Why does our hair thin?
Since the start of Social Distancing, Self-Isolating and Lockdown I have seen a big increase in people worried about their hair thinning, excessive hair fall or even patchy hair loss. Although Face to Face clinical appointments are not possible, video consultations are and could be a great way to help you take control of your hair worries. In this blog, I discuss an often asked question; why does our hair thin?
What common Factors affect Hair Thinning & Hair Loss?
Stress has a major impact on our overall well-being and our hair health. In our current situation, there is no doubt that stress levels are elevated for many people for a variety of reasons.
The hair is very sensitive to many things including stress, emotional issues, particularly bereavement, dietary changes, illness and operations. The growth cycle can become disrupted and hair can start to shed prematurely, re-grow and shed again.
This is a condition called Telogen Effluvium. It is very common and has a very successful treatment rate.
Telogen Effluvium is a very common condition. I see it in clinic every day. However, it can be very effectively treated if all underlying causative factors are identified and addressed.
Sustained levels of stress can cause the hair follicles to move from the growing phase to the resting phase. 2 – 3 months later, this is often seen as a very noticeable increase in hair shedding. This causes a loss in overall hair density. It is a frightening condition as most people think that they are about to lose all of their hair. This isn’t the case. The hair is shedding and re-growing. It isn’t all staying in the growing phase for long enough which leads to the thinning and loss of density.
Treatments for Hair Thinning & Hair Loss
The effective treatment of Telogen Effluvium requires 2 things:
• An accurate diagnosis
• A bespoke treatment plan that addresses all underlying causative factors.
If stress is a trigger or underlying cause for your Telogen Effluvium, the following actions will support recovery from this condition:
• Try to stay active. Exercise reduces the stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol. It also promotes the production of feel good chemicals called endorphins that are the body’s natural way of lifting your mood and feeling of well-being. Exercise can take many forms. Your daily walk or bike ride, working in the garden, an on line exercise or dance class, cleaning and tidying to uplifting music that gets you moving more. You don’t have to be an athlete find what you enjoy and you will enjoy doing it.• Eat well. You all know how passionate I am about diet playing a vital role in hair health.
• Relax. Make some time to stop over thinking. Meditation and yoga are common tools to aid relaxation, but find what works for you. Reading, completing a puzzle or jigsaw, drawing, crafting and so many other activities that can be enjoyed and help you to relax whilst you are doing them.
• Sleep. Getting enough sleep is vital for our general health and our hair health.
• Take control. Talk to a Trichologist about your concerns and find out what your condition is, what is causing it and how you can manage it. A guaranteed way to reduce the stress you may feel about your hair thinning.
Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks the hair follicle, causing patchy hair loss. We know from research that stress is a major trigger for this condition. There are many supportive treatments that can be used. If you are worried about this condition and can’t get to a GP or Dermatologist, talk to your Trichologist who can advise and help with positive actions you can take during this lockdown period.