Stress-Induced Hair Loss: Causes & Cures
Have you noticed an increase in the amount of hair strands on your brush when detangling your hair? Have you tried all options to stop hair fall, but the results are always the same? Perhaps you have overlooked a significant factor that causes hair loss - STRESS!
With the hustle of today's life, stress has emerged as an unwelcome mate, often adversely affecting our mental and physical health. But why does stress appear to have an impact on your scalp in addition to your mind? This answer lies in the connection between hair follicles and stress hormones!
Let's understand the basics of hair growth!
Our hair goes via four stages of growth. The first three stages (anagen, catagen, and telogen) help your hair grow. The last stage (exogen) is when old hair falls out, and new hair grows. Each phase varies in length depending on your age, diet, and overall health. So, taking care of your health is essential to help it thrive.
Ayurvedic wisdom on hair physiology might be rooted in something other than these growth phases, i.e., nutrition! Ayurveda believes that your hair growth is linked to your bone health! Interestingly, this connection extends even further, reaching the core of your digestive system - the gut. Confusing? Let's break it down!
- As per Ayurveda, the human body consists of the seven Dhatus; the fundamental tissues and bones are one of these seven vital components.
- Dhatu health, including bones (AKA Asthi Dhatu), depends on your digestive health. This is because the food we consume transforms into an essence called Rasa through the digestive process.
- If digestion is compromised, it can lead to an overall decline in the quality of subsequent Dhatus, including bones.
Now, this complex connection between bone health and hair vitality becomes clearer, right? Undernourished bones, due to poor digestion and assimilation of nutrients, can lead to a cascade of effects, impacting the quality of your hair!
Your hair thrives under specific influences, just like a garden does when the appropriate conditions are met. For instance, excessive stress can lead to hair loss due to poor digestion and overproduction of cortisol hormone. These factors can be the true disruptors of a healthy hair growth cycle!
What exactly is stress, and how does it affect us?
Simply put, stress is the body's reaction to various internal and external stimulants. This reaction can significantly affect your mind, body, and emotions.
But how? Whenever something stressful occurs, this gland in your brain called the pituitary gland signals your body to release the stress hormones called "cortisol" and "adrenaline". These hormones trigger the liver to release more glucose, thus causing an instant energy boost for the upcoming task.
Talking about stress, from the viewpoint of Ayurveda, is not just a mental state but a disruption in the overall functioning of the body. Now, stress can manifest differently in different Doshic conditions.
- When Vata-provoking factors are the cause of stress, it can lead to heightened mental activity, restlessness, and a feeling of instability. Vata stress is usually coupled with anxiety and nervousness!
- Stress caused by Pitta-aggravating reasons may increase the intensity, irritability, and a tendency to overreact emotionally. This emotional heat of Pitta can contribute to anger stress!
- Stress-inducing factors that lead to excessive Kapha can cause a sense of heaviness, lethargy, and feelings of being stuck. Kapha-induced stress is usually associated with a lack of motivation and depression!
While some amounts of stress are manageable for our bodies, prolonged or chronic stress can harm your health, especially your hair!
The link between stress and hair fall!
Stress-induced poor digestion, an overworked nervous system and increasingly high cortisol levels in the body impact the hair growth stage. It not only blocks the channels of nourishment of hair via Asthi Dhatu but also leads to shifting more follicles into the telogen phase, where the growth of the hair stops! Because of this change, there is less hair growth and more hair loss than usual. Also, prolonged stress can cause the body to undergo various inflammatory changes, including a great deal of damage to hair follicles.
This hair loss due to stress can be classified into two types -
Acute/temporary hair loss -
When you experience a lot of stress, you may lose your hair suddenly. This happens because stress causes hair follicles to go into a resting phase too soon, which causes excessive shedding. This type of hair loss is known as telogen effluvium.
Chronic/long-term hair loss -
If you experience stress for a long time or have ongoing problems, it can cause another type of hair loss called chronic stress-induced hair loss. This can lead to conditions like alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that provokes the body's immune system to attack hair follicles, causing patchy hair loss.
Both these cases of stress-induced hair loss are caused by Pitta-dominant Tridoshik imbalance!
How do you deal with stress-induced hair fall?
Managing stress becomes vital when it starts affecting your body, especially your hair health. There are several ways to lower your everyday stress and balance your Doshas. And this is how you can just do that:
- Deep breathing: Take a slow, deep breath via your nose, hold it briefly, and then release it through your mouth. Repeat to balance all three Doshas and trigger the body's relaxation reaction.
- Happy Exercises: Enjoy Dosha-balancing and stress-relieving activities, such as dance, yoga, or brisk walking.
- Eating healthy: Nourish your body with well-rounded meals. Make sure you steer clear of -
- Vata-provoking ice-cold beverages,
- Pitta-provoking coffee, and
- Kapha-provoking sugary foods.
- Time management: Divide work into digestible chunks. Set priorities and focus on one task at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
- Meditation: Meditation is another excellent tool for balancing Doshas, relaxation and boosting emotional health.
- Head massages: Nothing works better than a soothing head massage after a stressful day. On top of that, massaging your head with Pitta-calming Champi Oil can refresh you and boost your hair growth!
In conclusion, let's reflect on the fact that stress can be a real hair-raiser! But don't let it get the best of you. Remember to prioritize your mental and physical well-being by taking time for self-care. Whether through Dosha-balancing rituals, hearty massage with Champi Oil, meditation, getting enough sleep, or seeking support, there are a number of ways to reduce stress and promote a happier, healthier you. And if stress-related hair loss continues to be a concern, don't hesitate to consult a professional. Your health comes first, so let's commit to caring for yourself today!