My hair is falling out again.
I have read that women often experience hair loss as a result of stress.
It is absolutely true.
Since September 1, 2018, I have moved four times and have lived in three different states. I have a Michigan drivers license, Texas license plates and a Tennessee mailing address. Toggling between my formerly married name and my restored divorced name further complicates things.
I play a fun game these days, guess the zip code attached to my credit card information! Who the hell knows? I start with 48069, then I punch in 78216 and finally 37205. Thank God I have a reasonably tight memory for the postal code system. It is a mostly useless skill, unless you are crisscrossing the United States, buying gas approximately every five hours. Then it is a damn important to get it right!
I am a woman who lived in her home state for fifty one years. For five decades I have lived within a forty mile radius. Back then my most important geographical question was “ Do I turn left or right out my back door?” My former spouse used to love to tell the story of how we missed our flight home on our honeymoon because I couldn’t read the map to navigate us to the airport in Florida. (Yes, it was my fault, sorry for the inconvenience thirty years ago). Now that we are divorced, he can’t enjoy any more chuckles of sympathy for being married to such a map moron. Related question: do paper maps even exist anymore? Like cursive, it seems that maps are now a distant cultural memory, the fear of ripping the paper along the deep creases or even worse, improperly refolding them is irrelevant and forgotten.
Reasons for temporary hair loss
So-back to the important thing, my hair. Straight up truth, stress makes your hair fall out. Intense stress, like divorce, financial loss and emotional upheaval. Things like crayons melting in the dryer, burning the nacho chips into black triangles of despair, and Starbucks being out of coconut milk do not count as reasons for hair to fall out. Even if they all happen in one hellish day, most hair loss is due to ongoing major stress. Of course, certain medical conditions are also linked to hair loss, if that is happening in your world, go see a doctor please.
I have classic natural blonde hair, plentiful amounts but structurally fine and thin. I am happy to have oodles of long straight hair, (and bonus- no gray!!!) but it is still falling out. I find it in the oddest places. Caught in my Fitbit Blaze band, woven in the air vents in my car, wrapped around my bra strap. Slight strings of blonde DNA, quietly popping up to remind me that my body is being hammered by stress. And in an unjust bit of bullshit, every time I see a stray, I immediately battle emotions of fear about losing my hair.
Yay! The merry go round of hair loss anxiety is crushingly predictable and slightly nauseating.
Fact: this is not my first hair loss rodeo. It happened to me earlier this year, January to be exact. I cried. I sobbed. I called my hair dresser while hysterical. I thought about buying fake hair on eBay. In fact, I created a grand bit of drama over my hair falling out. I was certain that I would be buying a stiff synthetic hair piece, or a bottle of Busty Blonde bald spot hair paint, or even worse, creating some type of Trump comb over to hide my deficiencies.
And like so many irrational fears, the reality was very different. Yes, I did lose some hair, and yes, I was scared. And yes, I looked a bit like a toddler every time I combed my hair, watery eyes and a big pouty bottom lip. Eventually I made the decision to stop obsessing over the hair and focused on other good things in my life. Months later I realized that I was no longer seeing stray hairs in strange places. In fact, I couldn’t recall the last time I saw a rebellious blonde hair, riding on a bra strap or in a car vent. I realized that my hair had come to its senses and decided to stick around to see how all this drama played out in my life.
So, now that I am in another season of crazy stress, my hair has decided to desert me again. Bitch. Fair weather friend that she is, I won’t waste as much time lamenting the loss as I did last time she left me. I know she will be back, just like before.
Here is a short list of what I did to try to stop my hair from falling out the first time:
After doing research and talking with friends who had similar experiences, the reality is you simply need to wait it out. Your body will rebound and your hair will return. The truth is your hair stopped growing when the stress began, so the hair you see falling out right now has been dead for a while. A good indicator of regrowth is when you see a bunch of baby hairs, little strands of hair that seem to be sticking out from your scalp, especially if you have a part in your hairstyle. I thought I had breaking hair, but my stylist explained that I was seeing baby hairs, growing in to replace what had fallen out.
I did buy some powdered collagen to help my existing (and returning hair) build a healthy foundation. I put it in my coffee each morning, it was tasteless and easy to drink. I also added more B vitamins to my supplement routine, to support my body as it worked to create new growth. I made sure I had the proper amount of Omega 3 oils and other healthy fats like avocado in my diet. Do some research, choose two things that work for your lifestyle and add them into your arsenal of hair health.
Check the Hormones
For those of us that are midlife, hormones are a thing. Oh girl, they are THE thing! So, if you are experiencing hair loss that seems unrelated to intense stress, get your hormone levels checked. One of the adorable symptoms of menopause for some women is hair loss. A simple discussion with your doctor might be enough to help you begin solving the mystery of the disappearing follicles.
The bottom line is our bodies are susceptible to emotional and mental stress. As a survivor of childhood trauma, I know firsthand how unprocessed emotions can manifest as physical symptoms in our bodies. If you are working with a doctor and seem to be unable to pinpoint the cause of your stress, I suggest beginning a relationship with a counselor. Talk therapy is the best gift you can give yourself. A therapist office is a safe place to share, ask the hard questions while discovering solutions for your hurts and hangups.
And potential big bonus- self care might save your hair!
Just so you know, some of my affiliate links may result in a small paycheck for me, at no cost to you. Thank you for helping me build my business.