Normal Hair Loss vs. Stress-Induced Hair Loss: Know the Difference

Some hair loss is considered normal, but certain symptoms could signal a reason to be concerned with your mental, physical, or emotional health. Among the most common causes of hair loss are female and male pattern baldness, traction alopecia, and the use of certain medications. It is also possible for anxiety or stress to make you lose your hair.

If you are unsure why you are experiencing hair loss and think it may be stress, read the guide below. We will help you understand the differences between the ordinary symptoms of hair loss and a condition that could be linked with your mental and emotional wellness. With this information in mind, you can decide if you need professional assistance from a primary care physician or specialist. It may also motivate you to try an at-home treatment or therapy.

What Is Normal Hair Loss?

While hair loss sounds alarming, both men and women will experience it on a daily basis. In fact, it is normal and healthy for your head to shed. According to Healthline, most people will lose between 50-100 hairs per day. New strands quickly replace the old ones, so you should not notice an overall difference in its thickness or appearance.

You may see hair fall out when you wash in the shower or notice a few strands fall away when you comb or brush. To help retain as much hair as possible, be gentle while you shampoo, condition, and style. It is also a good idea to avoid tight hairdos and any hair accessories that may pull on your scalp. Avoid heat styling tools unless you need them. Each of these strategies should help keep your hair nice and full. It is only when the replacement does not occur or that the hair begins to thin that your symptoms may start to be considered abnormal.

Most men and women will also experience a degree of hair loss or thinning as they get older. This is because a mature hairline is an ordinary side effect of aging. The exact onset of hair loss depends on the person. Men will typically see more rapid and intense symptoms than women do.

What Is Stress-Induced Hair Loss?

Stress-induced hair loss is considered an abnormal condition. It is not linked to normal hair loss or aging. According to Verywell Mind, excessive physical or emotional stress associated with illness or injury can lead to two different conditions that cause you to lose hair. These are:

  • Telogen Effluvium: When telogen effluvium occurs, the hair on your head stops growing. After it lies dormant on the scalp for 2-3 months, it falls out. After 6-9 months, hair will begin to grow back. These symptoms are usually inconvenient or upsetting, but not severe.
  • Alopecia Areata: If your body is in a state of chronic stress, it can begin to make excess white blood cells. Some of these cells may begin to attack hair follicles, which can cause hair to fall out in patches. In severe cases, it is possible to lose hair over the entire scalp, as well as body hair. Treatment for alopecia areata may be required to grow hair back.

How Do I Care for My Hair Loss?

The way you care for your hair loss depends on the reason for your symptoms. If you are experiencing normal hair loss, follow the tips above, and consider using a hair therapy system to prevent losing excessive strands. The combination of a therapeutic shampoo, conditioner, revitalizer, and activator will nourish your hair and scalp, encouraging healthy hair growth. Avoid a sunburned scalp by wearing a hat and consider using an SPF spray on your head and part as well.

When you are noticing hair thinning or loss due to aging or stress, consider photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT), formerly often referred to as low-level laser therapy or LLLT. Using a PBMT device such as a laser therapy cap for just six minutes per day can help you to grow healthier, thicker hair. Use it in the comfort of your home as you relax and de-stress. Since it has no known side effects, you should even be able to use it in combination with any therapies prescribed by your doctor. Be sure to consult with your physician if you have any questions about your care plan.

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Preventing & Treating Stress-Induced Hair Loss

As you work to treat your stress-induced hair loss, it is also essential to care for your symptoms at their source. Work to determine what is making you worried or anxious, and then create a plan to balance your schedule or step back from some responsibilities. Putting yourself first can quickly help to reduce stress in your life. It is also important to find stress-relieving activities that you enjoy.

Yoga, meditation, and massage are all great ways to relieve feelings of anxiousness or irritability. You may also like deep-breathing exercises or writing in a journal. A combination of self-care and hair therapy can make a difference in the way you look and feel. Your new regimen may also start you on the road to improved wellness.

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