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Stress – Don’t Lose Your Hair over It

Sadly, for the majority of us, stress is something we’ve come to expect as part of our day-to-day lives. Whether it’s financial concerns, academic pressures, work or something more personal, our bodies are subjected to the effects of stress and anxiety every day.

The impact stress can have on our body is well documented through symptoms such as weight loss and lack of sex drive, for example. Hair, however, is rarely discussed in relation to stress – despite the fact that soaring stress levels have the ability to wreak havoc with our locks.

Three specific types of hair loss have been directly linked to stress: telogen effluvium, trichotillomania and alopecia areata.

Telogen effluvium is a fairly common condition, in which a considerable amount of emotional or physical turmoil causes large numbers of hair follicles to fall into a state of rest. Within weeks, the affected hairs often begin to fall out during brushing or washing, thinning the hair – often causing even more stress and anxiety.

Trichotillomania is regularly linked with nervous tension. The condition causes sufferers to experience sudden urges to pull their hair from the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, or other areas of the body in an attempt to cope with negative or uncomfortable feelings, such as anxiety. All hair follicles will eventually die when subjected to repeated plucking, so trichotillomania can eventually lead to permanent bald patches.

Finally, alopecia areata is one of the more serious forms of hair loss. The condition causes the body’s immune system to attack the hair follicles, causing hair loss. Alopecia has been linked to several causes including viruses, reactions to medicine and stress. There is no cure for alopecia areata, and for some people, hair loss is absolute.

Whilst stress-related hair loss can be devastating, it doesn’t have to be permanent. There are several techniques that can help to reduce anxiety and aid the re-growth of hair. Techniques include regular exercise, relaxation techniques and maintaining a healthy balanced diet.

Managing stress can be extremely difficult and heightened by hair loss, which is bound to affect anyone’s self-confidence. However, more often than not, there is a solution to your worries and by adhering to some small lifestyle changes, a big difference can be made.

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