Can Stress Cause Hair Loss?

February 16,2022

Hair loss is never fun, especially when you do not know what’s causing it. There is a range of factors that trigger hair loss, and today we will discuss one of the major ones - stress.

What are The Possible Causes of Hair Loss

These reasons might be your underlying cause of hair loss problems:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Chemotherapy (or other medical treatments)
  • Pregnancy
  • Underlying health conditions
  • Usage of birth control pills
  • Emotional stress

If you are experiencing unusual hair thinning or balding, especially in your teenage years or 20s, you should consult your doctor.

Can Stress Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, stress can cause hair loss. You will usually notice hair fall within a 3-month delay after the stressful event. During this stage, the hair on your head is at a resting stage; this does not mean that your hair follicles are dead or your hair won’t grow anymore. Your usual hair growth pattern will return to normal once your stress level goes back to normal.

Types of Stress-related Hair Loss

Not all types of hair loss are caused due to stress, like male hair loss (male pattern baldness). Hence, we have curated a list of the commonly caused stress-related hair problems you should be aware of:

  1. Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium (TE) is a stress-related hair loss problem where hair thinning is not seen all over the head but in patches, especially in the centre of the scalp.

In extreme cases of TE, hair thinning is seen on other body parts, such as eyebrows or the genital. It is the second most common type of hair loss seen in men and women of any age. But, the good news is that TE is reversible since it does not permanently damage your hair follicles.

  1. Trichotillomania

Also known as hair pulling disorder, trichotillomania involves the urge to pull out hair from your scalp or other body parts. It is more commonly related to impulse control disorder, as you may find yourself pulling hair when you are bored or distracted without giving much thought. The hair pulling can sometimes be intentional to relieve stress or other negative emotions and is more noticeable on eyebrows, eyelashes, and the scalp.

Trichotillomania is often developed in preteens. Although the exact cause is unclear, some research suggests it is genetic.

  1. Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata (AA) develops when your immune system attacks your healthy hair follicles, triggering stress and resulting in hair loss. Hair is lost in patches on the scalp or across the entire scalp. In more severe AA cases, known as alopecia universalis, hair loss is seen on the entire body.

AA affects women and men of all ages. Although some medications can help people with 50% hair loss, there is no known cure.

Is Hair Loss Due to Stress Permanent?

Stress-related hair loss is not permanent, and your hair can grow back. However, everyone’s regrowth rate is different. Moreover, managing your stress is the key to returning to a healthy hair growth rate.

How Do Treat a Hairloss from Stress?

Remedies for stress-related hair loss is different from female hair loss treatments. Therefore, it is essential to understand the underlying cause of your hair loss thoroughly. If you are facing stress caused hair loss, fortunately, it is entirely recoverable, depending on how you take care of the following things:

  1. A Healthy Diet

Good nutrition means great hair growth. Eating a nutritious diet maintains your body’s health and ultimately promotes healthy hair growth. Moreover, just like a healthy diet is important, you need to avoid foods causing hair loss and starving yourself, and malnourishment.

Try to eat more food with:

  • Whole grains
  • Lean protein
  • Vitamin C, B and E
  1. Stress Management

Stress caused hair loss is recoverable, but here is the catch. To hop back on your healthy hair growth cycle, you need to manage your stress effectively, as it determines the amount of time taken for hair regrowth.

If you continue to lead a stressful life without seeking help, you could further trigger more hair loss. To prevent this, you can manage your stress with these stress management techniques:

  • Yoga and meditation
  • Exercise
  • Journaling or doodling
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Writing
  • Counselling or therapy
  1. Topical Treatments

You can also treat hair loss with topical oils and creams like:

  • Topical Minoxidil: Also known as regaine, is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication available in cream, foam and spray form. Apply this to your eyebrows, beard or scalp.
  • Castor Oil: Although evidence suggests this folk remedy has promoted hair regrowth, the research is limited.
  • Topical Corticosteroids: Prescribed medications like corticosteroids, prednisone and other options are sometimes used for treating alopecia areata.

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Stress caused hair loss does not damage your hair follicles permanently and is, therefore, recoverable. Take good care of your health by managing your stress, maintaining a balanced diet and taking prescribed medications.

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