Can Stress Make You Lose Your Hair? (2023)

Can stress cause hair loss?

Reply fromDr. Daniel K. Hall-Flavin

Yes, stress and hair loss can be related.

Three types of hair loss can be associated with high levels of stress:

  • Telogen effluvium.In telogen effluvium (TEL-o-jun uh-FLOO-vee-um), significant stress pushes large numbers of hair follicles into a resting phase. Within a few months, the affected hairs may suddenly fall out simply by combing or washing the hair.
  • Trichotillomania.Trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-MAY-nee-uh) is an overwhelming urge to pluck hair from the scalp, eyebrows, or other areas of the body. Hair pulling can be a way to deal with negative or uncomfortable feelings, such as stress, tension, loneliness, boredom or frustration.
  • Alopecia areata.A variety of factors are believed to cause alopecia areata (al-o-PEE-she-uh ar-e-A-tuh), possibly including severe stress. With alopecia areata, the body's immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing hair loss.

Stress and hair loss don't have to be permanent. And if you manage your stress, your hair can grow back.

If you notice sudden or patchy hair loss or more hair loss than usual when combing or washing your hair, talk to your doctor. Sudden hair loss could indicate an underlying medical condition that requires treatment. If necessary, your doctor will also be able to suggest treatment options for your hair loss.

(Video) Stress can cause hair loss: Here's what you can do to stop it

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(Video) Can Stress Cause Hair Loss? | Hair Loss Expert Dr. Phipps

September 14, 2021

  1. Shapiro J, et al. Evaluation and diagnosis of hair loss. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed on May 12, 2021.
  2. Do you have thinning hair or thinning hair? Association of the American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/insider/shedding. Accessed on May 12, 2021.
  3. Messenger AG. Alopecia areata: clinical manifestations and diagnosis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed on May 12, 2021.
  4. Kyung Hwa Park K, et al. Skin picking disorder (excoriation) and related disorders. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed on May 12, 2021.
  5. Pergunt ao Specialist Mayo. Alopecia. Mayo Clinic. 2021.
(Video) 8 Reasons Why You Might be Losing Hair

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FAQs

How can I stop my hair from falling out due to stress? ›

Stress and Hair Loss: Potential Ways to Cope

Get regular exercise, which helps manage stress and its effects. Spend time with positive people — isolating yourself can make stress worse. Seek professional help from a therapist. Eat a healthy diet and take a multivitamin if your doctor recommends it.

What does stress hair loss look like? ›

Telogen effluvium hair loss — the type of hair loss linked to stress — typically affects your scalp and may appear as patchy hair loss. However, it can also cause you to shed more body hair or notice less hair on your body ​​than you normally would.

Can stress and anxiety cause hair loss? ›

Long-term, or chronic, stress puts people at risk for a variety of health problems. These can include depression and anxiety, as well as problems with digestion and sleep. Chronic stress has also long been linked to hair loss, but the reasons weren't well understood.

How long does stress hair loss last? ›

Telogen effluvium is a common type of hair loss that affects people after they experience severe stress or a change to their body. Symptoms include thinning hair, usually around the top of your head. Treatment exists to reverse hair loss, but hair will typically grow back in three to six months without treatment.

What vitamins help stress hair loss? ›

Packed with a nurturing combination of ginkgo biloba b+, vitamin B complex including folic acid, vitamin B12, botanicals and live cultures, the antioxidant Ginkgo Biloba is an essential element in preventing and reducing further hair loss and provides your body with the right nutrients to increase hair growth.

Which vitamin deficiency causes hair loss? ›

Only riboflavin, biotin, folate, and vitamin B12 deficiencies have been associated with hair loss.

Can lack of sleep cause hair loss? ›

While sleep has a direct impact on the human body's natural hormones, it means that poor sleep reduces the amount of melatonin, potentially cause hair loss. > Lack of sleep will stress people. The psychological stress response has been shown to lead to hair loss due to telogen effluvium.

Why is my hair falling out all of a sudden? ›

It can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or a normal part of aging. Anyone can lose hair on their head, but it's more common in men. Baldness typically refers to excessive hair loss from your scalp. Hereditary hair loss with age is the most common cause of baldness.

What illnesses cause hair loss in females? ›

There are a wide range of conditions that can bring on hair loss, with some of the most common being pregnancy, thyroid disorders, and anemia. Others include autoimmune diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and skin conditions such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis, Rogers says.

What does anxiety hair loss look like? ›

Types of Hair Loss Due to Anxiety. Two types of hair loss are commonly present when clumps of hair can either be brushed or pulled out quickly and are linked to stress and anxiety. Alopecia Areata. Large clumps of hair may suddenly fall out for no apparent reason, causing patches of hair loss.

At what age does hair loss begin? ›

At what age do people typically start to lose their hair? Hair loss can start as early as your teenage years or might not occur until you're well past retirement. Generally, people begin noticing signs of hair loss in their 30s and 40s. More significant hair loss often happens when people reach their 60s and beyond.

How can I grow my lost hair back? ›

The most common options include:
  1. Minoxidil (Rogaine). Over-the-counter (nonprescription) minoxidil comes in liquid, foam and shampoo forms. ...
  2. Finasteride (Propecia). This is a prescription drug for men. ...
  3. Other medications. Other oral options include spironolactone (Carospir, Aldactone) and oral dutasteride (Avodart).
Mar 26, 2022

How much hair can you lose with stress? ›

Types Of Stress Related Hair Loss

In Telogen effluvium [2], many hair follicles enter the resting phase or telogen phase due to stress or trauma. At any given time, about 5-10 % of hair is in resting phase. But with telogen effluvium, this percentage exceeds and there is loss of more than 100 strands every day.

What are your signs of stress? ›

Physical signs of stress
  • Diffculty breathing.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Blurred eyesight or sore eyes.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Fatigue.
  • Muscle aches and headaches.
  • Chest pains and high blood pressure.
  • Indigestion or heartburn.

What are the signs that your body is responding to stress? ›

Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, speed up your reaction time, and enhance your focus—preparing you to either fight or flee from the danger at hand.

What foods help hair loss from stress? ›

Walnuts, lentils, barley, guava, eggs, and dairy products are some of the easily available ingredients that are helpful in boosting hair growth. So, strengthen your hair internally by adding these food items to your list.

What is the best vitamin of hair loss? ›

“Vitamins are essential for healthy hair growth and may help in preventing hair shedding and thinning,” says Michele Green, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in New York. “The best vitamins for hair growth include B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, biotin and iron.

What is the most important vitamin for hair loss? ›

Biotin. Biotin is a B vitamin that plays a major role in promoting the growth of healthy hair. In fact, biotin is so closely related to the growth of hair that studies have found that 38 percent of women with hair loss issues have biotin deficiencies.

How to stimulate hair growth? ›

What can help your hair grow?
  1. Avoid restrictive dieting. ...
  2. Check your protein intake. ...
  3. Try caffeine-infused products. ...
  4. Explore essential oils. ...
  5. Boost your nutrient profile. ...
  6. Indulge in a scalp massage. ...
  7. Look into platelet-rich plasma treatment (PRP) ...
  8. Hold the heat.
Jun 18, 2020

Does lack of vitamin D cause hair loss? ›

Research shows that a lack of vitamin D in your body can lead to hair loss. One role vitamin D plays is stimulating new and old hair follicles. When there isn't enough vitamin D in your system, new hair growth can be stunted.

Does lack of water cause hair loss? ›

Severe dehydration may even accelerate hair loss. If you notice your hair beginning to thin or fall out in larger quantities than usual, increasing your daily water and vitamin intake should help. It's also beneficial to use a moisturizing conditioner and avoid blow drying your hair until its moisture content improves.

How should I sleep to prevent hair loss? ›

6 Ways to Prevent Hair Loss While Sleeping
  1. Opt for a silk or satin pillowcase. We talk about silk pillowcases often, and for good reason. ...
  2. Avoid sleeping with wet hair. ...
  3. Use an overnight hair mask. ...
  4. Apply a scalp treatment. ...
  5. Detangle your hair before bed. ...
  6. Never tie your hair up or wear a night cap.
Oct 27, 2021

How do I know if I'm losing too much hair? ›

It's normal to shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day. When the body sheds significantly more hairs every day, a person has excessive hair shedding.

What hormone causes hair loss? ›

DHT: The hormone behind hair loss

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is made from testosterone by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. It can also be made from DHEA, a hormone more common in women. DHT is found in skin, hair follicles, and the prostate.

What organ can cause hair loss? ›

Either an underactive thyroid (a medical condition called hypothyroidism), or an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), can result in hair loss because each condition causes a hormonal imbalance.

When should I worry about hair loss? ›

If you notice sudden or patchy hair loss or more than usual hair loss when combing or washing your hair, talk to your doctor. Sudden hair loss can signal an underlying medical condition that requires treatment. If needed, your doctor might also suggest treatment options for your hair loss.

What to do when hair is falling out? ›

Ways to stop hair loss
  1. Eat extra protein. You may not be getting enough protein each day and that can affect your hair growth. ...
  2. Take vitamins. ...
  3. Follow the Mediterranean diet. ...
  4. Use over-the-counter hair loss medication. ...
  5. Try low-level laser light therapy. ...
  6. Maintain good hair and scalp care. ...
  7. Can hair loss be reversed?
Jan 11, 2022

Can anxiety meds help hair loss? ›

Several medications are available to treat both anxiety and hair loss. These include anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants, which your healthcare provider may prescribe while you take part in therapy if you have an anxiety disorder.

Does hair loss mean depression? ›

If you're experiencing symptoms of depression, and you've also noticed some hair loss, you might wonder whether it's just another sign or side effect of depression. While experts haven't found evidence to suggest depression directly causes hair loss, depression may have a more indirect role in thinning hair.

Is my hair loss stress or genetic? ›

Genetics play a large role in determining how much hair loss you'll see as you age. However, other factors — such as stress levels, nutrition, and medications — also cause balding. Genetic hair loss can't be reversed, but there are steps you can take to slow it down and maximize your hair growth potential.

What hormone causes hair loss in females? ›

As with male pattern baldness, female pattern baldness comes from hormone imbalances, specifically dihydrotestosterone imbalances, or DHT. This hormone is similar in structure to testosterone, but it is significantly more potent [3]. DHT can attach to receptors on the hair follicles, causing the follicles to shrink.

How do I know if my hair loss is temporary or permanent? ›

If it's an acute disorder, such as trauma, then the hair loss is likely temporary and should rectify itself in time. Medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, require a simple blood test for a diagnosis, after which a hair loss treatment can be sought.

Can low iron cause hair loss? ›

Yes. Most hair loss due to an iron deficiency can be reversed. If you've been experiencing hair loss and think it may be due to an iron deficiency, Dr. Piliang recommends talking to your doctor.

Can thin hair become thick again? ›

Here's the hard truth: Little can be done to permanently change the diameter of individual hair strands. Thickening products can do wonders to temporarily plump hair strands, but when it comes down to it, fine hair is genetic and can't be changed.

What blood test shows hair loss? ›

CRP Test. The C-reactive protein (CRP) blood test is another way to determine inflammation levels associated with alopecia. CRP is an established marker for autoimmune inflammation. So, you can expect to take this test if you are suspected of having alopecia areata.

What are 3 warning signs of stress? ›

Warnings signs of stress in adults may include:
  • Crying spells or bursts of anger.
  • Difficulty eating.
  • Losing interest in daily activities.
  • Increasing physical distress symptoms such as headaches or stomach pains.
  • Fatigue.
  • Feeling guilty, helpless, or hopeless.
  • Avoiding family and friends.
May 16, 2022

What is a great stress reliever? ›

Get active. Virtually any form of physical activity can act as a stress reliever. Even if you're not an athlete or you're out of shape, exercise can still be a good stress reliever. Physical activity can pump up your feel-good endorphins and other natural neural chemicals that enhance your sense of well-being.

What can too much stress cause? ›

Stress that's left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

What are 7 physical signs of stress? ›

Physical symptoms of stress include:
  • Low energy.
  • Headaches.
  • Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea.
  • Aches, pains, and tense muscles.
  • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat.
  • Insomnia.
  • Frequent colds and infections.
  • Loss of sexual desire and/or ability.
Aug 19, 2021

What are 4 emotional signs of stress? ›

Emotional signs of stress
  • Irritability or moodiness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated.
  • Loneliness and isolation.

What are physical signs of stress in a woman? ›

Common symptoms of stress in women include: Physical. Headaches, difficulty sleeping, tiredness, pain (most commonly in the back and neck), overeating/under eating, skin problems, drug and alcohol misuse, lack of energy, upset stomach, less interest in sex/other things you used to enjoy. Emotional.

How do you know if you have stress alopecia? ›

Alopecia areata is another type of hair loss that can be triggered by stress. This type of alopecia is believed to be related to the immune system. It usually causes a very distinctive type of hair loss, where small coin-sized bald patches appear across the scalp, face, and body.

How do you know if your hair is regrowing after telogen effluvium? ›

Hair shedding will decrease. If your hair reaches a normal amount of shedding (i.e. 50 to 100 hairs per day), that's a pretty clear indication that telogen effluvium regrowth is occurring. If you have long hair, you will notice more short hair strands throughout your scalp.

Where does hair loss from stress start? ›

Alopecia areata

This may be triggered by stress, and it can result in hair loss. Hair may be lost in round patches on the scalp, or across the entire scalp. In a more severe form of AA known as alopecia universalis, hair is lost from the entire body. The hair may grow back and fall out repeatedly over a period of time.

What triggers alopecia? ›

Risk Factors of Alopecia Areata

If you have a genetic predisposition to AA, risk factors that could trigger the subsequent hair loss may include an injury, illness, or severe emotional stress. “As with all autoimmune conditions, stress plays a key role in triggering the process,” explains Jackson.

What does alopecia start like? ›

Alopecia areata typically begins with sudden loss of round or oval patches of hair on the scalp, but any part of the body may be affected, such as the beard area in men, or the eyebrows or eyelashes.

What shampoo is good for telogen effluvium? ›

The Telogen Effluvium treatment consists of the Neofollics Shampoo, Conditioner and Tablets. For optimal condition of your scalp and hair, we recommend that you use the Neofollics Shampoo in combination with the Neofollics Conditioner almost daily. This creates the perfect basis for healthy hair growth.

What to avoid with telogen effluvium? ›

Tips For Telogen Effluvium Regrowth
  • Consider a haircut.
  • Focus on diet and nutrition.
  • Avoid heat styling.
  • Avoid coloring or bleaching your hair.
  • Avid hair loss-inducing stressor.
  • Manage your stress levels.
Nov 10, 2021

Should I cut my hair if I have telogen effluvium? ›

Even cutting your hair into a lob will help disguise sudden hair loss and diffuse thinning. If you're open to it, talk to your hairstylist about a haircut that will work best for your hair texture while you wait for telogen effluvium regrowth.

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