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Can stress cause hair loss? Your hair loss questions answered!

Can stress cause hair loss? Your hair loss questions answered!
Meghann Thorp
Writer and expert4 years ago
View Meghann Thorp's profile

Stress. It affects all of us. Whether it's your work life or personal life, often it can be unavoidable. In a recent study  74% of people said in the last year they have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. Some of the side effects of this are obvious; from trouble sleeping, our physical wellbeing or anxiety. But can stress cause hair loss? From why it happens, to how long it takes your hair to grow back, we're here to answer your stress-related hair questions.

Can stress cause hair loss?

The answer, unfortunately, is yes, stress can cause hair loss in some people, mainly due to the below reasons:

  1. Stress affects adrenaline levels
  2. Stress can impact your diet & nutrition
  3. Stress affects your immune system

Why can stress cause hair loss?

One of the main reasons stress is linked to hair loss is that it can increase your body's production of adrenaline. Here's the science bit, this adrenaline can then be converted in cholesterol, which is capable of raising your body's level of testosterone. Testosterone is a male hormone that impacts hair growth. In women, a raised level of testosterone can affect the hair growth cycle, therefore causing thinning hair and hair loss.

Something else to consider is that when we're stressed we tend not to look after ourselves properly. We may skip meals or snack on nutrition-lacking foods instead of finding the time to cook fresh, healthy meals. Your diet will have a massive impact on your hair health meaning that often with improper nutrition comes hair thinning or hair loss. Things like iron deficiency, a lack of protein, and meals with too few calories can cause this unwanted hair loss. For more tips on the essential foods to eat to boost your hair health and growth, click here.

Stress can also affect your immune system, making us susceptible to illness. Just like your diet affects your hair health, so does your physical and mental well-being. It's often thought that illnesses such as flu, high temperatures and systemic upsets can trigger hair loss up to 3 months later.

Will you see immediate hair loss from stress?

Stress won't cause instant hair loss. It usually begins between 6-12 weeks later due to how the hair growth cycle works. Sudden and unexpected hair loss can signal an underlying medical condition. If you do have any concerns please do contact a medical professional who can advise you best on this.

How long does it take for hair to grow back after stress?

The total hair loss and re-growth cycle often lasts around 6 months. 3 months for the signs of thinning due to stress to show and 3 months for the hair to start growing back and returning to normal thickness.

How do I get my hair to go grow back faster and thicker?


Firstly, it's important to try and manage your stress levels and work on ways to reduce them. Taking care of yourself when you're busy with regular exercise, relaxation and eating well can help nurture physical and mental health.

Here are some other ways you can practice self care:

  • Daily Meditation
  • Mindfullness - Headspace and Calm are great apps.
  • Yoga and Pilates
  • Walking
  • Practicing Gratitude
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Take a vacation
  • Spend Time Outside

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Meghann Thorp
Writer and expert
View Meghann Thorp's profile