Hair loss is a complex problem with several possible causes, many of which can be present even in one person. One understated cause of hair loss is a person’s lifestyle, including chronic stress and anxiety. These two factors can have accumulating effects on a person’s hair, body, and scalp.
We’ll dive a bit deeper into how stress, lifestyle, and anxiety can harm your hair’s health.
What Is Hair Loss?
Alopecia, another name for hair loss, is a common disease in which hair falls out from the scalp. It happens to both men and women, and many things can cause it.
Losing hair can happen quickly or slowly, leading to bald spots or balding all over. Alopecia can cause temporary or lifelong hair loss, and different types can cause different symptoms. Some things that can cause hair loss are getting older, having an inflamed scalp, a tight haircut, a family history of hair loss, or even your lifestyle, stress, and anxiety.
Losing your hair can upset your self-esteem, confidence, and quality of life. Read more as we talk about how stress is a major cause of hair loss.
What are the Causes of Hair Loss?
People of all ages and both sexes can lose their hair for different reasons. Genes, age, hormones, medical conditions, and medicines can cause hair loss.
Hair loss has a lot to do with your genes. Male pattern baldness, which is also called androgenetic alopecia, is a genetic disease that causes men’s hair to thin and fall out. Women can also lose their hair because of a trait called female pattern baldness, which can be passed down as well, although how it manifests is different.
As people get older, their hair cells may grow less quickly, making their hair thinner and less strong. Problems with hormones can also cause hair loss.
Some medical conditions, like alopecia areata, which causes patches of hair loss, can also cause hair loss. Hair loss can also be caused by scalp infections, serious infections, and long-term illnesses.
In general, hair loss makes a huge impact on an individual’s life, which can be through:
Even though genes play a big role in hair loss, things like emotional stress and how you live your life can also greatly affect hair growth.
The hair growth cycle can be thrown off by mental stress, which is one of the main ways it can hurt hair health. Stress-related hair loss includes three types:
- Telogen effluvium. Stress causes many hair follicles to rest in telogen (shedding phase of hair.) After a few months, hairs may fall out when combing or washing.
- Trichotillomania. Trichotillomania is an overwhelming need to pull hair from your scalp, eyebrows, or other body parts. Hair pulling can relieve stress, anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and irritation.
- Alopecia areata. Stress may induce alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is caused by the immune system attacking hair follicles.
Chronic stress is a major hair loss culprit. Chronic stress causes a continual fight-or-flight response. The sympathetic nervous system activates, decreasing scalp and hair follicle blood flow. This decrease in blood supply can impede or stop hair growth, causing hair thinning or loss.
Chronic stress increases cortisol, which increases inflammation. Inflammation damages hair follicles, causing hair loss. Inflammation can also dry and break hair.
Exercise, meditation, and relaxation can reduce chronic stress-induced hair loss. Exercise reduces stress and boosts blood flow, promoting hair growth. Deep breathing, yoga, and meditation help reduce stress and improve well-being.
Traumatic events, such as tragic accidents or the death of a loved one, can cause stress and have various impacts on your well-being. One of the lesser-known effects is temporary hair loss. When we encounter high levels of stress, our bodies may undergo physiological changes that disrupt the natural hair growth cycle.
It is important to recognize that temporary hair loss is a natural response to stress and to focus on self-care and stress reduction techniques to support overall health and promote hair regrowth, which is possible if you address your concerns and face all possible roots of stress in your life by talking to people that you trust or by getting professional help.
Physical stress can also contribute to hair loss, albeit in different ways than emotional or psychological stress. Intense physical stressors, such as major surgeries, severe illnesses, or significant weight loss, can disrupt the hair growth cycle. The body redirects its resources to prioritize essential functions, leading to a temporary halt in hair production.
Lifestyle Factors Impacting Hair Loss
Lifestyle may be a major hair loss cause. Poor diet, stress, harsh hair styling, smoking, and pollution are some of the most frequent lifestyle factors that cause hair loss.
Hair health depends on diet. A diet missing iron, zinc, biotin, and omega-3 fatty acids can cause dry, brittle hair and hair loss. Inflammation from too much processed or sugary diet can also affect hair development.
High heat, chemical treatments, and tight hairstyles can also damage hair. These techniques can injure the hair shaft, causing breakage, thinning, and uneven hair loss.
Smoking, as well, causes hair loss. Smoking reduces scalp blood flow, affecting hair follicle nutrients and oxygen. Damaged hair follicles decrease hair development.
Recent studies have also shown that oxidative stress and inflammation from pollution and particulate matter can induce hair loss.
To combat these lifestyle variables, practice stress management strategies like meditation and yoga, decrease heat and chemical use on hair, quit smoking, and wear a cap or scarf to protect hair from environmental contaminants. These regular improvements can help us maintain healthy hair and avoid lifestyle-related hair loss.
Practice a Healthy Diet for Healthy Hair Growth
Healthy hair development requires a balanced diet. People should exercise and eat enough vitamins, minerals, and protein to grow good hair.
Hair needs vitamins B, C, D, and E. Vitamin B increases blood flow to the hair follicle, while vitamin C produces collagen, which gives hair structure. Vitamin D helps hair follicles flourish, and shortage can cause hair loss. Vitamin E prevents oxidative stress, which can cause hair loss.
Hair growth requires selenium, zinc, and iron. Selenium boosts immunity, while zinc protects hair follicles and prevents hair loss. Hemoglobin, which oxygenates hair follicles, requires iron.
Protein, which makes up hair, is essential for growth. Protein intake helps hair grow and prevents loss.
Salmon, walnuts, sweet potatoes, avocados, and leafy greens include these vitamins, minerals, and protein. A diversified diet, including these items, can boost hair health and development.
It is evident that lifestyle factors play a significant role in hair loss. Both emotional and physical stress can lead to temporary hair shedding. By being mindful of lifestyle choices and taking proactive steps to support overall well-being, individuals can promote healthier hair growth and maintain a fuller, more vibrant head of hair!
Call Renew MD for a free consultation for hair restoration! Choose one of our three locations!