Have you ever felt like stress is the cause of everything that goes wrong with your body? Losing sleep? Stress. Weight gain? Stress. Worst acne breakout since you were 13? Stress.
Your feeling isn’t inaccurate. Rising stress levels can negatively impact the body in a number of ways and can cause hair loss. In fact, there are three different types of stress-related hair loss conditions you should know about.
Alopecia areata is one of many types of alopecia, a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles, ultimately causing hair loss. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, alopecia causes hair to fall out in round patches.
A number of factors are thought to bring it on, including anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Telogen effluvium is marked by the thinning or shedding of hair after hair follicles are prematurely pushed into the telogen phase (also known as the resting phase when the hair isn’t actively growing). This is usually brought on by chronic stress, a stressful event or a poor diet. To quote the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, “If there is some “shock to the system”, as many as 70% of the scalp hairs are then shed in large numbers about 2 months after the ‘shock’.”
Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder characterized by an urge to pull out your own hair—either from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body. Various emotional states, such as feelings of anxiety or frustration, can cause its onset.
The good news about all of these is that if you’re able to address your stress and return to a healthy emotional and physical state, your hair will likely grow back. For many people, this just temporary hair loss that can be reversed over time.
The not-as-good news is that stress does not lead to male pattern baldness. Male pattern baldness is genetic and unrelated to your mental state.
And unlike stress-related hair loss, it’s a chronic condition with no cure. That means if a guy doesn’t start treatment in time, he’ll eventually go bald. While there’s no shame in baldness, there are treatment options that can stop hair loss if you’re interested (and you can learn more them right here).
So, how do you know what type of hair loss you’re dealing with? You can speak to a Keeps doctor (for free) to discuss your situation and better understand your options.
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.