While many types of alopecia are genetic, there are a few types that are caused by (and sometimes negatively affected by) stress. These types of hair loss are generally the result of the body’s reaction to stress, including white blood cells attacking hair follicles or hair going into a “resting” state, which prevents new hair growth. Today, we are going to look at three types of alopecia which is caused or exacerbated by stress, and ways to lower your stress levels.
1. Telogen Effluvium – In a normal hair cycle, strands of hair fall out on a regular basis but are replaced by new strands. In people with telogen effluvium, stress (either of the emotional or physical variety) cause hair to go into a “resting” phase, which temporarily stops the growth of new hair strands. When normal hair begins to fall out through washing or brushing, new strands don’t grow back.
2. Alopecia Areata – While alopecia areata has a number of causes, severe stress is thought to be one of the contributing causes of temporary hair loss through white blood cells that attack the hair follicles, which causes hair to stop growing.
3. Trichotillomania – Trichotillomania is the only one on our list that is the result of a negative physical response to stress or anxiety. People with trichotillomania experience the urge to pull out their own hair as a response to uncomfortable feelings or situations.
While these situations can seem depressing for people experiencing this type of hair loss, the good news is that it can be reversed by pinpointing what factors in your life are causing extreme stress and finding ways to deal with it in a positive and healthy manner.
Here are three ways that you can help manage your stress levels:
1. Practice Deep Breathing. Taking a few minutes to close your eyes and breathe deeply can help reduce stress and force yourself to relax.
2. Turn on some classical music. Researchers have found that listening to 30 minutes of classical music can significantly reduce anxiety (and match the effects of taking 10mg of Valium).
3. Switch to Tea. Coffee has been shown to increase anxiety in some cases, so switching from coffee to green tea or black tea is a way to proactively cut out additional factors that can add to daily stress.