The average person’s hair grows 6 inches every year.
That’s enough to hit the hairdresser a few times and call it good.
But when we say the ‘average’ person’s hair, we’re not talking about everyone.
You’ve probably noticed that your hair grows at a different rate compared to your friends. And there are a few reasons for that.
Science has shown that different ethnicities see hair growth at different rates. Your hair might also grow faster in the summer due to changes in hormonal balances, increased exposure to UV rays, and the greater availability of nutrients in the form of fruits and vegetables.
Do you know what else impacts the growth of your hair?
And the problem is: stress doesn’t help your hair grow. It slows down natural hair growth. Stress can even result in hair loss.
Worried About Your Hair? You’re Not Alone
Most of us will only become more stressed out when we realise our hair is not growing like it should. Things escalate when it starts falling out.
But before you start worrying about whether the matrilineal trait of thin hair has finally come to curse you, it’s important to understand how common this is becoming.
Statistics show that 12 percent of women will experience some kind of abnormality in their natural hair growth before they reach 30 years of old.
Doctors attribute this to the condition we call life. In case you haven’t noticed, modern life is stressful. Jobs and relationships have always been stressful.
But now there’s also the new found pressures to make our lives look perfect (or look at other people’s ‘perfect’ lives) on social media. The combination is forcing our stress levels to skyrocket.
But it’s not the end of the world. Scientists are starting to figure out how stress damages natural hair growth and what you can do about it.
How Stress Damages Natural Hair Growth
Your hair grows in a process called anagen.
Then, your hair stops growing and goes through a resting process.
After 3 months of rest, your falls out.
It can grow from 2 to 6 years, which is why your hair gets so long. Growing 6 inches a year for 6 years leads to Princess Bride level locks.
The hair growth process never stops happening. And every day, you’ll lose somewhere between 50 and 100 of your precious hairs. This is normal. Besides, you’ve got 90,000 to 150,000 hairs on your head. So, you can spare a hundred or so without noticing.
This is all basic biology. But here’s where stress comes in.
Scientists believe that stress – or the hormones stress creates – disrupts the growth process.
Rather than going through the anagen process on its own, your hair stops growing because stress throws it out of the cycle prematurely. Rather than your hair going through the cycle in different phases, far more hair goes into the rest period (and the falling out period) at the same time.
The effect of stress on human hair follicles hasn’t been proven without a doubt. But the same thing happens to mice.
In a study of the impact of stress on mice, researchers found that mice who were stressed out by loud noises saw their natural hair growth plummet.
3 Causes of Hair Loss
Stress itself might cause your hair to fall out because of its impact on your hair follicles. However, stress can also lead to one of several conditions characterised by hair loss.
Telogen effluvium is triggered by stress and anxiety. It’s characterised by your hair preparing to fall out at a faster rate than normal.
Trichotillomania is another stress-related condition. Here, stress leaves you literally pulling your own hair out. However, in trichotillomania, you won’t realise you’re doing it.
Alopecia areata is one of the conditions that can lead to thinning and loss of your hair. This occurs because your body’s immune system started attacking your hair follicles. If you have alopecia areata, you’ll notice large clumps of your hair suddenly falling out in different areas around your scalp.
Alopecia areata is caused by a number of factors, but severe stress can contribute to its onset.
Improving Natural Hair Growth
Stress impacts your hair growth in a number of ways. Whether it’s attacking your follicles or you’ve developed a concurrent disorder that damages your hair, stress is not good for any part of your head.
But to improve your natural hair growth, you need to know whether it really is stress that’s slowing your hair down.
So, if your hair is falling out and you don’t know why, make your doctor your first port of call. You want to rule out hair loss as a symptom of a hormone imbalance, genetics, or a vitamin deficiency.
Next, tackle your stress. A healthy diet, exercise, and the necessary amount of sleep will be key in dealing with stress.
We know, stress is what’s causing your hair to fall out and it’s stressing you out more.
But think of it this way: you can’t subsist on McDonald’s and expect your daily multivitamin to save you from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and feeling generally bad all the time.
No pill, shampoo, or treatment will do much good if you continue to run your body into the ground.
Once you’ve eliminated other causes of hair loss, cleaned up your diet, and have taken a nice walk through the park, look for extra help. Check out tablets, vitamins, and shampoos designed to stop shedding and boost natural hair growth.
Hair thinning and hair loss is more common than you might realise. But that doesn’t mean you need to accept them as a new part of your life.
Stop shopping for new hair scarves and beanies, and take a look at what might be causing your hair to fall out: stress.
By addressing your stress and alleviating the physical manifestations of it, you can protect your hair from premature thinning.
But if you need a little extra help, try Tricovel. Designed to tackle hair loss caused by Telogen effluvium, Tricovel has been found to reduce the amount of hair you find in the sink by 75.7%.