Hair loss is becoming an increasingly distressing condition among men and women alike. According to a 2018 study by the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, more than 60% of Indian men aged 18-50, suffer from hair loss. Further, a large percentage of women also suffer from the same problem. Hair loss can be due to multiple causes like genetic predisposition, malnutrition or immune disorders. However there is a growing linkage between stress and hair loss.
In Ayurveda stress-related hair loss is called Khalitya. According to these teachings hair arises from the same tissue as bones. The health of your hair is therefore closely related to bone health. During periods of stress there is increased activity of a class of cells called osteoclasts. These cells weaken your bones and in turn disrupts hair growth.
What Does Stress-Related Hair Loss Look Like?
Khalitya type of hair loss, usually presents as thinning, distributed all over the scalp. You may notice a more extensive number of strands getting caught in your hairbrush or left behind on your pillow. Ayurvedic practitioners explain that when there is a combination of the pitta dosha with either the kapha or the vata doshas, this kind of gradual khalitya happens.
In the case of other causes like genetic balding or autoimmune disorders, one may even have a receding hairline or scattered bald patches. This kind of hair loss is called indralupta.
How to Deal with Stress-Related Hair Loss:
Ayurveda attributes the manifestation of stress to an imbalance of one’s doshas— vata, pitta and kapha. A harmful increase in any of these energies can lead to emotional turbulence like increased anxiety, paranoia, irritability or anger. While avoiding stress seems virtually impossible, there are several Ayurvedic practices that can help you cope with it. These simple additions to your routine can help to balance the three doshas and relieve stress.
Practising daily meditation and exercise can boost the happy hormones in your body; Dopamine. This keeps you in a better state of mind to deal with your hardships. It is also vital to get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can often keep one on edge and more sensitive to pressure.
Besides mitigating stress, keeping your hair healthy is an important factor in reducing hair loss. Consuming foods rich in vitamin E and B makes your hair more nourished and less susceptible to damage. It is equally essential to protect your hair from external damage like the heat from styling irons, or excessive use of chemical substances and damaging shampoo.
With stress-related hair loss, one can get caught in a distressing cycle. The more hair you lose, the more you worry about it, which perpetuates your hair loss. However, this type of hair loss is temporary. Balancing your doshas puts a stop to Khalitya and revives hair growth.
Understanding How Stress Can Cause Hair Loss:
Telogen effluvium is hair loss that occurs when stress interferes with the life cycle of hair.
There are four main stages from when a hair grows in till it falls away. These are growth, degeneration, rest and shedding. In the growth or anagen phase, the hair shoots out of the scalp. It keeps growing for as many as five years, depending on the individual. The degeneration or catagen period is when the hair growth slows. It is a transitional period that takes a few weeks. The rest phase is termed telogen. Telogen is when growing stops altogether, and the hair is ready to be shed. This final process takes about three months.
At any given time, the majority of an individual's hair is in the growth phase. When one faces extreme emotional stress, the body keeps producing the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone prematurely forces hair into the telogen phase. Once in the telogen phase, any mechanical force like brushing your hair or running your fingers through it pulls out these strands. As the telogen period is three months, hair loss doesn't occur instantly but within three months of the stressful event.
Trichotillomania is a mental disorder where one compulsively picks and pulls out hair from their scalp or other body parts. It is usually a sign of anxiety aggravated by intense stress. A person with trichotillomania finds it impossible to resist the urge to pull out their hair. Sometimes they do it subconsciously during a stressful event, unaware of the self-inflicted damage. This act can hurt hair by breaking it from the follicles or wound the scalp depending on the severity, making it difficult to reverse.
At Amrutam you can try out our various ayurvedic hair fall solutions, ranging from all-natural churnas to 100% herbal oils for hair loss. Visit our website or follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more information.