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Compiled by Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

Stress could be the root of your hair loss – hair restoration expert

According to a hair restoration expert, stress triggers a range of physiological responses that can directly impact the hair growth cycle.

Actor Bruce Willis famously said hair loss is God’s way of showing him that he’s human, but sometimes that hair loss is not genetic and actually caused by stress.

A leading medical expert warns that stress takes its toll on tresses, sparking a rise in hair loss and balding among both men and women.

“Hair loss can be brought on by a variety of factors, including genetics, hormonal imbalances, and autoimmune disorders. That said, environmental and emotional stressors resulting from modern-day lifestyles do seem to have an increasing impact on our hair,” said hair restoration specialist Dr Kashmal Kalan.

The Medical Director at the Alvi Armani hair transplant clinic in Sandton said a bad diet also plays a role in hair loss.

“In particular, poor diets, mounting levels of work pressure, and even rises in relationship conflicts like so many people experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic, can exacerbate hair loss.”

ALSO READ: If you’re worried about hair loss, it could be time to quit sugary drinks

The cost of stress on hair

Stress triggers a range of physiological responses that can directly impact the hair growth cycle.

For example, stress hormones such as cortisol can cause inflammation and constrict blood flow to hair follicles, disrupting hair growth cycles, and resulting in abnormal shedding and thinning.

Likewise, stress can lead to a condition called trichotillomania, which involves the irresistible urge to pull out one’s own hair from various parts of the body.

Then there’s alopecia areata – when the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles. Although the exact cause of alopecia areata is not yet fully understood, both emotional stress and illness may raise a person’s risk.

Women can also experience significant hair loss post-partum, as the hormonal changes and stresses of having a new child significantly impacts the hair growth cycle leading to excessive hair shedding and hair loss.

“It also appears that sleep, stress, and hair loss may be connected. Stress can result in poor sleep, and poor sleeping patterns disrupt your circadian rhythm – the body’s natural response to the day-night cycle. This in turn affects follicular stem cell activity, leading to a disruption in hair growth, and in turn worsening your stress in a vicious cycle,” Kalan explains.

“Fortunately, managing stress can help to manage hair loss. Simple things like exercise, meditation, and a balanced diet can make a big difference. And if those don’t do the trick, there are many treatments available that can help your hair get back on track.”

ALSO READ: Six common female hair loss questions answered

Hair restoration solutions

Lifestyle changes are not necessarily a silver bullet for hair loss.

So, if the hair loss is more severe or permanent, Kalan encourages sufferers to seek advice from a medical professional to find a long-term solution, and even consider a hair transplant procedure.

“After undergoing a consultation and understanding the true cause of your hair loss, we will first recommend either a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, or Armani VITADRIP or Armani MESO treatments. This can help reduce the aggressive hair loss a person is experiencing and will promote healthier and fuller hair. We may also propose scalp micropigmentation (SMP), which creates the impression of naturally thicker hair.

While some patients find that these hair loss treatments or other medications like finasteride and minoxidil help with symptoms, Kalan said hair transplants are the most long-term solution to gain back your hair.

“The good news is that modern techniques like Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) have become more refined, offering natural-looking results with minimal downtime. This means that hair transplants have become a viable option for a much wider demographic, and not just celebrities or the ultra-wealthy.”

Advancements in the field have further translated into less hours in the operating room, limited discomfort, and faster recovery times.

As a result, hair transplants are rapidly gaining popularity as more people turn to them to restore their locks, reducing the stigma around the procedure, and even seeing people openly share and celebrate their transplant journey on social media.

“A hair transplant can significantly improve a person’s quality of life by reversing the effects lifestyle stressors may have had on their hairline. In addition to restoring their hair, I’ve often seen that transplants restore people’s self-esteem and confidence,” averred Kalan.

“So, ultimately, there’s no reason to suffer and stress in silence if you’re experiencing hair loss – consulting a professional and getting a hair transplant is simply one of the best things you can do for yourself,” he concludes.

NOW READ: VIDEO: Ayanda Thabethe tackles postpartum hair loss with a vampire facial

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