How To Deal with Stress-Related Hair Loss: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment Strategies

Stress leads to hair loss because it makes our bodies react in a way that harms the hair growth cycle. Various factors like big changes in our hormones, not getting enough good nutrients, and having a lot of emotional distress can all make this happen. Furthermore, when stress goes on for a long time, it can cause even more harm to our body balance, including making more hair fall out than normal. But surprise, there is also a clear connection between chronic stress and conditions like telogen effluvium, trichotillomania, and alopecia areata. Lastly, remember that understanding these connections can help you know best how to stop your stress from taking your hair away.

Dealing with stress-related hair loss involves adopting relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or yoga, engaging in regular physical activity, seeking support from positive individuals, considering therapy, maintaining a healthy diet, and handling your hair gently. It’s important to consult a medical professional for personalized advice and possible remedies if the condition persists. We’re here with some tips on how to deal with stress-related hair loss, or telogen effluvium.

How Stress Affects Hair Growth

During periods of extreme stress an individual might notice a lot more hair coming out in the shower or on their hair brush. So how does this happen? When we have increased stressed we have increased levels of cortisol in the body. This leads to the suppression of other hormones that are needed for hair growth, which causes follicles to go into a resting phase. This typically starts two-to-four months after a major stress has been experienced.

How to Treat Stress-Related Hair Loss

The most important thing to understand is that once cortisol levels return to normal those follicles will produce hair regularly again and this won’t be a permanent problem. So the best things to do will involve stress management, such as relaxation techniques, exercise, and possibly seeking help from a professional.

On top of that, a supplements with Biotin, such as Nutrafol, can be helpful as well as a diet rich in protein and iron. An iron deficiency may be linked to telogen effluvium. These foods include dark green leafy vegetables, beans, and red meat.

Causes of Stress-Related Hair Loss

Stress-related hair loss, also known as telogen effluvium, can result from various interrelated factors. When stress strikes, our body responds by releasing cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone due to its role in managing the body’s stress response. Elevated cortisol levels during prolonged stress can disrupt the natural balance of hormones and impact the hair growth cycle significantly.

The normal hair growth cycle comprises three phases: anagen (the growth phase), catagen (the transitional phase), and telogen (the resting phase). Extended stress can push a larger number of hair follicles into the telogen phase, leading to increased shedding and thinning of the hair. This shedding may not become apparent until several months after the stressful event has occurred.

Aside from hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies also play a significant role in stress-related hair loss. During times of stress, the body’s demand for essential nutrients such as vitamins, proteins, and minerals increases. If these vital nutrients are insufficiently supplied to the hair follicles, it can lead to weakened hair shafts and subsequent hair loss.

Furthermore, psychological distress associated with chronic stress can directly contribute to conditions such as trichotillomania and alopecia areata. Trichotillomania is a psychological condition characterized by the compulsive urge to pull out one’s own hair in response to negative emotions like anxiety and stress, leading to noticeable hair thinning and bald patches. On the other hand, alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, resulting in sudden hair loss.

In addition to these physiological and psychological factors, lifestyle choices influenced by prolonged stress can exacerbate the condition. Poor dietary habits, lack of physical activity, and inadequate sleep can further compromise overall health and aggravate stress-related hair loss.

Understanding these multifaceted causes of stress-related hair loss underscores the importance of addressing both physiological and psychological aspects in its prevention and treatment strategies.

With a clearer comprehension of the various causes of stress-related hair loss, we can now transition into exploring comprehensive approaches to managing this challenging issue.

The Connection Between Stress and Hair Loss

Did you know that your body can detect when you’re stressed? It’s true. When your mind is under a lot of pressure, your body reacts as well. This reaction extends to your hair follicles. Hair loss can occur when too many hair follicles are pushed into a resting phase at once. This means they stop growing and eventually fall out. As we’ve learned before, conditions like telogen effluvium, trichotillomania, and alopecia areata can all be triggered by stress.

When you feel super stressed or anxious for an extended period, you might notice more hair falling out than usual when you brush or wash it. This is because chronic stress can lead to an increase in cortisol levels in your body. Cortisol is a hormone released when you’re feeling stressed, and excessive amounts can impact the health of your hair follicles, making them more likely to shed more hair than usual.

Speaking of cortisol, studies have shown that increased levels of cortisol can disrupt the natural hair growth cycle, directly leading to increased hair shedding. Now isn’t that interesting? It’s like our bodies are reacting from the inside out to how we’re feeling on the outside.

Impact on Hair Follicle Health

Let’s look closer at how this happens:

  • Increased Cortisol: Stress prompts the release of cortisol which can obstruct the normal hair growth cycle.
  • Autoimmune Response: Chronic stress can trigger an autoimmune response where our immune system mistakenly attacks our own body’s healthy cells – including those in our hair follicles.
  • Higher Prevalence in Women: According to scientific research, stress-induced hair loss is more common in women, with a prevalence of 30% compared to 15% in men.

Consider Sarah, who had been under a lot of pressure at work and home for several months. She started noticing more hair falling out when she took showers. This made her anxious, which only added to her stress levels. After consulting with a doctor, she learned about the connection between stress and hair loss. By addressing the underlying stress and practicing relaxation techniques, Sarah was able to manage her stress-related hair loss effectively.

Understanding this link is crucial for anyone seeking to tackle stress-related hair loss effectively. By recognizing the impact of stress on our bodies, we can take proactive steps to manage our stress levels and minimize its effects on our overall health.

Understanding the direct connection between stress and its impact on hair health opens up avenues for managing and preventing such outcomes. Let’s now explore effective strategies for managing stress to safeguard against hair loss.

Managing Stress to Prevent Hair Loss

Stress is an inevitable part of life, but how we manage it can greatly impact our overall well-being, including the health of our hair. When not managed well, stress can lead to conditions contributing to hair loss. The good news is that effective strategies for managing stress can help prevent stress-related hair loss.

One effective technique is deep breathing exercises. This involves taking slow, deep breaths to activate the body’s relaxation response. When stressed, our breathing tends to become shallow. By practicing deep breathing exercises, we can calm the mind and reduce stress levels, positively impacting hair health.

Another helpful practice is yoga, a mind-body exercise known for its stress-relieving benefits. Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to promote relaxation and reduce stress. Not only does this have positive effects on mental health but also reflects in the health of our hair.

Engaging in regular physical activity can aid in stress reduction. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural stress-fighters and mood-boosters. It also promotes better circulation, beneficial for the scalp and hair follicles.

In addition to these techniques, surrounding ourselves with supportive and positive individuals can provide an invaluable source of comfort and resilience in times of stress. Whether friends, family members, or support groups, having a network of positive relationships can significantly alleviate the effects of stress on mental and physical well-being.

Remember: Consistency is key when implementing these stress management techniques. Daily practice will yield cumulative benefits over time.

Consider integrating these strategies into your daily routine: perhaps starting your day with a brief deep breathing session or incorporating light yoga exercises into your morning routine. These small actions can make a big difference in reducing overall stress levels.

By adopting these proven strategies for managing stress effectively, you can safeguard against stress-related hair loss and promote overall wellness.

Now let’s explore the vital link between nutrition and hair health, and how what you eat plays a crucial role in maintaining luscious locks.

Nutrition and Hair Health

Your diet significantly affects the health and strength of your hair. Stress can impact your hair health, causing issues like thinning, breakage, and even hair loss. Focusing on a healthy, nutrient-rich diet can effectively combat these effects.

One essential nutrient for hair health is biotin, which is part of the vitamin B family. It helps keep the hair strong and resilient. Foods rich in biotin include eggs, nuts, and seeds. Vitamins A, C, and E are powerful antioxidants that support scalp health and assist in the production of sebum, which acts as a natural hair conditioner. You can find these vitamins in foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, and spinach.

Similarly, zinc is critical for maintaining healthy hair and preventing hair loss. It plays a vital role in tissue growth and repair, including maintaining the glands attached to hair follicles. Foods rich in zinc include beef, lentils, oysters, and pumpkin seeds.

Moreover, iron is necessary for carrying oxygen to your cells, including hair follicles. An iron deficiency can lead to hair loss. Incorporating iron-rich foods such as lean meats, beans, tofu, and spinach into your daily diet can make a substantial difference in the strength and resilience of your hair.

It’s not just about adding specific nutrients; it’s also about ensuring balance. A well-rounded diet should include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains. Including foods like salmon (rich in omega-3 fatty acids), Greek yogurt (packed with protein), and avocados (rich in vitamin E and healthy fats) can further promote hair health amidst the challenges brought on by stress.

Understanding how dietary elements contribute to robust and resilient hair amidst stress-induced challenges provides a solid foundation for proactive measures against stress-related hair loss. By nourishing your body with the right nutrients, you can bolster your defenses against the detrimental impact of stress on your hair health.

Diving into the realm of professional treatments for hair loss unveils an array of strategies backed by scientific innovation and expertise.

Professional Treatments for Hair Loss


When facing stress-induced hair loss, it’s reassuring to know that professional treatments are available. These treatments can effectively slow down or even reverse the effects of hair loss caused by stress. Seeking professional help grants access to prescription medications and specialized procedures that may not be available over the counter.

Consulting a dermatologist or trichologist can provide valuable insights into the most suitable treatment options. Prescription medications such as Ritlecitinib, recommended for NHS use, have shown promise in treating severe alopecia areata. This tablet, manufactured by Pfizer, works by reducing the enzymes that cause inflammation and hair loss at the follicle. However, it’s essential to note that the effectiveness of prescription medications can vary from person to person, and they may have potential side effects.

In addition to oral medications, topical treatments such as Minoxidil (Rogaine) play a significant role in managing stress-related hair loss. This topical solution is applied directly to the scalp and has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. While the exact mechanism of minoxidil in treating stress-related hair loss is not fully understood, it is believed to prolong the growth phase of hair follicles and increase their size.

For individuals seeking non-invasive treatment options, low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a popular choice. This procedure involves exposing the scalp to low levels of red or near-infrared light to stimulate hair growth. LLLT devices are available for home use and as in-office treatments performed by professionals—a number of studies have demonstrated its potential efficacy in promoting hair growth and improving hair density.

By understanding the various professional treatments available for stress-related hair loss, individuals can make well-informed decisions about managing this condition and explore options that are best suited to their specific needs and preferences.

Building a Healthy Hair Care Routine

Incorporating a consistent and effective hair care routine is pivotal in combating stress-related hair loss and maintaining healthy hair. Just like watering and nourishing a plant to help it thrive, your hair needs special care and attention to keep it healthy and strong despite the impact of stress and anxiety.

A well-designed hair care regimen involves more than just washing and styling; it’s about nurturing your scalp and hair with a blend of gentle cleansing, using suitable products, and minimizing exposure to damaging heat and harsh chemicals. Let’s break down the key elements of an effective hair care routine:

1. Gentle Cleansing

Regular cleansing is crucial for removing dirt, oil, sweat, and product buildup from the scalp and hair. However, it’s essential to use gentle, sulfate-free shampoos that won’t strip away the natural oils from your scalp. Harsh shampoos can cause dryness, leading to scalp irritation and breakage. Consider choosing mild, pH-balanced shampoos that are specifically formulated for your hair type. Furthermore, it’s beneficial to massage your scalp gently while shampooing to improve blood circulation and facilitate the distribution of natural oils. This simple step can promote healthier hair growth by ensuring that essential nutrients reach the follicles.

2. Suitable Hair Products

Selecting the right hair products tailored to your specific scalp and hair type is crucial for maintaining a healthy balance. Whether you have oily, dry, curly, or straight hair, using appropriate products can make a significant difference in managing stress-related hair loss. One-size-fits-all products may not address individual needs effectively. For instance, if you have an oily scalp, opt for lightweight, non-greasy conditioners or leave-in treatments that won’t weigh down your roots. On the other hand, those with dry or damaged hair can benefit from deep conditioning treatments enriched with nourishing ingredients like argan oil or shea butter.

3. Minimizing Heat and Chemical Exposure

Excessive heat styling and chemical treatments can take a toll on your hair’s health, especially when it’s already vulnerable due to stress-related factors. Frequent use of blow dryers, curling irons, or straighteners can lead to dryness, breakage, and dullness. Similarly, chemical processes like coloring or perming can further weaken the hair structure. To minimize potential damage, consider limiting the use of styling tools and opting for heat protectant sprays when necessary. When it comes to chemical treatments, seek professional advice and choose reputable salons that prioritize the health of your hair during such procedures. In addition to these fundamental elements, regular trims to prevent split ends, protecting your hair from UV rays with hats or scarves, and maintaining a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients contribute significantly to overall hair wellness.

By integrating these components into your daily routine, you can establish a nurturing environment for your hair amidst stress-induced challenges. It empowers you to proactively care for your hair’s health while mitigating the impact of stress-related factors on its vitality.

Practical Coping Mechanisms for Stress

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When stress takes hold, it can sometimes feel like it’s impossible to escape. But there are ways to handle stress that not only help you feel better mentally but also benefit your physical health and your hair. Let’s look at some practical coping mechanisms that can significantly alleviate stress-related hair loss.

Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness is all about paying attention to the present moment without judgment. This can be practiced through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga. It’s like giving your mind a break—a chance to rest and recover from daily stresses. With consistent practice, mindfulness reduces stress and anxiety levels significantly, which can positively impact hair health.


Writing down your thoughts in a journal can be a powerful way to work through stressful emotions and situations. It gives you a clear insight into what’s bothering you and helps you discover patterns in your thoughts and behaviors. Journaling also provides an outlet for emotions, offering a sense of relief and clarity.

Engaging in Hobbies

Finding joy in hobbies is a great way to combat stress and uplift your mood. Whether it’s painting, gardening, playing an instrument, or any other hobby you enjoy, spending time on activities that bring you pleasure fosters a sense of fulfillment and distraction from daily pressures. Engaging in activities that spark joy can significantly reduce stress levels, subsequently reducing the risk of stress-related hair loss.

Establishing Healthy Boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries means knowing your limits and respecting them. It’s about prioritizing self-care and saying “no” when necessary without feeling guilty. By establishing healthy boundaries in relationships and work life, individuals can create a supportive environment that minimizes stressors and promotes emotional well-being.

These practical coping mechanisms empower individuals to effectively manage stress and its impact on hair health. When integrated into daily life, they can make a real difference in alleviating the pressures that contribute to stress-related hair loss. By incorporating these strategies into your routine, not only will you reduce stress but also nurture a healthier mindset and overall well-being.

What are the common causes of stress-related hair loss?

The common causes of stress-related hair loss include emotional distress, work pressure, traumatic events, and chronic illness. When under stress, the body releases cortisol, which can disrupt the hair growth cycle and lead to hair loss.

Is stress-related hair loss reversible, and if so, what are the recommended steps for regrowth?

Yes, stress-related hair loss is reversible. The recommended steps for regrowth include managing stress through techniques such as exercise, meditation, and therapy. Additionally, maintaining a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals can promote hair growth.

Are there any specific interventions or treatments that can help control stress-related hair loss?

Yes, there are several interventions and treatments that can help control stress-related hair loss. Firstly, practicing stress management techniques like mindfulness meditation or deep breathing exercises can reduce stress levels and consequently minimize hair loss. Additionally, adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, balanced diet, and sufficient sleep can promote hair growth. Furthermore, some studies have shown that using essential oils like lavender or rosemary, taking supplements such as biotin or zinc, and undergoing scalp massages can aid in preventing hair loss caused by stress. However, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment options.

What lifestyle changes can be made to reduce the impact of stress on hair health?

Incorporating stress management techniques such as regular exercise, practicing mindfulness or meditation, and getting enough sleep can significantly reduce the impact of stress on hair health. Studies have shown that exercise boosts endorphin production, which helps reduce stress levels. Additionally, mindfulness and meditation have been found to decrease cortisol levels, the main stress hormone responsible for hair loss. Ensuring adequate sleep is also crucial as it allows the body to repair and rejuvenate, promoting healthier hair growth.

Are there any natural remedies or supplements that can alleviate stress-related hair loss?

Yes, there are several natural remedies and supplements that can alleviate stress-related hair loss. One effective remedy is lavender oil, which has been proven to reduce stress levels when inhaled or applied topically. Another option is taking supplements like biotin, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids, which have shown positive effects on hair growth and reducing inflammation. Additionally, practicing stress reduction techniques such as yoga or meditation can contribute to reducing overall stress levels and subsequently minimizing hair loss.

Related Resources


If you are someone who is experiencing hair thinning or loss beyond lifestyle behaviors, UFP Hair Restoration offers non-surgical and surgical options for hair restoration.
Contact us to schedule a hair restoration consultation or call 801-776-2220.

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