Last updated on Apr 6th, 2021 at 09:24 am

Have you ever been so stressed that you wanted to rip your hair out, but held back because losing your hair would probably stress you out even more? 

According to a study by Harvard University, the stress alone could cause your hair to fall out even without you ripping it out yourself. 

It all about your hormones

The study conducted on mice found that hormones produced by stress affected the hair follicle and caused hair loss and extended the hair follicles resting phase when it did not grow hair. 

This doesn’t just give scientists a cause for hair loss and slow hair growth but also tells scientists how to fix it. 

The researchers identified the specific cell type and molecule responsible for relaying the stress signal to the stem cells and showed that this pathway can be potentially targeted to restore hair growth.

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Three types of hair loss caused by stress

Although stress contributes to hair loss, the effect is not always the same.

  • Stress can cause alopecia and autoimmune dysfunction where the immune system attacks hair follicles where small bald patches appear on the head randomly. 
  • Trichotillomania is a stress response when you physically pull your hair out. This can lead to permanent hair loss and follicle damage.
  • Telogen effluvium is when your hair follicles go into the resting phase. When many hair follicles go into the resting phase, you visibly lose hair and may have bald patches or thinning. 

Can you recover from stress-related hair loss? 

Stress-related hair loss can be reversed depending on how stress affects your hair growth. Hormonal hair loss, alopecia and trichotillomania can all be reversed depending on the damage done to your follicles. 

According to Mayo Clinic, the first step to reversing stress-related hair loss is to manage your stress and prevent further hair loss allowing your hair follicles to recover. Treatments to stimulate growth could also be helpful. 


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