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Why Does Stress Cause Hair Loss?

Unfortunately, high levels of stress can have a significant impact on hair health. Thankfully, there are options to help you (and your hair) get through this stressful time and curb some of that excessive shedding.

VEGAMOUR spoke with a certified trichologist for expert advice about stress-induced hair loss — plus, find out what products you should use to support fuller looking hair.

Identifying Stress-Related Hair Loss

Stress can cause you to experience more hair loss than usual. All of a sudden, you notice more hair shedding onto your clothing or falling out in the shower. Your hairbrush needs cleaning out more frequently. And if your hair is shedding quickly enough, it might feel or look thinner to you.

Stress triggers the stress hormone cortisol, which can disrupt hair growth. Stress can even trigger a psychological response that results in hair loss. To determine if your hair loss is caused by stress, an internal imbalance, a lack of nutrition or an underlying medical cause, you might need to consult with your doctor.

Shop: Best Products to Encourage Thicker Looking Hair

Why Stress Affects Your Hair Growth

VEGAMOUR spoke with Celestine Gitau, certified trichologist and owner of Hair and Scalp Health. Giatu explained how stress and hair growth are often biologically linked.

Giatu said, "During the hair cycle, the hair follicles which are richly innervated by sensory nerves, can pick up and transmit stress information to the brain."

Giatsu further explained, "Hormones and chemicals released by the body in times of stress could significantly influence the hair growth cycle and also could cause immunological alterations that interfere with the follicular tissue's ability to regenerate."

To slow amplified hair loss, hair follicles need to be protected from stress by upping your self-care and health routines and possibly seeing a doctor.

Will Your Hair Grow Back?

For most people, stress-related hair loss is temporary. Your hair will grow back normally as long as the cause is addressed. Severe illness or certain medical conditions, however, could cause more lasting or permanent hair loss.

Read This: What to Know About Stress & Hair Loss

Should You Go See Your Doctor?

Your doctor can explain more to you about your hair's growth cycle and how your daily stress affects this normal biological process.

You should see your doctor if:

  • Hair loss suddenly increases and continues.
  • You see bald patches and aren't sure of the cause.
  • You suspect there may be more going on with your body than hair loss.
  • You feel your stress levels have become unmanageable.

    Related: 7 Autoimmune Diseases That Might Cause Hair Loss

    Stress and Hair Loss Conditions

    There are a variety of hair loss conditions, and some of them can worsen with stress. Your doctor can identify the type of hair loss, check for nutritional deficiencies that may be contributing to your heightened shedding and offer professional medical advice.

    Your doctor can also evaluate your mental health. There's no shame in this kind of pathway to greater health. In fact, it can help you to identify your greatest stress triggers and learn new or healthier ways of managing stress.

    Telogen Effluvium

    Telogen effluvium, which can range from mild to extreme, is a temporary hair loss condition. The hair loss associated with telogen effluvium is usually caused by a major shock to the body or mind, such as dealing with a death or suffering an illness. Telogen effluvium can be diagnosed by your medical doctor, who can determine a treatment plan for you.

    Alopecia Areata

    Alopecia areata often presents as round patches on the scalp where the skin is smooth and hairless. In some cases, the entire scalp can be affected. Extreme stress can exacerbate this medical condition. Sometimes the hair loss associated with alopecia areata can be permanent. This condition must be diagnosed by your medical doctor.

    Androgenetic Alopecia

    Androgenetic alopecia is male or female patterned hair loss and is one of the most common types of hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia is usually genetic. Using certain hair products that help restore hair health can help.


    Trichotillomania is a hair-pulling disorder that is often stress-related. Hair pulling, twisting, chewing or plucking can signify this underlying psychological disorder. A behavioral therapist can help with treatment and advise you on how to keep stress levels from triggering this compulsive behavior.

    Hair Wellness Tips

    For most people, addressing stress and hair challenges can sometimes be as simple as a few changes you can make right at home. Aim for a holistic approach that addresses the stress, your health and your hair care routine.

    • Make some lifestyle changes: Address your stress so it doesn't trigger hair loss in the first place. For example, create a stress management plan to reduce chronic stress. This might mean you have to remove yourself from some stressful situations or learn new relaxation techniques.
    • Eat a healthy diet: A well-balanced diet will provide sufficient protein and essential vitamins that can improve hair health. And if you're trying to lose weight, avoid harmful crash dieting, which can actually trigger hair loss.
    • Take hair supplements: Sometimes you might not get all the nutrients you need in your diet. That's when a biotin hair gummy comes in handy for a quick, easy way to get your vitamins. 
    • Get some sleep: Good sleep is essential to your health. If you aren't sleeping well, this keeps your body in a sluggish state that makes stress even more impactful. Get to bed a little early during times of stress, and make sure you get 7-8 hours of restful sleep each night.
    • Switch hair care products: One of the easiest things you can do right at home is to swap out your regular hair care products for ones that are gentle on stressed-out strands.

    GRO Hair Serum is a plant-based, cruelty-free formula that's packed with powerful phyto-actives, which can encourage thicker, fuller looking hair. Best of all, this non-greasy, water-based serum is easy to apply. Use daily to see visible results in as soon as 90 days!

    Break the Stress and Hair Loss Cycle

    Stress-induced hair loss can be scary but usually is only temporary. Get your healthiest hair yet with a few lifestyle (and hair product) changes, and see your doctor if your hair loss persists or seems excessive to you.


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    Photo credit: Hailey Reed/Unsplash

    Disclaimer: Information in this article is intended for general informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician.