Thinning hair has become an increasingly common issue among women lately, especially in my practice. The problem is, it continues to become a growing problem among younger women too. If you’re in your 20s or 30s and are finding your hair thinning and falling out more than usual, this article is for you.
STRESS & HAIR CONNECTION
The main stress hormone, cortisol, is the primary culprit when it comes to stress-induced hair loss. This is for 2 reasons. First, elevated cortisol (after prolonged or recurrent stressors) causes your body to signal your hair follicles to enter the resting or telogen phase. This means more hair falling out (yikes!) and very few new hairs growing back in. Second, cortisol reduces your skin’s ability to produce enough proteins for thick, shiny hair. In fact, you can produce up to 40% less of these vital proteins when your body is overly stressed. So whether you are noticing hair thinning or falling out, both can be connected to excess cortisol.
JUST HOW STRESSED ARE YOU?
Many of us walk around knowing that we are stressed (or sometimes we feel that everything is ‘manageable’) but we really don’t know how much stress is affecting our internal physiology. Have you had your cortisol levels tested? The best way to get an idea of how stress is affecting your body (and hair) is with a saliva test. This will also include testing your DHEA-S, a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands that can give us an overall idea of how healthy your stress response is. When it comes to hair loss & stress, we first need to know the extent of the problem. For some women, excess cortisol is not the cause of their thinning hair, but it’s important to figure this out with data first– no guessing or wasting money on expensive supplements that might not work!
A FINAL NOTE
The stress & hair connection is real. Although there are many reasons for hair thinning, cortisol is one that is rarely looked into by your doctor. Keep in mind, if excess cortisol is the reason for your hair concerns, it is not an overnight fix. In fact, it can take up to 3 months to first start seeing an improvement (depending on the true cause of the hair issue). The faster you can get answers, the faster you can get your healthy hair back.
If you want the inside scoop about what I recommend for hair loss & hair thinning, join me inside HER Health Club, the online women’s health membership site that covers a new topic each month, plus my specific treatment suggestions, recipes, recommended testing and MORE! This month it’s ALL about healthy hair!