Hair evolves in a cycle of growth, or anagen; transition, or catagen; and resting, or telogen. During its final stage of resting, hair begins to detach from the hair follicle and fall out under the slightest pressure or pulling. Prolonged, or extreme, stress can cause hair to prematurely enter telogen and break off more easily. Nevertheless, with relaxation techniques and better nutrition, you can expect hair growth to return to normal after a period of three or four months.
Stress Reduction Exercises
According to information reported by the Mayo Clinic, telogen effluvium, or hair loss due to stress, most likely results because of fever, hormonal imbalances due to pregnancy, malnutrition or sudden, severe emotional or physical shock.
The tension of stress alone, if left untreated, can imbalance your hormones and confuse your immune system into attacking hair roots, causing hair loss. Therefore, do what you can to minimize any stress you experience.
To reduce stress levels, increase your amount of regular exercise. Exercise increases endorphins, providing a natural pain reduction, and it also improves your overall sense of wellbeing. You can also relax with a massage or take a warm bath. Any kind of soothing touch helps relax the muscles and alleviates built-up tension.
Lastly, breathe deeply if you feel worked up. Remind yourself that few things are worth losing your hair over. Inhale through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath and then exhale it out of your mouth. As your body focuses less on other problems, it can return its attention to hair growth.
Iron and protein are the fundamental building blocks of hair production, but other nutrients, like selenium and zinc also play a pivotal role. In fact, Elizabeth Wotton, a doctor at Massachusetts’ Compass Family Health Center, says 30mg of zinc and 200 micrograms of selenium a day should be enough to aid in the absorption of iron and protein.
Most health food stores carry these supplements, but you can also improve your intake of leafy vegetables and cereal grains to achieve the same effect. Even if hair loss is not the result of a nutrient deficiency, a proper diet will still enhance future hair production and recovery.
Once the stressor has sent your hair into the telogen phase, you have little other choice but to give your scalp time to recover. Aside from learning to relax and eating a well-balanced diet, time is the only thing that will allow your hair to grow back.
In the meanwhile, you can wear hairpieces or hats, and can style your hair in new creative ways. It will take about three months since the initial hair loss for hair to begin improving and regrowing all on its own.
Sky Smith has been writing on psychology, electronics, health and fitness since 2002 for various online publications. He graduated from the University of Florida with honors in 2005, earning a Bachelor of Science in psychology and statistics with a minor in math.