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Can Stress Cause Hair Loss?


Stress and hair loss can go hand in hand. As research has proven, stress—whether short-term or prolonged—can manifest itself in many physical ways in the body. If you’ve ever been under a lot of stress (who hasn’t?) and felt sick, only to have your doctor tell you it’s all stress-related, you know firsthand. And just as stress can affect your body, it can also affect your hair in the form of stress hair loss. So why does stress hair loss occur and what can you do about it? Keep reading to find out. 

What Is the Link between Stress and Hair Loss?

There are several factors that contribute to hair loss due to stress. First and foremost, stress causes tightening of the muscles, and that includes the muscles in your scalp. Those tiny muscles that are attached to your hair follicles can contract as well. And when those muscles contract, they can slow down hair growth. After a while, some of these hairs may fall out. It’s also thought that stress can exacerbate other forms of hair loss, like alopecia areata and trichotillomania. 

Keep in mind that hair loss can have many causes. If you suspect that you’re experiencing hair loss due to stress, talk to your doctor. 

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How Can I Reduce Stress and Avoid Stress Hair Loss?

The good news is, stress hair loss doesn’t have to be permanent. Finding healthy outlets to reduce your overall stress levels can put your hair follicles in a better condition for growing new hair and improve your overall health to boot. 

Of course, there’s no singular way to reduce stress; each person must find his or her own methods and techniques. Think of an activity that makes you feel calm and happy, and set aside time for that as often as possible. Need a few ideas? Here’s some suggestions:

  • Exercise, whether taking a fitness class, playing sports, or working out at the gym
  • Practicing yoga or meditation
  • Engaging in creative activities like writing, painting, or crafting
  • Reading books or listening to soothing music
  • Getting a massage
  • Taking a hot bath or shower

One stress reduction technique to highlight here is massage, because the benefits go much deeper than just relaxation. Think about the tight muscles in your neck, shoulders, and even your scalp. Have you ever been to the salon and received a relaxing head massage along with your shampoo? (If not, please give it a try, because it’ll provide instant relaxation!)

Not only will scalp massage relax you and relieve stress, it encourages those tense scalp muscles to loosen up as well. Looser muscles means more blood flow to the scalp, which—guess what—feeds the hair follicles and helps with hair growth! And you don’t need to book a professional scalp massage to receive the benefits. Performing a short massage on your own scalp can be just as relaxing. 

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Can Stress-Related Hair Loss Be Reversed?

In short, it follows logically that if you reduce your stress levels, stress hair loss could be reversed or at least reduced. If your hair loss is indeed stress-related (confirm with your doctor!), it will most likely grow back in time. But since hair only grows at a rate of around ½ an inch per month, it can take a while to see results. 

In the meantime, Toppik Hair Building Fibers are a great option for disguising hair loss due to stress.  Toppik Hair Fibers are made from statically charged fibers. The fibers cling to your existing strands, instantly creating the appearance of thicker, fuller hair. And since they blend undetectably with your existing hair, no one will know your secret! But they’ll definitely notice how great your hair looks. Many find that the effect of hair loss on their appearance amplifies their feelings of stress, which further exacerbates the situation. If this is the case for you, Toppik Fibers may bring some relief. 

So if you’re experiencing stress hair loss, there’s no need to let it worry you. When you find the stress-relieving techniques that work best for you, you will be happier, calmer, and everything else will fall into place.

Colleen Welsch is a freelance beauty writer and blogger specializing in hair care, hair growth education and beauty.

7 Responses

  1. Patsy

    I usually wear a wig during winter at work but during the warm months I like to wear my hair. It’s long but has thinned out as I’ve grown older.

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