Alopecia is the lack or shortcoming of hair in certain areas that are normally covered in hair.
Etymologically the word originates from the Greek alòpex, which means fox, since this mammal is cyclically losing patches of hair, during springtime.
Stress-based alopecia is a type of alopecia not due to scars and acquired. In fact, due to the illness, the hair follicles normally do not undergo permanent damage and do not atrophy. Rather they are in a state of dormancy. Therefore, it can disappear as suddenly as it came about, without the need for any therapies. However, relapses are not uncommon. Usually, this is a transitory effect, while only in certain more serious situations it is possible to reach a state of definitive and irreversible baldness.
Acquired means not hereditary
It is one of many ways to somatize anxiety. The first intuitions in this respect even date back to the mid nineteenth century. It is in fact during that era that the essay titled Post-Emotional Alopecia related hair loss to psychological trauma. The condition is frequently arising in conjunction with depression, or a few months after particularly traumatic circumstances. It is truly widespread and affects about 2% of the population, independently from their gender.
Several celebrities admit having been affected by it – including Michelle Hunziker, Alessandra Amoroso, Kristen Stewart, and many others.
The real causes are not fully known, yet there are several very interesting hypotheses.
Certain types of stress cause the hypothalamus and the hypophysis to release large amount of corticotropic hormones. These hormones release corticotrophin (CRH), which enters the systemic circulation and stimulates the adrenal hormones – the cortisol hormone in particular – bothering the cells that are normally involved in producing and nourishing the hair, such as keratinocytes and fibroblasts, causing an inflammation of the hair follicles on the scalp and inducing an overproduction of sebum. The latter suffocates the follicle thereby hindering hair regrowth.
Another hypothesis suggests that there may be a predisposition on certain genes within our body, which, stimulated by stress or by a particularly traumatic event, could cause autoimmune illnesses – including hair loss.
The most frequent symptoms of Psychogenic Alopecia, besides hair loss, include the following:
- Seborrhea or sebum hypersecretion. Sebum surplus obstructs hair follicles overpowering hair regrowth;
- Seborrheic dermatitis. Following the appearance of Seborrhea, one’s overall conditions may worsen and cause dermatitis on the scalp;
- Rash. Inflammation that appears on the area where hair grows from the skin;
- Severe itch widespread around the head;
- Trichodina. Skin pain.
- Dystrophy of fingernails with desquamation and loss of texture
The symptoms connected to hair loss typically include the appearance of circular bald patches. But these can vary across genders. Women experience hair loss as widespread hair thinning often affecting the whole surface of the head – especially in between the frontal hairline and the top of the head. Men experience a significant and complete hair thinning, as well as a widely receding hairline.
In any case we should not lose hope. In fact, it is almost always possible to recover from this kind of alopecia.
The first effective and helpful step towards recovery includes getting rid of the source of stress and emotional tension that caused the illness. When necessary, people affected by the illness can also turn to qualified doctors who can follow them throughout a focused therapy aimed at unfolding their inner emotional knots.
Follow the recommendations for appropriate sleep duration, about 7/8 hours per day, since tiredness itself can be a source of stress. Relaxing before sleeping and after awakening is also pivotal.
Of valuable help can also be the application of astringent essential oils that facilitate sebum control, such as nettle, rosemary, thyme, and burdock.
A flax oil massage can also be very helpful as flax oil has the ability to regenerate hair.
Furthermore, a truly effective remedy to fight stress-based alopecia is laser treatment. By stimulating the activity of the hair follicle, this treatment facilitates the transfer of nourishments from the hair bulbs into the hair strengthening it and allowing for a faster and healthier regrowth.