Is work making you lose your hair
Dec, 21 2019 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)
Work is called worship – and yet it is stressful. Late night calls, coordinating with teams across the globe, quick responses, managing events, fire-fighting, tight timelines, deliverables, travel and managing expectations – all at the same time can indeed be stressful. This is a reality and we cannot shy away from the global work culture. Either we work with it or fall by the wayside. But it is imperative that we sit back and understand how a stressful work environment is impacting our health – in particular, the health of our hair.
Work hard and party harder they say. And perhaps that is how it should be. But what about the copious amounts of alcohol we drink while partying? And cigarettes and junk food? And other such ‘vices’? This along with everyday stress is extremely harmful to our well being in general and the health of our hair in particular. It is no surprise then that a lot of young people – in their late twenties and early thirties lose their hair. How is a distorted work life balance and stress related to hair loss? Lets try and understand.
The hair on our scalp has a lifespan and it is for this very reason it is considered normal to lose upto 100 strands a day. Other than that, there could be a variety of reasons for hair loss – it could be hereditary. Which means that if your parents or grandparents experienced balding at an early age – there is a likelihood you too will experience premature balding. The other reasons could be hormonal imbalances as well as ageing.
Anxiety and stress because of social and emotional distress at work can be an important contributor to hair loss as well. Experts have identified three kinds of hair fall that are associated with anxiety and stress:
Alopecia Areata - It is a medical condition in which the immune system attacks our own body – including hair follicles. It can lead to hair fall, thinning, and bald patches. Stress and anxiety is an important trigger for this condition which weakens the immune system.
Trichotillomania - We are all confronted with uncomfortable feelings, emotions, stress, tension, loneliness, or boredom. How do we deal with it? In such situations a lot of people resort to pulling hair from their body, scalp, and eyebrows. This is what Trichotillomania is – an irresistible and uncontrollable urge to pull hair while confronting stressful situations.
Telogen Effluvium - Poor nutrition, hormonal imbalance, anxiety and stress; all lead to Telogen Effluvium. This gets noticed while washing and combing our hair – more hair falls out and over time bald patches emerge. When we feel stressed, our adrenal glands produce a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol “is known to affect the function and cyclic regulation of the hair follicle” according to the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information). It pushes hair follicles from the growth phase to their transition phase or catagen. Excess stress over a period of time pushes hair follicles to the ‘resting phase’ - and over time, they fall off prematurely.
As alarming as this may sound, you need not worry that much. The good news is that you can reverse the damage caused by hypertension, stress, and anxiety on hair loss. Regular exercise, meditation, and a nutritious diet is extremely important. Additionally, you should consult an expert as and when you notice any signs of the above – there is no substitute for that. And remember, you might want to work hard and party harder but spare a thought for your wellbeing. After all, that is what you are working for.