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Can Stress Cause Hair Loss?

Can Stress Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, emotional stress can cause both male hair loss and female hair loss.

There are many stressful situations that can cause hair loss, including but not limited to heartbreak, the loss of a loved one, work-related pressure, financial difficulties, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

What are the symptoms of hair loss due to stress?

Please bear in mind that sudden hair loss could also be a sign of an underlying medical condition. So, the best thing to do is to talk to a professional who can diagnose you and suggest treatment options.

In general, the symptoms for stress-related hair loss are sudden hair loss, patchy hair loss, or losing more hair than usual while combing or washing hair.

Your exact symptoms can vary depending on your circumstances and which type of stress-induced hair loss you're experiencing, which we'll explore in the following section.

Types of stress-related hair loss

There are three types of hair loss that are associated with high stress levels: telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, and trichotillomania.

Telogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a common form of stress-related hair loss characterised by increased hair loss and thinning on the scalp. The lost hair typically falls out from the top of the head, rather than the back or the sides.

Hair grows in four stages: growing phase, transition phase, resting phase, and shedding phase. With telogen effluvium, an instance of significant stress causes large numbers of hair follicles to prematurely enter the resting phase of the growth cycle. The hair then moves into the shedding phase – but if the stress is still present, then the follicles re-enter the resting phase before the hair can properly regrow.

After a period of two to three months, hairs in follicles that were affected by the stress begin to suddenly fall out – perhaps during simple, day-to-day activities like combing or washing.

After identifying and removing the stressor, telogen effluvium should go away on its own. However, supplements and over-the-counter medications, such as minoxidil, are sometimes prescribed as treatments.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is thought to be an autoimmune condition, characterised by sudden bald patches on the scalp. The patches are typically round and coin size, occurring on the scalp and other hair-growing regions of the body.

This form of stress-related hair loss occurs when your body's immune system attacks your hair follicles, sending cells that prevent the follicles from growing more hair. There are different types of alopecia areata, each distinguished by the location, amount, and pattern of hair that's lost. While there's still much that isn't understood about why they occur, stress is thought to be one of the possible contributory factors.

Alopecia areata doesn't necessarily cause permanent hair loss. Since the follicles aren't destroyed, there's always the possibility of regrowing more hair. Treatments include corticosteroids and topical immunotherapy. Many people do experience full regrowth, but there's no guarantee that this will happen.


Sometimes abbreviated as TTM, this form of hair loss from stress is a mental health condition in which you feel the urge to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows, or other hair-growing areas of your body.

Trichotillomania is classed as a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Unlike other forms of OCD, it can give someone positive feelings such as relief. For this reason, it can be a way of dealing with negative or uncomfortable feelings, including stress, loneliness, boredom, or frustration.

Mental health-associated medications, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics, can be used to treat TTM. As can various therapies, including habit reversal therapy and group therapy. Often, treatments involve combinations of both medication and therapy.

Is hair loss from stress permanent?

In most cases, hair loss from stress isn't permanent. Provided there's no other underlying medical condition preventing your recovery, the hair will begin to grow back after you get your stress under control.

However, bear in mind that it will likely take some time for your hair to regrow. When hair follicles are pushed into the resting phase early by telogen effluvium, it can take roughly 6-9 months for the hair to first shed and then regrow.

H2: How to regain hair loss from stress

For most people, regaining hair loss from stress is simply a case of managing stress and waiting it out. But there are additional treatments available where there is no regrowth or hair doesn't fully grow back.

H3: Stress management

Removing or better managing stress should be the priority when treating any form of stress-related hair loss. There are several ways you can work on managing stress, including:

  • Identify the cause: Whether it's work, a relationship, or a sudden death, knowing where the stress is coming from will help you better manage it.
  • Exercise: Being active can help reduce the emotional intensity of your stress and help you clear your thoughts.
  • Spend time with friends and family: Sharing your feelings with your support network or participating in different activities can help you relieve stress.
  • Avoid unhealthy substances: Cut down on consuming caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, which can make stress worse and lead to unhealthy habits.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Eating healthy, natural, and varied foods will help give your body the energy it needs to cope with stressful events.
  • Get therapy: Speaking to a professional may help you work through the issues causing your stress better than you'd be able to alone. Since trichotillomania is largely a mental health condition, the most effective treatment is thought to be psychological therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Worrying about hair loss can also be a vicious cycle. Understandably, people get anxious about their hair loss, which raises their stress levels which in turn causes more hair to fall out. That's why the most important thing is to do everything possible to get your stress under control.


If for some reason working on the stress doesn't fully alleviate your hair loss, you may be prescribed medication depending on the type of hair loss you're suffering from.

Telogen effluvium can be treated with topical minoxidil or shampoos containing minoxidil.

Treatments for alopecia areata include immunotherapy and Dithranol, as well as steroid creams, lotions, tablets, or injections.

Mental health medications can be used to treat trichotillomania, often in conjunction with psychological therapy.

Vitamins for hair loss due to stress

Your doctor may also recommend you take vitamins and minerals. Research has found that vitamin D deficiency is connected to alopecia areata, so you're especially likely to need minerals if you suffer from this type of hair loss from stress.

In the first place, they may help reduce your stress levels. But many vitamins also help your body grow hair, such as iron and zinc, as well as vitamins B, C, and D. To find out more about this topic, read our guide on how vitamins can affect hair loss.

Why get stress-induced hair loss treatment from Rightdose?

Our mission is to bring the treatment you need to your doorstep. Whether you already have a prescription for your stress-related hair loss or still need to get one, our team of specialists is on hand to help you.

Our free delivery service is available on all orders worth £25 or more. It's the perfect option if you have a busy schedule or want a discreet way to get your hands on the treatments you need.

Use our online prescription service today and get access to the treatments you need to combat your hair loss from stress. If you have any questions about our process, please get in touch with our qualified pharmacists by calling 0141 418 0640. Alternatively, you can visit us in-store and speak with our friendly team face-to-face.