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Hair loss under stress: You should know this

Stress-related hair loss usually occurs about three months after a stressful phase. Why is that and what can you do about it?

Losing hair is normal. Both men and women lose up to 100 hairs a day. The situation only becomes critical when more hair is lost than will grow back in a short time. The hair then hangs thin and limp from the head, and men show the first receding hairline. There are several types of hair loss.

While it can hereditarily lead to baldness, circular hair loss can indicate an autoimmune disease. Diffuse hair loss, on the other hand, can occur due to hormonal fluctuations, nutrient deficiency and thyroid dysfunction. But stress can also lead tothat the hair falls out more and more.

What types of hair loss are there?

Hereditary hair loss

The cause of androgenetic alopecia (Alopecia androgenetica) are the so-called androgens. These are male sex hormones. If the hair falls out due to the condition, individual hair follicles react to the messenger substance and shrink. This weakens the hair. It becomes thinner and contains less pigment.

With men are formed with hereditary hair loss first receding hairline and later bald. Women, on the other hand, rarely develop bald spots. Instead, the hair loses substance. In this case, hair loss is first noticeable on the vertex. Here the hair thins out so that the scalp shines through in places.

Circular hair loss

If the hair on the head or, in men, also on the beard falls out in spots, dermatologists speak of circular hair loss (Alopecia Areata). Experts confirm that this is a autoimmune response of the body trading.

White blood cells, known as lymphocytes, attack the hair bulbs. The hair falls out. Why this is so is still unclear. However, in addition to autoimmune diseases. Stress a possible trigger be.

Diffuse hair loss

In this case there are no bald spots on the head, but the hair falls out more over the whole head. The hair appears altogether thinner and limp. Diffuse hair loss is considered a symptom of various diseases or a consequence, such as hormone fluctuations or drug intolerance. Furthermore, diffuse hair loss is considered a reaction to stress.

What's wrong with your hair?

In particular diffuse hair loss can be a reaction to acute stress situations. These include not only physical stress but also physical stress situations, such as severe blood loss during childbirth or surgery. During stress the body releases neurotransmitters and messenger substances. They damage the hair follicles in the scalp and weaken the hair until it falls out.

This is because when stress hormones such as cortisol are released, the body produces more white blood cells. As "policemen" they protect the body by attacking harmful viruses and bacteria. A too high concentration of white blood cells, such as lymphocytes, can also be recognized by increased inflammation values in the blood.

With circular hair loss, there seems to be a still unexplained false reaction. The blood cells then attack the hair follicles until they are so damaged that the hair falls out in places. However, when circular hair loss due to stress is suspected, some experts assume that stressors promote this autoimmune reaction, but are not the only trigger.

In principle, hair loss after a stressful phase does not occur until two to four months later. Stressful situations that lead to increased hair loss are manifold: from high fever during a flu, to a separation, to family problems, both physical as well as psychological stress have a negative effect on the growth of hair.

What helps with hair loss due to stress?

In case of excessive hair loss over a period of several weeks, one should to see a doctor. While bald patches on the head, beard, eyebrows and eyelashes indicate hereditary or circular hair loss, diffuse hair loss is manifested by thin hair. Hair loss often goes hand in hand with a increased sebum production and skin impurities go with it.

If hair loss due to stress is suspected, doctors initially exclude other possible causes such as autoimmune diseases, metabolic disorders or a disturbed hormone balance. By taking the patient's medical history, i.e. interviewing the patient, the doctor takes into account other factors for the diagnosis. For example, the following factors play a role Drugs patients, or whether they are at a Eating Disorder suffer.

Only after a diagnosis can doctors make appropriate Medication and therapies prescribe. These vary depending on the type of hair loss and the patient's history. However, hair loss due to stress can also be helped by a therapy that includes techniques for better stress management and more Mindfulness in everyday life learn.

Hair grows back

The good news: Hair that falls out due to stress grows back once the hair roots have regenerated. Although there are all kinds of magical remedies on the Internet to get hair growth going again, experts strongly advise you to consult a doctor before use and to not to experiment.

Hair does not grow overnight, even with the best nutritional supplements. With healthy ingredients you can strengthen your hair in the long term and stimulate its growth.

Five active ingredients for strong and healthy hair

  1. Biotin: a lack of biotin can lead to hair loss and also occurs, for example, as a result of radical diets Products with biotin can have a positive effect on hair growth, ensure a healthy scalp and shiny hair
  2. B vitamins: help against dry scalp and split ends. They also ensure healthy, strong hair roots. The choline contained in lecithin can prevent hair loss and is contained in egg yolk, sunflower seeds, hemp and linseed in addition to appropriate food supplements.
  3. Iron: with thinning hair, iron deficiency could be the culprit. In contrast, appropriate dietary supplements and foods such as wheat bran, sesame and amaranth help.
  4. Vitamin C: helps to transport the iron in the blood and stimulates hair growth
  5. Keratin: Silicic acid (silica) and zinc are important components of the hair protein keratin, which is also contained in various volume and strengthening shampoos. Basically, especially the lack of zinc can lead to circular hair loss. Silicic acid, on the other hand, is responsible for keeping the hair firm and elastic. Products containing silica have a strengthening effect and strengthen thin hair.

Text: Natalie Grolig