Wednesday, September 20, 2023

How Does Stress Cause Hair Loss

Can Ptsd Make Your Hair Fall Out

Stress can cause hair loss: Here’s what you can do to stop it

Those with PTSD will find that their stress hormones never return to normal levels and that their bodies choose to conserve energy and nutrients for essential functions of the body, preventing hair from regrowing once it is shed.

Those with PTSD suffer from being stuck in a fight-or-flight mode permanently, where loud noises or sudden changes in lighting can cause them to panic or become extremely distressed.

The effects of existing in fight-or-flight mode do not just affect their behaviour, but also the internal hormonal levels in the body. If the body is stuck in fight-or-flight, it will choose to preserve any nutrients for essential core functions of the body. As the hair is deemed non-essential, hair follicles do not get the nutrients they need to produce hair follicles. This means the hair will shed without being replaced, ultimately causing hair loss.

Treatment For Male Pattern Baldness

There are two main treatments for this type of hair loss: finasteride and minoxidil. Finasteride is a tablet taken daily and its only suitable for men.

If youre a man living with male pattern baldness, visit our online hair loss clinic to learn about how finasteride works. We offer Finasteride, Propecia and also Regaine foam for men – which contains minoxidil.

If youre a woman experiencing hair loss, you may benefit from minoxidil, find out more about women’s hair loss treatments here.

How To Control Hair Fall Due To Stress

There are several ways you can address hair fall caused due to stress.

Over-the-counter, FDA-approved topical solutions and drugs like Minoxidil and Finasteride can help in promoting hair growth and act as treatments for hair loss due to stress. Minoxidil or Rogaine enhances the blood flow and oxygen supply to the scalp, thereby nourishing the hair follicles. Finasteride, on the other hand, is a prescription medication that reduces the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone , the hormone that is primarily responsible for hair loss in men. Finasteride stimulates hair growth by bringing down the DHT levels.

Massaging the scalp with certain essential oils is also said to be an effective remedy for hair loss. Some examples include lavender oil, castor oil, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, tea tree oil, lemongrass oil, and thyme oil.

Besides addressing hair loss, your stress level needs to be managed too. Relaxation techniques like yoga, exercise, meditation, breathing exercises, and positive thinking can effectively deal with stress. While yoga and meditation calm the mind, exercise releases chemicals like endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which impact your mood and help you manage your stress.

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Reduce Anxiety And The Hair May Come Back

The good news for anxiety sufferers is that not all anxiety related hair loss is permanent. If stress and anxiety are what caused your hair loss, then reducing that anxiety can help your hair come back when combined with vitamin and mineral supplements to aid in the process.

For more information about anxiety treatment strategies, .

Remember – not all hair comes back after it’s lost regardless of the cause, and your hair loss may be natural and not caused by anxiety at all. No matter what, you need to make sure that you are addressing your anxiety directly in order to both reduce the likelihood of anxiety related hair loss and reduce the anxiety you experience because of your lost hair.

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Other Common Causes Of Hair Loss

Hair Loss and Stress And How To Deal With It

Most people lose between 50 to 100 strands of hair a day however, this is usually not noticeable because new hair is always growing back at the same time. And while stress can be a common cause of hair loss, it is not the only possible explanation. The following factors can contribute to hair loss:

Read Also: How Do You Know If You Are Stressed Or Depressed

Clinical Types Of Stress Hair Loss For Women

Hair thinning from stress happens to many people. You may just feel like your hair isnt as thick as it used to be, especially since youve been crumbling under the pressures of everyday stress. But there are some actual conditions that affect the hair follicles, causing hair to fall out much more than normal. Knowing the difference between the various medical conditions is crucial, so here is some background.

  • Telogen effluvium is a condition that makes hair rush through its natural growth cycle, according to American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Stress causes hair to be pushed into the resting cycle, meaning less growth. When things go back to normal, the hairs get pushed out. It looks like handfuls of hair, but this is actually a sign of regrowth. It typically affects women 30 to 60 years of age and starts suddenly. It has a tendency to fluctuate for a period of years. This condition does not cause baldness.
  • Alopecia actually means hair loss. This form of female pattern baldness can happen due to severe stress. However, there is little evidence that alopecia is stress-related. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes hair to fall out in round patches, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Telogen Effluvium And Hair Loss

Telogen effluvium, or TE, is one of the most common reasons for hair loss. This condition happens when someone experiences extreme stress or a shop to the body, causing large numbers of hair follicles to go into the resting phase of growth.

A few months after the stressful event or shock, the strands that were affected may fall out while simply brushing or washing your hair. Often, hair loss from TE is not felt until months after the stressor or event.

Common examples of TE include:


It is not uncommon for women to lose hair after childbirth, given the sudden changes in hormones. This hair loss usually does not last long, and most women will see their hair growth resume within a few months.

Strict Diets

Often individuals who suddenly switch to a restrictive diet to lose or gain weight rapidly experience physiological changes, such as hair loss. This is due to a lack of necessary nutrients and minerals.

As always, talk to your doctor before switching diets to ensure you are getting the needed amount of vitamins and minerals, for both your body and your hair health.

Chronic Stress or Illness

Chronic stress or illness can take a massive toll on individuals well-being, and it can also cause persistent TE. In addition, medications used to manage chronic stress, pain or illness can influence hair growth.

Sudden Traumatic Event

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What Hair Loss From Stress Looks Like

While trichotillomania might seem like the worst of all the three types of stress-induced hair loss we saw above, telogen effluvium is actually the most common.

In this condition, you may not even notice that your hair is shedding due to stress until much later.

So, lets understand what telogen effluvium looks like.

Trichotillomania And Hair Loss

Can Stress Cause Hair Loss? | Hair Loss Expert Dr. Phipps

Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder that causes affected individuals to pull hair out from their scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes and other parts of the body.

This can be a reaction to uncomfortable or negative feelings like stress, loneliness, boredom or frustration. Bald patches can develop over time, if the individual does not seek treatment for their trichotillomania.

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How To Stop Hair Thinning Hair Loss And Balding Caused By Anxiety

When hair thinning, hair loss, and balding are caused by any of the other factors mentioned in point 2, addressing the specific cause will alleviate hair thinning and loss symptoms.

When hair thinning, hair loss, and balding are caused by stress, including anxiety-caused stress, reducing anxious behavior and stress can alleviate hair related symptoms in time.

Containment is one of the most effective ways to reduce and eliminate anxious behavior. We explain containment in detail in chapter 6 in the Recovery Support area of our website.

Visit our 60 Natural Ways To Reduce Stress And Anxiety article for natural and practical ways to reduce stress.

Approximately one third of those who struggle with anxiety issues experience hair loss, thinning, and balding. It is a common anxiety symptom.

Unfortunately, there arent any quick solutions to stress- and anxiety-caused hair loss, thinning, and balding. But you can reverse it when you deal with your stress and anxiety issues.

Play the clip below for Jim Folks commentary about the hair loss anxiety symptoms. Jim Folk is the president of

A little more than one third of anxious people experience hair loss due to their anxiety and the stress it causes. Jim Folk experienced hair loss during his 12 year struggle with anxiety disorder.

Therefore, its best to deal with your anxiety issues so that your body can recover and eliminate the hair loss symptom.

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Holistic Hair & Scalp Wellness Begins Within

Maximize your overall wellness by boosting immunity and balancing from within. Lead a healthy lifestyle that includes a nutrient-rich diet along with supplements, stay hydrated, make movement and regular exercise a daily habit and regulate your stress levels.

Taking a holistic approach will help you maintain optimal immunity to stave off future infections, keeping your body, mind, scalp and hair strong, healthy and looking their very best!


Read Also: What Is Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome

How Can I Stop My Hair Loss

You can follow a few hair hygiene tips to make your hair less likely to fall out.

  • Avoid hairstyles that pull on the hair.
  • Avoid high-heat hair styling tools.
  • Don’t chemically treat or bleach your hair.
  • Use a shampoo that’s mild and suited for your hair.
  • Use a soft brush made from natural fibers. …
  • Try low-level light therapy.
  • How To Relieve Stress

    Will Stress Cause Hair Loss

    You cant always prevent stress from occurring in your life, but you can often minimize the amount of stress you experience, and when you cut down on stress in some areas, you have more energy to manage the stress that cant be avoided. These techniques can help you cut out stress in your life when possible.

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    How Stress Causes Hair Loss + Mental Health Tips To Help

    To keep the answer simple: Yes, stress can cause hair loss. Significant stress can lead to shedding and hair loss, board-certified dermatologist Christine Shaver, M.D., FAAD, of Bernstein Medical Center for Hair Restoration in New York City tells mbg.

    Stress causes a spike in the hormone cortisol . When excessive cortisol is present in the body, it can wreak havoc: With hair, it can force the hair to enter and stay in resting phase as nutrients are redirected to other, more vital areas of the body.

    This was shown in a recent study done on mice, where researchers studied corticosterone levels as they related to hair growth. They found that chronic and prolonged stress meant that the mices hair follicles stayed in resting phase1.

    However, you likely wont notice this hair loss right away. When high stress occurs, the hair begins to shed about three to six months later, Shaver explains. It will continue to shed until the underlying cause of stress has been addressed and resolved, she says.

    One of the hardest parts about hair loss is the cyclical patternstress leads to hair loss, which can lead to more stress, more loss, and it goes on. This is why stress management is so importantmore on that in a bit.

    Myths Associated With Stress Hair Loss

    Misunderstanding your hair problems can be dangerous, so lets dispel the most common myths about stress hair loss.

    • It appears immediately. Stress hair loss takes anywhere from 6-12 weeks to appear, based on hair growth cycles. Your hair goes into a resting stage to protect itself when under stressful situations, as most studies suggest. Once your hair cycle returns to normal, it pushes the hair out to grow new strands. It is possible for hair loss to appear up to three months after that stressful event.
    • Minor stress can cause hair loss. A stressful event can be physical like surgery or trauma. It can be emotional, like a divorce or loss of a job. Stress can also be hormonal, like switching birth control or recently having a baby. Anxiety hair loss doesnt usually happen because you are stressed about your morning commute.
    • Any hair loss is stress-related. Stress does not equate balding. Just because you see your hairbrush covered in day-old hair or you are sweeping up more hair than usual these days does not mean it is stress-related. It may be damaged hair breaking off. Make sure you are not damaging your hair if you want to maintain thickness.

    Photo Credit: Unsplash

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    Hair Loss From Stress Vs Male Pattern Baldness

    There are several major differences between telogen effluvium and hair loss from male pattern baldness:

    • First, hair loss from male pattern baldness is typically permanent. In contrast, almost all of the hair you lose from telogen effluvium will grow back, provided the primary cause of the telogen effluvium is treated.

    • Second, hair loss from male pattern baldness looks different from hair loss thats triggered by stress. Male pattern baldness typically causes a receding hairline, balding on the crown or other baldness patterns. Telogen effluvium causes diffuse thinning on the entire scalp.

    • Third, telogen effluvium is not related to androgen hormones such as DHT. This means that some treatments for male pattern baldness, such as finasteride, arent effective as treatments for stress-related hair loss.

    • Fifth, If your hair loss is caused by stress, you may also lose body hair. 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 hairor notice less hair on your body than you normally would.

    If youre starting to lose your hair and arent sure whether its caused by stress or male pattern baldness, its best to talk to a healthcare professional.

    Most dermatologists can diagnose telogen effluvium using one or several tests, including a hair pull test.

    Common Symptoms Of Stress And Anxiety Related Hair Loss

    Why Does Stress Cause Hair Loss? And 3 Easy Steps To Recover!

    Anxiety and hair pulling are common, and they leave you with having hair troubles. Some common symptoms to look out for stress related hair loss include

  • Thinning hair, especially from hairline and crown region
  • Big clumps of hair falling each day
  • Evident balding on the scalp, in patches or otherwise
  • More than normal daily hair fall
  • Too many hairs in shower, comb or pillow
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    When To See A Doctor For Stress

    Stress does cause hair loss, but it isnt the only cause. If youre experiencing sudden and ongoing hair loss, visiting your family doctor is a good first step. Your doctor can evaluate the hair loss, review your medical history, and refer you to a dermatologist if necessary.

    You might think of a dermatologist as just a skin doctor, but this doctor also specializes in problems of hair and nails. Visiting a doctor sooner, rather than later, can improve your outcome.

    Common Symptoms Of Stress

    If youre experiencing hair loss due to stress, youll usually notice the classic symptoms of hair loss:

    • Extra hairs on your pillowcase and bedding

    • More stray hairs on your shower or bathroom floor

    • Lots of stray hairs in your shower drain catch

    • Less density and a thin look to your hair, especially under bright light

    Hair loss is often subtle, meaning you might not notice it day to day until you look at yourself in a mirror or see your hair in a photograph.

    If youre worried that you might have hair loss due to stress, it may help to take regular photos of your hair to track any changes in thickness over time.

    You can also try counting the hairs that you lose. Its normal to lose about 100 hairs per day. If you have telogen effluvium, you may lose an average of about 300, making it easy to detect a change in your hair shedding.

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    Stress And Hair Loss: The Basics

    Contrary to popular belief, stress is not linked to male pattern baldness the form of hair loss that causes you to permanently lose hair around your hairline, temples and the crown of your scalp.

    Telogen effluvium affects your hair by interrupting the natural hair growth cycle.

    Normally, there are four different growth phases during the hair cycle as it grows from below the skin to its full length, then falls out to be replaced by a new hair:

    • The first phase is the anagen phase, during which the hair grows to its full length.

    • The second phase is the catagen phase, during which the old, fully grown hair follicle detaches from the skin.

    • The third phase is the telogen phase, also known as the resting phase, during which a new hair starts to grow from the follicle to replace the old one.

    • The fourth phase is the exogen phase, during which the old hair falls out, with the new hair growing in its place.

    Just like your skin and nails, your hair is constantly undergoing this growth cycle. Weve covered each phase of the hair growth cycle in more detail in our guide to the hair growth process.

    Each phase of the hair growth cycle varies in length. Hairs usually stay in the anagen phase for up to six years during which they grow to their full length.

    About 90 percent of your hairs are in the anagen phase at any time, meaning that most of your hair is constantly growing.

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