The Truth about Stress and Hair Loss

Long-term, or chronic, stress puts you at risk for various health problems  These can include anxiety, weight gain and issues with immune response. Chronic stress has also long been linked to hair loss, but science didn't understand why. 

Why Does it Happen?

Hair growth involves three stages. In growth (anagen), strands of hair push through the skin. In degeneration (catagen), hair ceases to grow, and the follicle at the base of the strand shrinks. Hair falls out in rest (telogen), and the process can begin again.

The hair growth cycle is driven by stem cells that reside in the hair follicle. During growth, stem cells divide to become new cells that regenerate hair. In the resting period, the stem cells are inactive. Until now, researchers hadn't determined exactly how chronic stress impaired hair follicle stem cells.

Being exposed to mild stress over a few weeks can increase cortisol levels and reduce hair growth. Hair follicles remained in an extended resting phase. These findings supported the role of cortisol in inhibiting hair regrowth.

What Can You Do? 

The great news is that you can reduce your cortisol levels by increasing:


  • Sleep- Practicing good sleep hygiene can help regulate cortisol. Effective strategies are maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine 6 hours before bed, and staying off your cell phone right before bed.

  • Exercise- Exercising regularly can help you better manage stress and promote good health, which may help lower cortisol levels. That said, avoid overdoing it and aim for around 150–200 minutes of low- to moderate-intensity exercise each week.

  • Mindfulness- Practicing mindfulness can help you identify stressful thoughts and better manage them. Mindfulness-based practices such as meditation may help you reduce stress and lead to lower cortisol levels.

  • Dark Chocolate- Dark chocolate contains a high amount of flavonoids, which have been shown to buffer stress reactivity in the adrenal glands, resulting in lower cortisol release.

4Curls. Simple Care for Beautiful Hair 


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