Chronic stress and hair loss go hand in hand
It is normal in this day and age to experience your “everyday stressors” however stress that is constant and chronic is that which starts to take a toll on your body physiologically. Chronic stress can disrupt ones sleep cycle, disable cognitive abilities leading to longer work hours, poor diet and the resulting nutritional deficiencies, less than ideal exercise and the potential for some people to lean on medications, drugs, smoking and alcohol for relief. The result of chronic stress coupled with the aforementioned is setting oneself up for a whole host of concerns – one being stress-related hair loss.
How does stress cause hair loss?
The body is a fine-tuned engine designed to deal with health issues readily when they occur. When we experience stress, our “stress hormone” called cortisol is produced. Cortisol plays the role of determining which of our vital functions can remain unchanged and which will have to be diverted so that we can preserve energy. When this hormone is produced and secreted consistently, such as when stress is chronic, there is the potential that the adrenals will become inactive under these conditions. The adrenal glands are those that produce cortisol. They also have the responsibility of regulating the amount of cortisol that gets secreted within the body. When these glands become overworked, they become incapable of doing their job properly. In this inactive overused state, more cortisol is signalled, which makes the body secrete more adrenaline. The hike in adrenaline leads to an increase in levels of testosterone and DHT = hair loss.
How does stress affect the hair growth cycle?
A stressed environment can put hair follicles into a state of shock whereby they enter into their resting phase prematurely. Hair may fall out in these instances by just attempting to brush one’s hair. Chronic stress doesn’t allow hair follicles any opportunity to continue the natural hair growth cycle. If the hair follicle cannot switch back into the active growth phase, continued hair thinning will occur.