Stress hair loss can occur when a person suffers from a prolonged period of stress or an extreme episode of physical or emotional stress. This can include having surgery, losing a loved one or illness and can result in mild to severe hair loss, which is usually temporary. There are also a number of conditions which can be brought on by stress such as hair pulling, whereby a person pulls out their own hair to in order to deal with a stressful situation. This type of condition is not limited to the hair on the head, as many people who suffer from this type of nervous condition will also pull out hairs such as eyelashes and eyebrows.
Hair Growth Stages Affected by Stress
Hair goes through a cycle when growing, and there are three stages to this which are:
- Anagen – This part of the hair cycle lasts for between two and seven years and it is known as the growth part of the cycle. Between 80 and 90 per cent of hair is in this cycle at any one time and hair grows at around half an inch a month during this period. A hair that is in this stage will grow continuously and will appear healthy and nourished.
- Catagen – This part of the cycle is known as the transitional phase, and approximately 2 to 3 per cent of hairs will be at this stage at the same time. This stage sees the hair detach from the blood supply and the hair follicle shrink in size.
- Telogen – This is known as the resting phase, where hairs fall out and new ones replace them. Around 10 to 15 per cent of hair will be in this phase at the same time and this sees up to 100 hairs being lost every day. This phase lasts for around three months, at the end of which the old hair will fall out and a new hair will grow.
When a person loses hair through stress up to seventy per cent of their hair can go into the Telogen phase. This results in hair loss being sudden and sometimes it is not linked to the stressful period, due to the delay between the changes in the body happening and the hair actually falling out. The hair in the Telogen phase will not fall out until the end of the resting period, about 3 to 4 months, so when these months occur after a stressful experience it can be a distressing experience when a person has a sudden loss of hair.
There are often a number of other factors at play when experiencing this type of hair loss, and these are often not taken into consideration. This could be something such as not eating a nutritious diet due to being stressed or not getting enough rest. These are both contributing factors that can independently have an impact on hair loss, so when combined can have a more sever effect. People who are going through a stressful time in their life should try to ensure that they are consuming the vitamins and minerals that the body needs as well as making sure that they have enough rest as this can help with the symptoms of stress related hair loss.