Can Stress Cause Hair Loss?

Stressed businessman holding his hair

Stress is the body’s response to pressures from certain situations. Including experiencing something unexpected or new, or feeling that you have no control over circumstances. During these times this pressure can give the feeling of being overwhelmed and unable to cope.

Can stress cause hair loss? The answer to this question is yes. This article will explain the reasons why. And help you comprehend the causes of stress-related hair loss…

Hair Loss Facts and Figures

Losing up to 100 strands of hair per day is quite normal. And the lifespan of a single hair is approximately 4.5 years. The average human scalp has 100,000 hair follicles. And each hair follicle is in a different phase of the hair growth cycle:

  • Anagen – the growing phase that lasts from two to seven years
  • Catagen – a two-week phase when hair follicles start to shrink
  • Telogen – the three-month resting phase
  • Exogen – when follicles shed and new hair growth begins

After the age of 30, both men and women begin to lose hair – with men doing so at a faster rate. Hereditary baldness is more common in men. And 1 in 4 men has begun the balding process by age 30 – with 2 in 3 men becoming bald by 60 years of age.

Understanding Stress and Hair Loss

Stress and hair loss can be linked. And there’s often a two to three-month delay between that stressful period of time and your hair falling out. Stress actually changes the percentage of hairs in the growth stage and when stress levels reduce hair growth may return to normal – depending on the reason for the hair loss.

Hair loss stress increases the production of adrenaline – resulting in excessive cholesterol which in turn converts into testosterone. This hormone impacts greatly on hair growth causing hair loss and thinning.

As hair growth isn’t a vital function, resources can be diverted when stress is experienced. And finding healthy ways to handle this stress is the key.

Does stress cause hair loss? Continual stress from a job, relationship, or financial worries can have a major impact on hair follicles.

Research shows that an increasing number of women are losing their hair simply because of stress in modern society. Self-care and being able to monitor how stress is affecting your lifestyle is very important. And building habits that are effective in managing stress prevents the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Other Hair Loss Causes

Additional possible hair loss causes include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Environmental factors
  • Surgical procedures
  • Illness and other health conditions
  • Medical treatments
  • Pregnancy
  • Male and female pattern baldness
Woman holding her hair

Hair Loss Triggers

Hair loss due to stress and anxiety is linked to three conditions. These are:

1. Alopecia Areata

Stress alopecia is caused when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, causing your hair to fall out. You may develop bald patches – or your hair may thin, fall out, and then re-grow. And this can happen repeatedly over time. In severe cases, complete baldness is experienced including hair loss from the entire body. Genetics may be responsible for this disorder. And it can be very traumatic to deal with.

2. Telogen Effluvium

Changes in hormone levels and poor nutrition are two factors that can cause this stress-hair loss. Follicles are pushed into a resting phase by stress. And new hair strands are prevented from growing. Hair falls out easily when washing and styling. Thinning is often seen in patches especially towards the centre of the scalp. And in more extreme cases thinning hair may be experienced in other parts of the body. This hair loss due to stress is often temporary. And the cause will determine how long it takes for your hair to grow back – which may be weeks or a few short months.

3. Trichotillomania

Hair loss from stress can be typically displayed by pulling hair out. And this is known as a hair-pulling disorder. Hair may be pulled from other parts of the body as well as the scalp. This psychological condition is commonly seen in teenage girls as a coping mechanism for stress and anxiety. And can last a lifetime. Research suggests that this may also be genetic.

Stress-Related Hair Loss Treatments

Stress hair loss hasn’t got an absolute cure but you may want to discuss alternative treatments with your doctor. Acupuncture or herbal remedies can be effective. As can regimes created specifically to deal with hair loss.

With innovative products such as protein sprays, scalp drops, and nutritional supplements scalp health is greatly improved. And hair becomes thicker following 12 weeks of treatment. Supplements also help with malfunctioning immune systems.

Various formulations of topical creams are designed specifically for male or female use. Results of applying creams to scalp eyebrows and face can prolong the growth phase and may be seen within four months.

Topical corticosteroids may be used to treat alopecia areata alongside other treatment options. Castor oil has been known to increase hair in very limited cases.

Essential vitamins are vital to hair growth. These cover:

  • Vitamin E – potent antioxidants contribute to a healthy scalp. Include spinach, sunflower seeds, and broccoli in your diet
  • Vitamin B – healthy hair is promoted by eating B vitamins found in dark leafy greens, nuts, and beans
  • Vitamin C – collagen found in hair follicles is built by eating citrus fruits, broccoli, peppers and strawberries
Woman doing Yoga

Helping to Solve Stress

To counteract hair falling out stress the following tips may provide some relief:

  • Practice relaxation techniques – deep breathing, yoga, and meditation – regularly
  • Get into a daily exercise routine – proven to manage stress and its effects
  • Eat healthily – take supplements if recommended
  • Wash, dry, and style your hair carefully – use wide-toothed combs and lower tool settings
  • Opt for hair products that don’t contain sulphates or parabens
  • Visit a therapist for professional help – you’ll get all the advice and support you need

Stress relief products include: Devices that use neuroscientific technology to reduce stress – calming vibrations to help relieve sensations that accompany stress – such as headaches and tightness in the chest. Meditative aids that are placed on the chest and transmit soothing tactile vibrations into the body – reducing tension and providing relaxation on-demand – via smartphone and headphones

Henry Warren I am a professional writer and health & wellness enthusiast.