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Hair Loss from Stress

Chronic stress is the response to emotional pressure over a prolonged length of time. Everyday stress can be beneficial sometimes, supercharging energy or drive to get through a deadline or an exam. However when stress remains constant and over a long period of time, the repeated exposure leads to the release of stress hormones. Our stress response system however, was only designed to be activated for temporary measures. So chronic stress initiates a full meltdown of our bodily systems from immune, cardiovascular and neuroendocrine to central nervous systems, and naturally, our hair. Chronic stress impacts sleep, cognitive abilities, nutritional deficiencies and an increased risk of consuming medications, drugs, cigarettes or alcohol for relief. This can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetes, depression… and hair loss.

High-levels of acute stress, anxiety or trauma can also cause a condition called Telogen Effluvium that results in temporary hair loss. It can be brought on by physical stress, like childbirth or surgery, or mental stress such as a death in the family.

Why Does Stress Cause Hair Loss?

The ongoing release of stress hormones causes “adrenal fatigue”. The adrenal glands regulate our cortisol but during chronic stress, they are overloaded, and at the expense of other vital hormones like aldosterone and other androgens. Too much cortisol equals more adrenaline. Being in constant ‘fight or flight’ mode increase levels of testosterone and DHT, which results in, you guessed it… the dreaded hair loss.

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