Get Mail!

Can Stress Cause Hair Loss? A Doctor’s Answer

We already know that high levels of stress can be incredibly detrimental to both your physical and mental health, but how does stress affect your hair health? From increasing your susceptibility to hair thinning, to more severe outcomes such as alopecia areata, stress isn’t good for your hair – and we’re going to explore this topic further in the article below. Let’s take a look!

Free Consultation

What is stress?

Before we begin talking about the impact of stress on the body, it might be useful to explain a little bit more what we mean when we refer to stress. After all, stress is a part of everyday life; while chronic stress levels aren’t ideal and certainly shouldn’t be considered the norm, stress itself is an unavoidable part of our lives – so understanding the various forms and levels is important.

Stress can be broadly categorised into two main types; acute stress and chronic stress. Acute stress is usually the result of a singular, isolated event that causes you to feel overwhelmed or tense. When this type of stress is experienced on a regular basis, however, it becomes chronic in nature – leaving you prone to feeling anxious for extended periods of time. Both these forms of stress can have detrimental effects on your mental, physical and emotional health – and your hair health!

How does stress affect your hair?

In order to understand how stress affects your hair, it’s important to understand how our bodies behave when we’re under stress. When you’re stressed out for long periods of time, your body goes into adrenaline overdrive and over-produces a hormone known as cortisol; and the excess cortisol in your body can damage your hair in the following ways:

Increased oil production

Excess cortisol in your system will cause an increase in the production of oil from the sebaceous glands; this can cause your hair to become chronically greasy, limp and lifeless, and more prone to breakage.

Hair loss and hair thinning

When a person is stressed out for long periods of time, it’s not unusual for them to experience some level of hair loss as a result; this is due to the increased levels of cortisol suppressing certain functions in the body – including those related to healthy hair growth.

You May Also Like: Transplanted Hair Falling Out After 1 or 2 Years: What to Do?

Poor diet

When we’re stressed, we’re much more likely to reach for pizzas, burgers and other comfort food than we are to reach for a salad, but this can also impact our hair health; a poor diet will lead to vitamin deficiencies, which in turn can cause hair loss and make your hair brittle and easily broken.

Alopecia areata

In extreme cases where stress has reached chronic levels, alopecia areata may occur; this is an autoimmune disorder where patches of hair fall out resulting in patchy baldness.


You’ve heard the phrase “tearing his hair out”, right? When we’re over-stressed, some of us may be prone to a condition known as trichotillomania, in which a person experiences an irresistible urge to pull out their own hair. This can also lead to bald patches forming on the scalp, and damages the follicles in the process. While this is rare, an estimated 5-10 million Americans suffer from trichotillomania, and many of these cases are directly caused by prolonged levels of stress.

How to treat stress-related hair loss

Luckily, there are several treatments available for stress-related hair loss, and the most suitable solution will depend on your individual circumstances, as well as the severity of your hair loss.

Before undergoing any treatment, the first step is to tackle the underlying cause of your stress; this may involve counselling or relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation. Once you’ve found a way to manage your stress levels, it’s important to ensure that you’re eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water – both of these things will help promote healthy hair growth while also helping to stabilise your hormones.

Once you’ve made certain lifestyle changes to help reduce stress, you can work on tackling your hair loss with circumstance-specific treatments. Your doctor may also prescribe certain medications which can help prevent further hair loss and encourage new hairs to grow in affected areas (such as minoxidil, a topical medication) or finasteride (an oral medication). In cases where alopecia areata has been diagnosed, a corticosteroid cream may be prescribed.

For those whose stress-related hair loss has caused significant or total baldness, a hair transplant treatment might be the simplest option to help restore your lost hair and regain your confidence. You can take a look at some Turkey hair transplant photographs to get an idea of how effective this treatment can be, especially for those with severe alopecia or total hair loss.

How can I avoid stress-related hair damage?

To keep your hair in tip top condition, here are a few of our expert tips:

Practice self-care

It’s so important to take some time out for yourself and manage your own mental wellbeing – whether it’s through exercise, reading, or simply taking a break and doing something you enjoy. Taking care of yourself should be one of your top priorities when it comes to managing stress levels, so always make time to prioritise yourself.

Eat a balanced diet

Eating a healthy diet is key for maintaining overall health and will also help keep your cortisol levels in check; choose foods rich in vitamins, minerals and omega 3 fatty acids, as these all contribute towards healthy hair growth and hormone function.

Read Next: Does Donor Hair Grow Back? All Questions Answered

Reduce stressors

Whether it’s your home life, work or another area of your personal life, do your best to reduce exposing yourself to stress triggers where possible; this could involve cutting down your hours at work, or taking more time for yourself at home to do the things you love and enjoy.

Dr. Resul YAMAN

Dr. Resul Yaman is a highly experienced and renowned hair transplant surgeon. With over 13 years of expertise, he has transformed the lives of countless individuals through his innovative “modified low-speed micromotor” technique. Dr. Yaman’s commitment to using the latest methods and providing personalized care has established him as one of Turkey’s leading specialists. He specializes in hair transplantation, including eyebrow, mustache, and beard transplants. Dr. Yaman is dedicated to contributing to the hair transplant community, his work was featured in Hair Transplant Network, International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons, Hair Restoration Social Network, and other renowned niche publications.


Leave a Comment