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Does Stress Cause Hair Loss?

    Hair loss can be caused by different conditions and factors, one of which is stress. But what are the most common causes of hair loss? And how does stress relate to it?

    In this article, we’ll put the spotlight on stress and its link to hair loss. We’ll also ask what normal hair loss is, discuss when it might be of concern, and advise when a specialist needs to be contacted, as well as provide you with information on hair loss treatment and prevention

    We ask our patients about how stress has impacted them in their life as it can have a profound effect on how much hair loss they are suffering from. Helping to reduce your stress can help with the overall health of your hair.

    Dr Fernando, Hair Transplant Surgeon and Co Founder of The Treatment Rooms London Hair Transplant Clinic

    What causes hair loss?

    Hair loss can happen as a result of many reasons; from hormonal to medical. The different causes of hair loss include:

    • Hormonal changes: including changes during pregnancy, childbirth, thyroid problems and menopause
    • Medical conditions: such as alopecia areata (a disease which causes the immune system to attack the hair follicles)
    • Family history: hair loss can be hereditary, developing with age
    • Radiation therapy: which can cause some or all the hair to fall out
    • Medication: for conditions such as cancer, heart problems, depression, arthritis, high blood pressure and gout
    • Hair treatments: such as hot oil treatments intended to moisturise the hair
    • Stress: emotional or physical shock from a stressful event can cause hair loss

    How much hair loss is normal?

    It’s normal to lose hair. People usually lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day, often without noticing. When these hairs aren’t replaced by new hairs, or significantly more than this number are lost every day, this can be classed as hair loss or hair shedding. Hair loss is not generally something to worry about, but it can sometimes be a sign of a medical condition. 

    Why does stress cause hair loss?

    In some cases, stress can be related to hair loss. Most of your hair follicles are in the growth phase (anagen) of the hair growth cycle at any given time. Significant stress can push large numbers of hair follicles into the resting (telogen) phase of the cycle, resulting in hair loss. This is a scalp disorder known as telogen effluvium. If you have this stress-related hair loss, you may notice hair falling out when you wash or comb your hair. Sometimes, stress can contribute to existing hair loss conditions and may trigger them even further.

    Aside from telogen effluvium, there are two other stress-related conditions that can cause hair loss. Trichotillomania involves the irresistible urge to pull hair out from your scalp, or other parts of the body. This may be a way of dealing with stress and other negative feelings, such as tension, frustration or loneliness. Then there is alopecia areata, a medical condition that can be caused by severe stress and involves your immune system attacking your hair follicles, leading to hair loss. 

    Being stressed also increases your stress hormone cortisol. This hormone has been shown to affect components of the hair cells’ cycle resulting in your hair becoming thinner and eventually falling out.

    How to know if hair loss is stress related?

    It may be tricky to determine the exact cause of hair loss, but if you’re losing more than 100 strands of hair a day, it might be related to stress. Whereas if you notice bald patches, it might be a sign of other conditions and causes. Once you begin to control the stress that is causing your hair loss, your hair may grow back however this can take some time. 

    Will stress-related hair loss grow back?

    Hair loss is not always permanent. If treated on time and professionally, your hair might grow back. The rate of regrowth will be different for everyone, based on the type and severity of the condition. 

    If you become aware of sudden hair loss, are losing more hair than usual when you wash or comb your hair, or are losing hair in patches, speak to a medical professional. This could be a sign of an underlying condition. There is a range of treatment options for hair loss; the most suitable treatment will depend on the cause. Below, we’ll outline ways that you can prevent and treat stress-related hair loss.

    How to treat stress-related hair loss

    If you have stress-related hair loss due to telogen effluvium, there is no proven way you can reverse the process without treatment. However, your hair may grow back on its own over time, and there are several ways you can support the overall health of your hair. These measures include: 

    • Therapies that can help you cope with stress and improve your emotional health, from meditation and yoga to attending therapy sessions
    • Regular exercise can boost circulation to your scalp and improve the overall health
    • Keeping to a balanced diet which contains enough protein, as hair itself is a form of protein

    There’s also a variety of treatments available for anyone who might be dealing with hair loss which can be discussed with a professional. Non-surgical treatments for men and women – including minoxidil, finasteride, and PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy – may be effective in treating hair loss due to stress. You may also consider FUE hair transplant surgery, one of the most advanced hair transplant techniques, which involves taking hair from the back of your scalp in tiny punches, leaving minimal scarring. This procedure can recreate hair where it has been lost, allowing it to grow back within six to 12 months. 

    Will I need a hair transplant?

    In most cases of stress-related hair loss hair will regrow if it has fallen out. However, long-term stress and anxiety can contribute to baldness, in which case you may want to explore having a hair transplant. If you are interested, please arrange for an appointment at our hair transplant clinic.

    Get in touch

    If you are experiencing hair loss symptoms or suffer from any hair-related condition, get in touch with a specialist from The Treatment Rooms London. Our experts are available to discuss the most suitable treatment for your hair loss, including non-surgical hair loss treatments and hair transplants

    In the comfortable surroundings of The Treatment Rooms London, you’ll receive an entirely personalised care experience that starts with a consultation with your dedicated surgeon. The majority of our procedures allow you to return home on the same day, and we are committed to providing the best hair transplant aftercare, including regular follow-ups. Call us today on 020 8706 0076 or use the contact form


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