If you’ve noticed thinning hair recently, it may not be all in your head (literally). It’s well known that certain medical conditions, like alopecia, can cause hair loss in women, but what is less often discussed is how certain lifestyle and biological factors can also lead to you feeling like every time you shower, you lose an entire layer.
If your hair is shedding more than normal right now, there’s no need to panic. Once you learn about the hormonal imbalances and lifestyle factors that can disrupt your ‘do, you can also take steps to reverse them.
Stress & Hair Loss
Americans’ stress level is higher than ever this year, according to a survey done by The American Institute of Stress. This is a big problem for our overall health as a prolonged spike in the stress hormone, cortisol, sends ripple effects through the entire body, messing with your sleep and sex drive, causing stomach aches, creating jaw tension, and more. It can even lead to hair loss.
“There are three main phases to the hair growth cycle,” Dr. Geeta Yadav, founder of Facet Dermatology, explains. “Anagen, or the active growth phase; catagen, or the transitional phase; and telogen, the resting phase. (Some would say there's a fourth phase, exogen, which is part of the resting phase and is when the hair sheds.)”
Perhaps this goes without saying, but you have strands in various phases at any given time, “otherwise, you'd see all your hair fall out simultaneously,” Yadav says.
But when you undergo a period of major stress (like, you know, a global pandemic, increased work anxiety, or an endless bad news cycle) the normal hair cycle gets interrupted, and, “more of your hair is pushed quickly from the anagen phase to the telogen phase, cutting off hair growth and accelerating your hair's natural propensity to shed.”
If stress is the cause of your hair loss, you will typically start to notice a problem about three months after the period of stress began and sent a message to your body that caused a new crop of hair to abruptly enter the resting phase. Following its normal cycle, three months later, all that hair begins to shed, filling your brush and collecting in the shower drain.