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Can Stress Cause Hair Loss?

can stress cause hair loss

Are you worried about the higher prevalence and more frequent occurrence of hair loss? But did you know that you tend to lose more hair the more you stress about it? Ironically enough, worrying about hair loss seems to worsen it, perpetuating the vicious cycle. Stress has ingrained itself into our modern lifestyles, equally affecting people of all ages and genders. It is not a myth, as scientific evidence links psychological and emotional stress to poor health impacts, including hair loss.

The Science Behind Hair Growth and Loss

Understanding the lifespan of scalp hair is crucial before delving into the specifics of how stress is related to hair loss.

The hair cycle starts with anagen, the growth phase, during which the hair emerges from the scalp’s hair follicle and is nourished by the vascular system at the follicle’s base. It is followed by the transitional phase of catagen, during which hair stops growing and separates from the source of sustenance at the follicle’s base. The resting phase or telogen comes next, which causes hair to fall out. The hair development cycle restarts at the anagen stage if the follicle is healthy.

How Does Stress Affect the Hair Cycle?

Researchers at Harvard University studied the effects of prolonged stress on mice to ascertain the relationship between stress and hair loss. It was determined that greater psychosocial stress causes the anagen, or growth phase, to terminate sooner and causes the telogen, or resting phase, to last longer in the hair follicles. Additionally, it was discovered that eliminating the glands that produce the stress hormone accelerated hair growth. These results demonstrated that stress impairs hair growth and accelerates hair loss.

Stress has a similar effect on the human hair cycle, causing a halt to hair growth and regeneration while escalating hair loss.

What Type of Hair Loss Is Caused by Stress?

Since it is a normal part of the natural cycle of hair regeneration, losing 50 to 100 hair strands every day is not a major concern and is not seen as hair loss. But, there’s a good probability that it’s something serious and worrisome if your hair loss accelerates suddenly. There are a few types of hair loss that stress can cause, including:

Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium is among the most frequently encountered signs of stress. Normal hair follicle activity alternates between the telogen (or resting phase) and the anagen (or growth phase) phases.

Telogen effluvium is a transient condition that prevents the hair from entering the anagen phase and keeps them in an extended telogen phase, which results in an increase in hair loss even while no hair is growing back. As a result, your hair seems thinner, and your head is covered in numerous patchy bald areas. The condition is typically not very serious; within six to ten months, the hair returns to its normal growth stage.

Alopecia Areata

Contrary to telogen effluvium, alopecia areata is a severe disorder in which stress triggers an autoimmune reaction in which the body’s defence cells assault healthy hair follicles, resulting in dramatic hair loss. Additionally, the condition is not limited to the scalp and can impact all of the body’s hair follicles. On the scalp and other parts of the body, many pronounced bald patches are apparent and huge.

The hair follicle is not permanently destroyed, unlike in androgenic alopecia, and the surviving hair follicle may spontaneously regenerate hair without any supportive therapy. The hair follicle can sustain permanent harm in some extreme circumstances.


You might find it difficult to believe, but for many people, hair follicle extraction is the cause of hair loss and hair thinning. Trichotillomania, commonly known as the hair pulling disorder, is a psychological condition in which a person pulls their hair out of their scalp unintentionally or purposely in response to stressful situations or unpleasant emotions. Until the bald patches are apparent, the person is frequently unaware of their behaviours.

The hair loss normally stops when the affected person stops pulling hair out, and it usually requires psychological support.

How To Know If Your Hair Loss Is Related To Stress?

One of the many causes of hair loss is stress, but how can you tell if that’s the only thing to blame for your thinning hair?

The fact that stress-related hair loss typically occurs after a physically or emotionally taxing period of your life is one of the primary signs of the condition. It might come after a protracted sickness, a tragic life event like a loved one’s death, or intense financial or work-related stress. Additionally, it should be emphasized that stress-related hair loss is typically transient and goes away between three to nine months. A dermatologist frequently examines your scalp to evaluate and make a diagnosis.

How To Reverse Stress Hair Loss?

Stress-related hair loss typically resolves on its own within three to six months without the need for therapy, but small lifestyle adjustments can accelerate the recovery period. The good news is that you can make a few modifications to your way of life to preserve your health while also learning how to successfully manage your stress to keep these uncomfortable situations from happening again.

A healthy, balanced diet that includes the necessary macro- and micronutrients in addition to the multivitamins prescribed by your doctor is crucial. Regular exercise also supports improved bodily and mental wellness. In addition, it’s critical to exercise self-care, mindfulness, and meditation to reduce the likelihood of chronic stress.

Can Stress-Induced Hair Loss Be Permanent?

The loss of hair brought on by stress is typically reversible, but what if it is permanent? Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is known to be a precursor for male and female pattern hair loss, which are both irreversible disorders, is frequently increased by stress hormones. The ensuing disorder, known as androgenetic alopecia, is irreversible, meaning that the hair that has been lost cannot be regrown. Additionally, some with severe forms of alopecia areata also lose their hair permanently. Does that imply that you will always have to cope with baldness? Certainly not. Numerous procedures, including hair restoration and transplantation, are available to help you regrow hair on your head.

WeCure has professionals that have received international accreditation on board who can assist you in overcoming permanent hair loss that results from stress or any other reason so that you continue to look young. Schedule your appointment immediately to take advantage of our free hair consultation and the opportunity to travel for fun and profit.

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Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash