It is commonly known that stress and hair loss are linked, but not exactly how. In a study on how stress affects mice, scientists came across an unrelated discovery by mere chance. What they found could answer questions about hair loss and hair regrowth.
A Study on Stress
The study focused on a chemical mixture that blocks the effects of stress on the gut. Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, used mice that were genetically altered to produce more stress hormone. As a side effect of being more stressed, the mice had gone bald. After treating the mice with the anti-stress compound, they put them back in a cage with normal mice.
After three months, when returning to examine the mice, scientists were surprised to find that all the mice in the cage were equally furry. The bald, stressed mice had regrown all of their fur and completely mixed in with their friends.
This does not only mean that stress causes hair loss – and being less stressed makes the hair return to normal – but also that the specific compound being studied could be used as treatment for hair loss.
Too Early to Apply to Humans
According to the researchers behind the study, it is too early to use the information on humans. But they do believe that the findings will help in the continuing research on stress and hair loss in humans. In further experiments, the group found that the treatment was effective and results were lasting after only one round.
Also, when young mice were treated before experiencing any hair loss, they never lost their fur at all. This suggests that the compound could possibly be used to prevent age-related hair loss.
How Stress and Hair Loss Are Related
Stress disrupts the hair’s natural growth cycle. The hair growth cycle consists of four stages, in which the hair grows, stops, rests, and falls out. If you are under a lot of stress, the growing phase could stop and big chunks of your hair take a break at the same time. If that happens, that hair will also fall out at the same time.
As the hair growth cycle is a slow process, the effects of stress are delayed about three months. Therefore you will not see the effects until later, even if it was only one specific event that caused it.
How Can I Put My Hair Growth on the Right Track?
It will probably be a couple of more years before there is a quick, works-for-all cure like the compound used on the mice. But in the meantime, you can help your hair growth by being conscious of what triggers hair loss.
Stress and hair loss are inevitably linked. Try to wind down if you are feeling stressed, and practice mindful thinking. The best ways to introduce that in your everyday life is to plan your day and what you have to do. Avoid getting overwhelmed, eat healthy and drink enough water – a healthy body will make it easier to maintain a healthy mind. Work out – as getting those endorphins out in the body will make you feel happy and relaxed.
In the meantime, you can also opt for a natural hair supplement. Some of the products on the market contain only natural ingredients. That will help your body work in the best way and make your hair look its best.
Text by Emma von Zeipel