Stress or Genetics? How to Tell What’s Making Your Hair Fall Out
Normal shedding may make your heart skip a beat when you clean out your shower drain, but it will not make your hair thinner. Stress-induced hair loss happens. Shedding is a natural part of the hair-growth process. You can expect to shed between 25 to 100 hairs each day as they make way for new hairs, which will actively grow for two to six years. Shedding only becomes a problem when it’s excessive — more than 100 hairs per day.
What is stress-induced hair loss? Stress and genetics can interrupt the hair-growth cycle, resulting in excessive shedding and noticeable thinning. If your hair is getting thinner, you must figure out what’s causing your hair loss before you can treat it successfully.
Signs of Stress-Induced Hair Loss
Stress is one of the leading factors in several types of hair loss, including telogen effluvium and alopecia areata. Fortunately, stress-induced hair loss is usually reversible, provided that you treat or eliminate the underlying cause.
First, however, you must confirm that stress is indeed causing your hair loss. The following is a quick symptom guide for the top two types of stress-induced hair loss.
Stress can cause a huge number of hairs to enter the resting phase at once. When this occurs, you will experience sudden, excessive hair loss all over your head. You may notice a large amount of hair in your brush, on your pillow or in the shower drain. You will also notice a general thinning of your hair.
In alopecia areata, your immune system starts attacking hair follicles, resulting in bald patches. If you have alopecia areata, you will notice one or more small bald spots. The spots are usually circular in shape and can be small — the size of a dime — or several inches in width.
Hallmarks of Genetic Hair Loss
Unlike stress-related hair loss, which is typically sudden and dramatic, genetic hair loss is slow and steady. In fact, you may not even notice it at first. Genetic hair loss occurs when the body stores too much DHT, a hormone closely related to testosterone, in the scalp. Genetic hair loss affects men and women differently.
Male Pattern Baldness
Male pattern baldness is identified by a receding hairline and thinning in the crown. The receding hairline often forms what is referred to as a widow’s peak. Without treatment, the hairline continues to recede while the crown continues to get thinner until the hair grows in a horseshoe shape around the base of the head.
Female Pattern Baldness
Women very rarely experience a receding hairline. Instead, they experience an overall thinning that’s more noticeable on top of the head. If left untreated, the hair will get thinner and more brittle with the passage of time. In many cases, women with female pattern baldness start wearing wigs to cover up their thinning pate.
All-Natural Treatments for Hair Loss
To treat stress-related hair loss, you must reduce the amount of stress you experience with lifestyle changes. To treat genetic hair loss, you must take steps to reduce DHT buildup in the scalp through the use of DHT blockers. The following all-natural treatments work for both stress and genetic hair loss, provided that you’re taking steps to reduce stress and DHT buildup.
Laser therapy utilizes a low-level laser to stimulate hair follicles to grow stronger, thicker hair.
A diet rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids has been found to improve hair retention and growth.
Massaging your scalp improves blood flow to hair follicles, which helps them produce healthier hair.
Supplements, such as iron and zinc, have been proven effective at stimulating new hair growth. Biotin, a water-soluble B-vitamin, is particularly beneficial for hair growth because the body uses it to break down dietary proteins. These proteins are essential for making keratin, which is what your hair is made of.
Keep in mind that supplemental needs can vary among individuals and even among the sexes due to hormonal differences. For example, a woman with a thyroid disorder may require more iron than a man of the same age.
It should be mentioned that some medical conditions and hormonal imbalances can cause hair loss as well as stress symptoms. If you’re losing your hair and not feeling well, you should see your doctor to rule out any medical conditions that may be causing or exacerbating your hair loss.
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