Unveiling The Truth: Can Stress Cause Hair Fall?

Snehil Sharma

Snehil Sharma
Aug 2023

2 min read
Can Stress Cause Hair Fall

Table of content

“Can stress cause hair fall?” This question has been a subject of concern for many individuals experiencing increased hair shedding during periods of stress. Stress, a natural response to various life challenges, can indeed have adverse effects on hair health. As the body reacts to stress, it releases hormones that can disrupt the hair growth cycle, leading to hair fall.

Understanding this link between stress and hair fall highlights the importance of stress management to preserve healthy hair and overall well-being.

Moreover, no matter what is our age and gender, hair loss and hair fall can be upsetting and worrying particularly if we don’t know what its cause. While it is natural for the hair to thin as we get older. Also, sudden or patchy hair fall is sometimes a sign of an underlying condition.

So, here in this blog let’s jump deep to look at why stress can cause hair loss and what are the potential treatments.

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Can Stress Cause Hair Fall: Why Does Stress Causes Hair Fall?

Stress can cause hair loss through a complex interplay of physiological and hormonal changes. When we experience stress, the body activates the “fight or flight” response, releasing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Thus, these hormones, in turn, can affect the hair growth cycle in several ways:

1. Effluvium

Stress can induce a condition called telogen effluvium, where a significant number of hair follicles enter the resting phase (telogen) prematurely. This causes more hairs than usual to fall out, leading to temporary hair thinning.

2. Hormonal Imbalance

Stress disrupts the delicate balance of hormones in the body, including androgens and estrogens. Increased levels of androgens can lead to a condition known as androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness), which is the most common form of hair loss in both men and women.

3. Reduced Blood Circulation

Stress can constrict blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the scalp. Also, this reduced circulation deprives hair follicles of essential nutrients and oxygen, hindering hair growth and leading to hair fall.

4. Trichotillomania

In some cases, severe stress can trigger a psychological condition called trichotillomania, where individuals feel compelled to pull out their hair, leading to significant hair loss.

5. Immune System Response

Prolonged stress can weaken the immune system, potentially triggering autoimmune reactions against hair follicles. Also, it is seen in alopecia areata, a condition characterized by patchy hair loss.

It is essential to manage stress effectively through relaxation techniques, exercise, counseling, or other stress-reduction methods to help maintain healthy hair and overall well-being.

If hair loss persists or becomes severe, seeking medical advice from a healthcare professional or dermatologist is recommended to identify and address any underlying issues.

Can Stress Cause Hair Fall: Symptoms Of Hair Loss

Stress-related hair loss, often referred to as telogen effluvium, can present with several distinct symptoms. These symptoms may vary from person to person, and the severity can range from mild to more pronounced. So, some common symptoms of stress-related hair loss include:

  • Increased Hair Shedding: One of the primary symptoms is a noticeable increase in hair shedding. This can be observed while shampooing, brushing, or simply running fingers through the hair.
  • Thinning Hair: Over time, the increased shedding can lead to visible thinning of the hair, especially around the crown and top of the scalp.
  • Widening Of The Part: For individuals with longer hair, stress-related hair loss may result in a wider part line, as the scalp becomes more visible due to hair thinning.
  • Receding Hairline: In some cases, stress-related hair loss can lead to a receding hairline, particularly in individuals genetically predisposed to male or female pattern baldness.
  • Temporary Bald Patches: In severe cases, stress-related hair loss can cause temporary bald patches or areas of significant hair thinning on the scalp.
  • Hair Texture Changes: Affected hair may become dry, brittle, and more prone to breakage due to the disrupted hair growth cycle.
  • Excessive Hair On Pillows Or Clothing: People experiencing stress-related hair loss may notice an unusually large amount of hair left on pillows, bed sheets, or clothing.

Please Note: It is important to note that stress-related hair loss is often temporary and reversible once the underlying stressors are addressed and managed effectively. However, if hair loss persists or becomes a cause of concern, seeking advice from a healthcare professional or dermatologist is recommended for proper evaluation and guidance.

Also, read: Rewire Your Mind On How To Reduce Stress And Feel Your Best

Can Stress Cause Hair Fall: Potential Ways To Cope

Coping with hair fall involves a combination of lifestyle changes, hair care practices, and stress management techniques. So, here are some potential ways to cope with hair fall:

1. Balanced Diet

Ensure you have a well-balanced diet rich in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Foods containing biotin, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids can promote healthy hair growth.

2. Gentle Hair Care

Avoid aggressive hair styling, excessive heat, and harsh chemical treatments. Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle hair gently and avoid pulling or tugging on wet hair.

3. Regular Haircuts

Getting regular trims can help prevent split ends and breakage, promoting healthier-looking hair.

4. Use Mild Shampoos

Opt for sulfate-free and mild shampoos that are suitable for your hair type. Avoid overwashing, as it can strip the scalp of natural oils.

5. Scalp Care

Keep your scalp clean and free from excessive oil and dandruff. Use a gentle shampoo to cleanse the scalp regularly.

6. Avoid Traction Alopecia

Avoid tight hairstyles that pull on the hair, as this can lead to a condition called traction alopecia.

7. Stress Management

Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies you enjoy.

8. Adequate Sleep

Ensure you get enough sleep each night. A lack of sleep can contribute to stress and impact hair health.

9. Regular Exercise

Engage in regular physical activity, as it can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Also may positively impact hair health.

10. Avoid Smoking And Excessive Alcohol

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to hair loss. So reducing or eliminating these habits may be beneficial.

11. Avoid Crash Diets

Rapid weight loss through crash diets can cause hair to thin. So aim for gradual and sustainable weight loss if necessary.

12. Consult A Dermatologist

If hair fall persists despite lifestyle changes, it’s best to seek advice from a dermatologist. They can identify any underlying issues and provide personalized treatment recommendations.

Please Remember: Hair fall can have various underlying causes, and what works for one person may not work for another.

Read: Unlocking The Mystery: Does Stress Cause Weight Loss?

Can Stress Cause Hair Fall: Foods To Include To Avoid Hair Fall

Including certain nutrient-rich foods in your diet can help promote hair health and reduce hair fall. Here are some foods to include to avoid hair fall:

  • Eggs: Rich in protein and biotin, eggs can support hair growth and strength.
  • Spinach: High in iron, vitamins A and C, and folate, spinach contributes to a healthy scalp and hair follicles.
  • Fatty Fish: Fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. This helps you in nourishing the hair and scalp.
  • Nuts And Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds contain omega-3s, zinc, and vitamin E, all beneficial for hair health.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Packed with beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A, sweet potatoes aid in promoting healthy hair growth.
  • Avocado: A good source of healthy fats and vitamin E, avocados nourish the hair and help prevent dryness.
  • Greek Yogurt: Rich in protein and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), Greek yogurt supports hair health and strength.
  • Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries contain vitamin C, which aids in collagen production and promotes strong hair.
  • Lean Poultry: Chicken and turkey are good sources of protein, which is vital for healthy hair growth.
  • Beans And Lentils: High in protein, iron, zinc, and biotin, legumes can contribute to improved hair health.
  • Oats: A source of iron, zinc, and B vitamins, oats can help support healthy hair growth.
  • Carrots: Rich in vitamin A, carrots are beneficial for maintaining a healthy scalp.
  • Broccoli: Contains vitamins A and C, as well as iron, which support hair health.
  • Bell Peppers: High in vitamin C, bell peppers aid in collagen production and promote hair strength.
  • Soybeans: A source of iron and omega-3 fatty acids, soybeans can contribute to hair health.

Remember to maintain a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods to support overall health and well-being.

Can Stress Cause Hair Fall: Treatments For Male And Female Patterns

Male and female pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia. Also, a common type of hair loss that affect both men and women. There are various treatments available to manage and slow down the progression of these conditions. Here are some common treatments for male and female pattern baldness:

  • Minoxidil: Minoxidil is an over-the-counter topical solution or foam that can be applied directly to the scalp. It is available in different strengths for men and women. Thus, Minoxidil promotes hair growth and may help slow down hair loss in some individuals.
  • Finasteride: Finasteride is an oral medication available by prescription for men. It works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that contributes to male pattern baldness. So, Finasteride can help slow down hair loss and promote hair regrowth in some men.
  • Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT): LLLT is a non-invasive treatment that uses low-level lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to stimulate hair follicles and promote hair growth. Thus, it is available in various forms, including laser combs, helmets, and caps.
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy: PRP therapy involves drawing a small amount of the patient’s blood, processing it to concentrate platelets, and injecting the platelet-rich plasma into the scalp. Also, PRP is believed to stimulate hair follicles and promote hair growth.
  • Estrogen Therapy: Post-menopausal women with androgenetic alopecia may benefit from hormone therapy containing estrogen. Moreover, it can help counteract the effects of androgens on the hair follicles.
  • Hair Care Products: Use hair care products that contain ingredients like ketoconazole (an antifungal agent) or caffeine (a stimulant). This also helps manage hair loss and promote hair growth.

*Before starting any treatment, it’s advisable to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional.

Read: Yoga For Stress: 7 Mindful Practices To Destress

A Word From Fitelo On “Can Stress Cause Hair Fall”

Yes, stress can cause hair fall. When we experience stress, the body releases hormones like cortisol, which disrupt the hair growth cycle. This can, however, lead to a condition called telogen effluvium. Where a significant number of hair follicles enter the resting phase prematurely, resulting in increased hair shedding. Stress can also impact hormone levels, blood circulation to the scalp, and the immune system, further contributing to hair loss. So managing stress through relaxation techniques, exercise, and proper self-care is essential to mitigate its effects on hair health. Moreover, if hair fall persists, seeking advice from a healthcare professional or dermatologist can help identify any underlying issues and provide suitable treatments.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Stress Hair Loss Look Like?

Telogen effluvium is a common type of hair loss that affects people after they experience severe stress or a change to their body. Therefore, symptoms include thinning hair, usually around the top of your head.

Can You Fix Stress Hair Loss?

Yes! The good news with stress-related hair loss is that it’s often reversible. However, stress and hair loss don’t have to be permanent. If you get your stress under control, your hair might grow back. Cases related to trichotillomania usually need psychological intervention.

How Do You Know If Stress Is Causing Hair Loss?

During increased stress levels, 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, affected hair might fall out suddenly when simply combing or washing your hair.

How Can I Stop Hair Loss Naturally?

To stop hair fall, however, follow the below points,

  • Do massage with almond oil or coconut oil
  • Applying aloe vera gel
  • Avoid using heating products such as straighteners, curlers, etc.

What Foods Help Hair Growth?

You must add the below foods to your diet,

  • Eggs
  • Berries
  • Spinach
  • Fatty fish
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Does 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 causing hair loss. 

How Can I Reduce Hair Loss At Home?

Avoid hair fall by washing them in cold and lukewarm water only. Don’t comb your hair while it’s wet to prevent breakages. Stop using chemical hair products as they weaken hair strength and aggravate hair loss.

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This blog post was written to help you make healthy and better food choices. So, be aware and take care. The vital thing to consider is your health before starting a restrictive diet. Therefore, always seek advice from a doctor/dietitian before starting if you have any concerns.
Eat Healthy, Live Healthy. Enjoy a long, happy life.

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