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Does Anxiety and Stress Cause Hair loss?


87% of the Indian Population fail to diagnose hair fall due to stress or anxiety. This is because most people are still in denial that they are experiencing chronic stress and need some kind of help, like therapy. Sometimes, due to a hectic and overburdened lifestyle, we tend to neglect our hair, and both anxiety and hair fall progress gradually to the point where you finally notice hair on their brushes or even the pillow. Stress-triggered hair loss is due to an imbalance in hormonal levels. Find out all about how stress affects hair loss and the different ways to manage it efficiently through this blog.

How Does Stress Affect Hair Loss?

Many of you might have heard about the fact that hair fall can cause stress, but here’s where we explain to you how this actually happens but basically making the science bit of it a little simpler. So, the human body is filled with hormones that maintain a balance to carry out basic bodily functioning. This means that whenever there is an imbalance in any particular hormone, it causes an underlying health condition. Let’s take for example Diabetes - which is caused due to abnormal levels of Insulin. In a similar way, our body has a stress hormone a.k.a Cortisol. Various functions like maintaining blood pressure, influencing memory, balancing metabolism levels, and more make cortisol a crucial hormone for everyone. 

Now when the body is under stress i.e if someone has had a severe surgery or illness, pregnancy, Covid, or is even suffering from chronic stress like anxiety and depression, this elevates as in, causes the levels of the cortisol hormones in the bloodstream to rise. Now, hair follows a regular cycle of 4 stages - anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen. So, when the levels of the stress hormone that is cortisol tend to rise after a stressful event, these spiked-up hormone levels speed up the hair cycle. This means that increased cortisol levels cause the hair follicles to drastically shift from the growth (anagen) phase immediately into the shedding (telogen) phase. This leads to hair loss. And this is why in most cases, the type of hair fall experienced after stress and anxiety are called telogen effluvium.

Types Of Hair Fall Due To Stress 

Now that you know how stress and its hormone - cortisol affect hair fall, let’s discuss the 3 types of hair loss caused due to stress and anxiety. 

  • Telogen Effluvium (TE): This is the most common cause of hair loss due to stress and anxiety. As explained previously, this type of hair loss when triggered by stress, pushes the hair into the resting and shedding phase (telogen) phase of the cycle which causes it to fall off quickly. This is why, within just a few months of a stressful event for example Covid/pregnancy, you might have noticed all the affected hair falling out by simply combing or washing your hair. 

  • Trichotillomania: This is another extreme type of hair loss due to stress and severe anxiety. In this condition, individuals have a tendency to pull their hair when they experience stress. This doesn’t just have to be hair from the head but rather hair from any part of the body (even the eyebrows). It's just like a coping mechanism or their way of dealing with stress. 

  • Alopecia Areata (AA): This condition is rather rare among Indians, but is also triggered by chronic stress. It’s an autoimmune condition of the body where its own cells attack the hair cells and follicles, thereby leading to hair fall. This is easily identified as hair loss after anxiety is visible in the form of circular or coin-sized patches. 

  • Can You Reverse Stress-Related Hair Loss?

    Stress and hair loss don’t have to be permanent. If you are able to manage anxiety and stress easily, then the hair fall that comes along with stress can be reversible. Provided that the hair fall is solely occurring due to anxiety or stress to mental health and the body. If you’re someone who is really suffering from chronic stress, rather than being in denial about it, you could simply accept the fact that you need help and seek help from a professional therapist. 

    How To Manage Hair Loss Due To Stress And Anxiety?

    Losing hair can be tough. It can bring down your confidence even if you’re still faking it despite stress and anxiety. You might have to try one or most of the techniques to deal with both anxiety and hair loss. Here are a few ways you can deal with stress, anxiety, and hair loss will in turn be manageable. 

  • Regular Exercise: How you take care of your stress directly impacts your stress and hair loss. The most popular way to take care of both together is to be involved in regular workouts and exercises. You can try and opt for regular brisk walks depending on your health condition or if you like dancing, you could enroll in Zumba.  

  • Healthy Eating Habits: Food plays an important role when it comes down to managing hair loss due to stress. Try to replace your alcohol and beverages (soda) with fruit juices. Replace red meat with lean meats for protein, you could also try plant-based proteins. Lastly, consuming lots of water, whole grains, and vegetables are ideal.

  • Practice Relaxation Techniques: Another way to cope with these types of hair loss is to regularly meditate or practice yoga. It helps to calm the mind and body while also improving blood circulation to the hair follicles. You could simply try deep breathing exercises, to begin with at least 10 minutes daily. 

  • Supplementation: One of the important reasons behind stress and hair loss could also be due to a lack of vitamins or micronutrients in the body. This could include important vitamins like Vitamin C, D, E, iron, and zinc deficiency. Consult a physician before consuming supplementation after doing a couple of blood tests to check for the same. 

  • Build A Positive Atmosphere: It always helps by talking to the right people be it, friends or family. All you need to do is surround yourself with things and people that you love. It could simply mean reading your favorite novel or watching your all-time favorite sitcoms on Netflix. Building a habit or finding a new hobby always helps.

  • Topical Applications: Lastly, for stress-induced hair fall, one must switch from regular shampoos, serums, and home remedies to clinically proven actives for hair fall like FDA-approved minoxidil, redensyl, capixyl, procapil, and in severe cases even finasteride


    Stress and hair fall can be difficult to deal with. Apart from these simple ways to manage stress-induced hair fall the right way, if you really wish to seek professional help for this type of hair loss, you can take Traya’s free hair test to diagnose your hair fall by identifying the actual problem behind it and then providing you with customized, doctor prescribed medication and with dietary recommendations. 



    Q1 - Will Hair Loss From Anxiety Grow Back?

    - Yes, hair loss from anxiety does grow back provided you manage stress in the right way. 

    Q2 - How Can I Stop My Hair From Falling Out Due To Stress?

    - Hair fall from stress happens due to an imbalance in the stress hormone levels - cortisol. One can opt for Ayurvedic therapies like Nasya or Shiroabhyanga to cope with stress whilst maintaining a healthy diet and practicing regular meditation. 

    Q3 - How Long Does It Take For Stress Hair Loss To Stop?

    - If you do everything correctly to manage both stress and hair fall, then it’ll take anywhere between 5-7 months for stress-triggered hair fall to stop.

    Q4 - How Do You Know If You're Losing Hair From Stress?

    - Identify the early signs of hair fall. If you have a constant urge to pull your hair then it could be that you are suffering from trichotillomania, while telogen effluvium is seen by severe loss (over 100 strands a day) of hair within just a few months.




    Zahra Lokhandwala

    Hair Coach

    Zahra is the hair coach-in-chief at Traya. She works closely with the doctors to monitor all cases. She is a fitness freak and has not touched sugar in years!

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