How Stress May Cause Hair Loss

Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Causes of Hair loss | Comments Off

How Does Stress Cause Hair Loss?

It is generally believed that stress affects our health in so many ways. Stress may cause weight gain or weight loss, sleeplessness or insomnia, heart attack and gray hair. However, it has been known but also debated about how stress may cause hair loss. The following articles will answer your questions about how stress may cause hair loss.

Firstly, let’s define “stress.” Stress is a normal physical response to an event or occurrence that makes you feel upset or somehow offsets your balance in some way. When you sense danger – either real or imagined – your body goes into defense mode, known as the stress response.

Abnormal responses to stress can result in physical issues, such as weight loss or weight gain and even hair loss. When you begin to lose your hair from stress, it can be very traumatic and even affect your self-esteem. It’s important when you experience hair loss from stress to not stress more. This can cause the hair loss to happen more rapidly for some people.

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 Another writer says that stress on its own may not be the cause of hair loss, but it may cause physiological issues that may lead to hair loss.

It has been said that stress can make you go gray, or cause you to lose your hair. But can it?

Even though you sometimes feel like tearing your hair out because of personal, economic, and work-related stress, stress isn’t likely to be the direct cause of hair turning gray. Some studies have shown that unavoidable damage to the DNA in cells that produce the pigment responsible for hair color is most likely the culprit. But can stress accelerate the aging process and, as a result, cause you to go gray sooner than you otherwise would? Right now, the answer is debatable.

“We have all witnessed the graying hair of many past presidents,” says Amy McMichael, MD, professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Health inWinston-Salem,N.C.”Perhaps over long periods of stress, there may be an acceleration of gray hair in some people.” But, she points out, that idea is mainly speculation. “I don’t know of any studies showing this,” she says, “and I’m not sure I have a scientific answer.”

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The bottom line is that although there are several factors that may cause hair loss, stress can also cause physiological


alopecia (Photo credit: Duncan Creamer)

changes that may lead to hair loss. There are people who are more prone to shedding hair more than others when they are going through stressful issues. The most important thing is to consult your physician if you notice abnormal hair loss in order to get the advice that you may need about the cause of this type of hair loss. Most often, however, the type of hair loss that is caused by stress is more likely to stop and it will be only a matter of time for the re-growth to appear.

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