Stress & Hair Loss: The Ultimate Guide by a Hair Loss Doctor

Dr Bessam Farjo
By Dr Bessam Farjo

Dr Bessam Farjo is a Graduate of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and a Past Board Director of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery (ABHRS).


This past year has undoubtedly been one of the most turbulent and stressful times of most of our lives. As a result, a lot of us have noticed hair loss over the past year, but is there really a link between hair loss and stress? And if so, what can you do about it?

The million-dollar question is, does stress cause hair loss?

The short answer is yes. Stress can cause hair loss. In fact, after genetics, it's the second biggest cause of hair loss in both men and women.

What's the scientific reasoning behind it?

Hair has a programmed life cycle, starting with a growth phase, followed by a rest period and finally a shedding phase. The rate of growth can be affected by a number of factors, including your health, age and environmental reasons, such as stress levels.

It’s normal to lose around 100 hair strands every day, so it’s no cause for concern if you find stray hairs on your bedroom floor or in the shower.

But, if you experience a noticeable difference in the density of your hair, and it just so happens that you’ve been having a difficult time emotionally and experiencing significant stress, it’s possible that it can have a part to play.

What's the scientific reasoning behind it?

When a person is stressed, anxious or unwell, the growth cycle can be prematurely sent into shock and trigger more hair to enter the shedding phase. This can give the appearance of sudden hair loss and consequently cause more anxiety as a result.

However, being stressed out doesn’t mean you’ll wake up with a huge tuft of hair on your pillow the following day. It can take between three and six months for your hair to shed, meaning people may not be able to link it back to an earlier, stressful event.

So now we know stress can affect hair loss, what qualifies as significant stress?

So now we know stress can affect hair loss, what qualifies as significant stress?

Any major life event that's causing you to be stressed, so things like losing a loved one or going through a divorce. Significant stress can also be the result of a gradual build-up too - anything that causes severe and prolonged stress (think the last year!) counts and will undoubtedly have contributed to why some people have noticed hair loss.

How do I tell if hair loss is a result of stress or another reason? Does stress-induced hair loss look a certain way?

Stress hair loss tends to be generalised or diffuse as opposed to a particular pattern, and it can happen quite rapidly. Often it is a diagnosis by exclusion of other factors supported by a history of a stressful event.

Other type of hair loss that could be triggered by stress is alopecia areata which is thought to be autoimmune in nature and has a pattern of rounded lesions of hair loss patches.

What can actually be done about stress-induced hair loss?

You'll be pleased to know that trauma-induced hair loss is usually temporary and tends to return once stress levels are reduced.

If you're worried about your hair loss and haven't got to the root of the problem (pardon the pun) then it's definitely worth getting in touch with us so we can give you a thorough assessment and plan of action.

What can actually be done about stress-induced hair loss?

Are there any other measures I can take to help keep my scalp and hair healthy?

Eating a balanced diet, taking supplements if you believe you're deficient in a certain area, avoiding very tight hairstyles, chemical processing and excessive heat on the hair can also help. From an emotional side of things, anything you can do to reduce the impact of stress (e.g., exercise, mindfulness etc) can have an effect, although I appreciate this is easier said than done!

If you want to read more, the experts at Consulting Room really know what they're talking about and have put together some hair lossHair transplant surgeryHair loss drugsLaser Hair Loss TherapyNon-surgical hair replacementScalp reduction surgery FAQs just for you. 

If you have more questions, you can use the hair lossHair transplant surgeryHair loss drugsLaser Hair Loss TherapyNon-surgical hair replacementScalp reduction surgery question feature to talk to our panel of trained medical experts. 

If you're keen to get started with any of these treatments right away then you're in luck - those clever folks also have a list of trusted, accredited hair lossHair transplant surgeryHair loss drugs, Laser Hair Loss TherapyNon-surgical hair replacementScalp reduction surgery clinics in your area.

Many thanks to the author of this blog Dr Bessam Farjo who is the founding director of the renowned Farjo Hair Institute in Manchester and London.

Dr Farjo has been delivering top-quality hair restoration for thousands of patients.

He is considered one of the UK's leading hair loss experts and hair transplant surgeons.

Thanks to the author

More great blogs our experts wrote for you...

Does Sun Exposure on the Head Result in Hair Loss?

18
Aug
2021

Does Sun Exposure on the Head Result in Hair Loss?

Most Brits have experienced sunburn and one of the most common places for men is on their heads, but does it cause baldness? Let's ask a Dr...

Questions You Should Ask When Booking a Hair Transplant

12
Jul
2021

Questions You Should Ask When Booking a Hair Transplant

Hair transplant surgery is a big decision and not one that should be rushed into. Here are 5 questions you need to be asking before the procedure...


Hey, wait!

Before you go.....

Let's stay in touch, pop your details here and we'll send our editor's hand-picked updates on your fave subjects.