Stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on the body – nausea, shortness of breath and poor concentration are all common physical symptoms when faced with a stressful situation. It can also trigger hair loss, which can be a distressing side effect that actually causes more anxiety for many people. After genetic factors, stress is the second biggest cause of hair loss.
Trauma or stress-induced hair loss is known as telogen effluvium. The changes in the hormone levels in the body sends the growth cycle into shock and forces the hair to go into a resting phase, so the hairs lie dormant before eventually falling out. Telogen effluvium affects a large number of hair follicles all at the same time – in some cases, as many as 70 per cent of hairs on the scalp – so it’s more noticeable when it falls out.
The average person loses between 50 and 100 hairs a day. This may sound like a lot, but when you consider that the majority of us have between 90,000 and 150,000 hairs on our head, it’s a negligible amount. However, if you’ve noticed a high amount of shedding, it’s possible that it’s stress related. You should also note that, due to the duration of the hair growth cycle, there is a delay between stressful events and the hair actually falling out – you won’t be waking up after a traumatic day with clumps of hair on your pillow!
Although you can’t control how your body responds to stress, you can make lifestyle adjustments to help reduce it. Getting enough sleep, maintaining a balanced diet and exercising regularly can all alleviate anxiety and keep your body healthy. Thankfully, telogen effluvium is usually only temporary – as soon as the stress has passed, the growth cycle will normally kick-start again.
If you’re worried about hair loss, it’s worth seeking expert advice to put your mind at ease. Our helpful team are here to address your concerns and get to the root of the problem.