Could it Be Stress? The Link Between Stress and Hair Thinning
From job losses and financial strain to the overarching threat of illness, this year has held a lot of extra stress for most Americans.
According to the American Psychological Association, “The COVID-19 pandemic has altered every aspect of American life, from health and work to education and exercise.
Over the long term, warns the American Psychological Association, the negative mental health effects of the coronavirus will be serious and long-lasting.”
Unfortunately one of the many possible negative effects that stress has on the body is hair loss.
The APA report found that the average American adult reported a higher level of stress than in the 2019 survey.
- Parents are most likely to feel additional stress and often report basic needs (like access to food and housing) are a source of stress (70%). Parents also ranked educational challenges with distance/online learning as a high factor for increased stress (71%).
- 7 out of 10 Americans report the government’s response to COVID-19 has caused them stress, regardless of their political affiliation.
- The current level of stress related to the economic status of the US is similar to the recession in 2008 and 7 out of 10 employed American adults reported work was a significant stressor in their lives.
These issues all impact us and the people around us.
Stress can take on odd forms that are much more physical than you might expect.
While you might picture stress and anxiety as active worry, it can take the shape of lost appetite, frequent headaches and thinning hair.
If your hair has started to thin, there is a very possible chance that it is related to the stress you’ve faced within the past year.
Impact of Stress and Anxiety on Hair Thinning
There are a lot of reasons you could experience hair thinning.
Excessive shedding with slow regrowth could be due to age, genetics, products, nutrition, health and more.
But, stress is a big factor that is often overlooked when hair thinning is discussed.
The good news is stress-related thinning can be helped without drugs, lifetime usage or side-effects. Here’s how.
Most doctors won’t worry about hair thinning if your bloodwork and physical exam looks good.
There are three types of hair loss that are caused by stress:
Trichotillomania: You would know if this was the issue because it is an irresistible urge to pull your hair out. Whether you pull hair out of your eyelashes, eyebrows or scalp, the stress-induced issue is the way some deal with high levels of stress, loneliness, boredom, tension or irritation.
Telogen effluvium: When stress affects your body, it can push hair follicles into a resting phase where they don’t cycle back to a regrowth stage. After a few months, you will start to notice that those hairs are falling out in larger numbers, while new hairs aren’t coming in.
Alopecia areata: There are a number of factors that experts believe cause this issue, including stress. The body’s immune system will start to attack hair follicles, leading to a diminishing hairline or noticeable thinning.
If stress is the culprit, you might also notice the most common signs associated with stress:
- Lack of focus
- Lost appetite
- Overeating (stress eating)
- Irritability or mood changes
7 Ways to Manage Stress
Sometimes stress comes from our environment or unexpected life changes.
Deaths or career moves can cause stress.
A difficult boss or hard stage with a child could increase stress.
Stress might be caused because we feel isolated from stay-at-home orders or we are worried about the safety of loved ones.
If you dislike politics (and many do), then an election year can cause a lot of stress.
If you feel stress is impacting your health, here are 6 simple actions you can take right now to help bring some relief and help bring a sense of well being back into your life.
Exercise: Getting physical activity in is an absolute must to help manage stress. Exercise gets the mind off of the concerns and onto the present situation. It’s hard to focus on your stressors when you are physically exerting a lot of effort.
Diet Change: Healthy foods and adequate water will help you feel better. Power up your body by avoiding sugars and grains for a while. See how different you feel when you focus on whole foods, like raw vegetables, nuts, seeds and berries.
Sleep Scheduling: Don’t let your schedule get in the way—plan out your sleep times. Even if you can’t fall asleep, staying busy will only exacerbate the issue. Turn off all screens and devices an hour before bed. Consider listening to a very relaxing and repetitive track, like nature sounds or Zen music.
Relaxation Techniques: From yoga to meditation, there are a number of ways to help practice mindfulness and remove your focus from the big picture that causes stress. Practice relaxing, especially if you are having issues with sleep or feeling overly tense. Guided imagery is another way to help the mind relax its grip and settle back into a balanced state.
Deep Breathing: Deep breaths naturally improve your mood and reduce stress. Studies have found that deep breathing objectively improves your physical state.
Get Outside: Not only will the sun increase your serotonin and make you feel good, the soil has a similar impact with a microbe that acts like an antidepressant. Even just being outside 15 minutes a day is recommended to keep stress at bay and your mood more balanced.
As you are working to reduce your stress, you can ensure that your products aren’t causing additional stress to your hair.
The majority of shelved hair products contain harmful drying ingredients, like sulfates and damaging alcohols.
If you are already struggling with hair thinning, these products can quickly cause additional damage.
More Hair Naturally products for for thinning hair will help support your hair health as you work on everything else.
Utilizing key advanced stem cells technology and plant extracts, these formulas are designed to help thinning hair and improve hair strength.
The products are all paraben free and environmentally friendly.