Stress: Does it Cause Hair Loss?


For many, the last year has been incredibly stressful. As well as health concerns due to the pandemic, there is stress around job security or unemployment, missing family members, and massively changed routines.

Of course, the pandemic isn’t the only thing causing stress. Many places have experienced natural disasters or adverse weather like storms, hurricanes, or floods. Even those who aren’t directly affected by events can’t help but feel empathy towards those that are.

Stress can cause many physical effects, a particularly undesirable one being hair loss. That’s right – if you’ve noticed a few extra hairs on your pillow each day, or thinner, easily breakable hair, it could be stress that’s causing it.

Stress Hair Loss: Telogen Effluvium

Sudden stress-related hair loss may indicate a condition called telogen effluvium. If you’re fully healthy, around 90% of your hair is in the anagen stage, which means it’s growing. After 2-4 years, it enters the telogen phase, a rest period of 2-4 months before falling out.

Sometimes, the body or mind has such a shock or period of stress or change that many more hairs enter the telogen phase. Sufferers of telogen effluvium find that around 30% of their hairs stop growing and start to fall out. This means they lose 300 hairs a day instead of 100. Major stress is one such cause, such as many have experienced during the pandemic.

Delayed Hair Loss from Stress

Stress-related hair loss can occur up to three months after the stress itself has resolved. To take the pandemic as an example, someone who was frightened of catching COVID-19 due to their workplace not feeling like a safe place may have been extremely stressed six months ago. However, after a while, their employer put COVID-safe measures in place, which helped stress levels fall. Three months ago, they noticed hair loss and shedding. Why?

This is because, as mentioned above, the hair takes up to four months (three, on average) to fall out once forced into its dormant stage. So, if you have hair loss now, it could be to do with stresses occurring months ago.

Reducing Stress

Of course, you can’t change what’s happening in the world. It’s important to know, though, that you’re not alone. Reach out to someone you can talk to, or speak to your doctor about the best treatments available for stress.

Mindfulness and meditation apps can help. Plus, looking after your physical health can help bolster your mental health. Aspects you should look at include:

· A balanced diet

· A good sleep routine

· Plenty of water

· Stay active

· Don’t over-brush or over-style damaged hair

If hair loss is causing distress or you need advice, talk to a professional about the best way forward to combat stress-related hair loss. To schedule a free consultation at Custom Hair Tampa Bay click here.

Photo Credit: Photo by Jessica Da Rosa on Unsplash