condition because, during stressful episodes, the adrenal glands increase their output of certain hormones that can lead to the production of more testosterone, thus increasing dihydrotestosterone levels and potentially accelerating hair loss. Some researchers also believe that the skin becomes more sensitive to the effects of testosterone during stress, thus increasing the chances of hair loss.

Telogen Effluvium
Severe stress can also influence diffuse shedding of hair (telogen effluvium), though this condition tends to be reversible. One possible explanation for stress-induced telogen effluvium could be that the body's uptake of glucose is increased during a stress episode, leaving less available for non-essential tissues, such as the hair, causing it to be shed prematurely. One study in Britain of 800 professional women who worked in a highly stressful environment backs up the link between stress and hair loss as it found that over 30% were experiencing hair loss.

Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata, or "patchy" hair loss, has also been connected to stress episodes. One study showed that over 90% of patients with alopecia areata were under high levels of stress, though an additional study found that the stress was actually a result of the condition itself. As alopecia areata is believed to be partly a product of an auto-immune response, the stress influence on reducing the immune system is thought to be a factor in the condition.

Trichotillomania
Trichotillomania, the compulsive habit of repeatedly pulling the hair, is also associated with stress, as well as more severe psychological problems. Amongst other factors, it is stress that tends to be a very important influence in both the onset and continuation of the condition.

Does Hair Loss Cause Stress?

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