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Can Stress Cause Hair Loss In Females

Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia

Can Stress Cause Hair Loss? | Hair Loss Expert Dr. Phipps

Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia may occur as a result of hair products or styling techniques that damage hair follicles. The use of hair relaxers, blow dryers, curling irons, and hair extensions can cause central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, as can the process of creating a permanent wave, or a perm.

The frequent application of oils, gels, or pomades can also cause this condition, which may be reversible if you stop using these hair products or styling techniques. Our dermatologists may recommend taking medication to help hair grow back.

How To Control Hair Fall Due To Stress

There are several ways you can address hair fall caused due to stress.

Over-the-counter, FDA-approved topical solutions and drugs like Minoxidil and Finasteride can help in promoting hair growth and act as treatments for hair loss due to stress. Minoxidil or Rogaine enhances the blood flow and oxygen supply to the scalp, thereby nourishing the hair follicles. Finasteride, on the other hand, is a prescription medication that reduces the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone , the hormone that is primarily responsible for hair loss in men. Finasteride stimulates hair growth by bringing down the DHT levels.

Massaging the scalp with certain essential oils is also said to be an effective remedy for hair loss. Some examples include lavender oil, castor oil, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, tea tree oil, lemongrass oil, and thyme oil.

Besides addressing hair loss, your stress level needs to be managed too. Relaxation techniques like yoga, exercise, meditation, breathing exercises, and positive thinking can effectively deal with stress. While yoga and meditation calm the mind, exercise releases chemicals like endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which impact your mood and help you manage your stress.

Hair Loss Due To Stress Will It Grow Back

The good news is that hair loss induced by stress is mostly temporary, and the hair tends to grow back once the stress levels are under control. The correct treatment options, combined with relaxation techniques and a healthy, balanced diet, are the best way to address stress and get it under control. This will not only impact your overall well-being but will also help grow your hair back!

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There Are Different Types Of Hair Loss Genetic And Reactive


There’s a chance you’re genetically predisposed to hair thinning, which means you may see a progressive, gradual reduction in hair volume. “In these instances, certain hair follicles are sensitive to male hormones and this sensitivity causes follicles to gradually shrink and produce slightly finer and shorter hairs with each passing hair growth cycle.” Explains Anabel Kingsley.


This means your hair loss is the result of a trigger. “Excessive daily hair shedding is not reliant on having a genetic predisposition, it occurs as the result of an internal imbalance or upset, such as a nutritional deficiency, severe stress, crash dieting or an illness” says Anabel Kingsley.

How Can I Tell If Its Cortisol Hair Loss

Hair Loss and Stress in Women

Both stress and hair loss are complex. At any given moment life stress might be impacting your hairs health, but there are likely other stressors acting on your follicular function too: environmental factors, the hair products you use, medications you take and your diet, to name just a few. Hair health is a multifaceted concern.

Most often when people think of stress-related hair loss they think of telogen effluvium , a form of hair loss that is most often tied to a specific and very impactful experience that hits the body hard: severe illness, a death in the family, or a new birth control, for example. Cortisol plays a role here, elevated cortisol levels disrupt the hair cycle and accelerate the resting phase, causing telogen effluvium, shared Dr. Ilyas.

But thats not the only way cortisol can cause hair shedding. If elevated cortisol levels impair the production of sex hormones by the adrenal glands, the result can be androgenetic alopecia, added Dr. Ilyas. Androgenetic alopecia is a hormone-driven form of hair loss that is also commonly known as male or female pattern hair loss.

And, lastly, with cortisols effect on the immune system, the potential for alopecia areata is also possible, explained Dr. Ilyas. Alopecia areata is a patchy form of hair loss that is associated with autoimmune dysfunction and might also be caused by other autoimmune diseases like lupus.

Discover: Everything You Should Know About Stress-Related Hair Loss

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How Can I Reduce Stress Levels

Severe stress can have some unpleasant compounding effects on the body. I routinely counsel patients, the stress of hair loss leads to more hair loss, shared Dr. Ilyas.

So if youre experiencing hair loss related to stress, take a deep breath and know that there are many ways for you to tackle stress and mitigate the impacts cortisol is having on your hair health. The really good news is that reducing stress will have whole-body and mind benefits beyond just your follicles!

One thing you might consider trying is our GRO+ Advanced Gummies, which boast the soothing benefits of full-spectrum CBD along with hair-loving vitamins like biotin, zinc and others to help restore hair impacted by high stress levels.

Other things that are proven to reduce stress include laughter, exercise, practicing mindfulness, meditation, and getting at least eight hours of sleep each night.

More: 9 Natural Ways to Reduce Cortisol

Stress And Hair Loss: The Basics

Contrary to popular belief, stress is not linked to male pattern baldness the form of hair loss that causes you to permanently lose hair around your hairline, temples and the crown of your scalp.

However, stress can trigger and potentially worsen a form of temporary hair loss called telogen effluvium.

Telogen effluvium affects your hair by interrupting the natural hair growth cycle.

Normally, there are four different growth phases during the hair cycle as it grows from below the skin to its full length, then falls out to be replaced by a new hair:

  • The first phase is the anagen phase, during which the hair grows to its full length.

  • The second phase is the catagen phase, during which the old, fully grown hair follicle detaches from the skin.

  • The third phase is the telogen phase, also known as the resting phase, during which a new hair starts to grow from the follicle to replace the old one.

  • The fourth phase is the exogen phase, during which the old hair falls out, with the new hair growing in its place.

Just like your skin and nails, your hair is constantly undergoing this growth cycle. Weve covered each phase of the hair growth cycle in more detail in our guide to the hair growth process.

Each phase of the hair growth cycle varies in length. Hairs usually stay in the anagen phase for up to six years during which they grow to their full length.

About 90 percent of your hairs are in the anagen phase at any time, meaning that most of your hair is constantly growing.

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What Are The Myths About Hair Loss

Myths about hair loss are widespread. Nothing in the following list is true:

  • Youre losing hair because you shampoo it too much, or because youve colored it or gotten a perm.
  • Dandruff causes permanent hair loss in women.
  • Stress causes permanent hair loss in women.
  • If you shave your head, your hair will grow back twice as thick.
  • If you stand on your head youll increase circulation, stimulating hair growth.
  • If you brush your hair 100 strokes a day that will make your hair healthier.
  • Hats and wigs cause hair loss in women.
  • Hair loss only affects intellectual women.

The Positive Side Of Stress

Can Stress, Nutrition, or Genetics Cause Hair Loss? | FACT or MYTH

Believe it or not, stress can be a very good thing. Eustress, or positive stress, can play a fundamental role in motivating individuals to engage in positive behaviors like learning, socializing, and physical exercise. Stress may even help individuals escape threatening situations by triggering a rapid increase in metabolism, energy, and mental clarity. This reaction is facilitated, in part, by the production of stress hormones.

The best known of all stress hormones is cortisol. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal cortex in the adrenal glands, and its production increases in response to environmental stress. Higher levels of cortisol drive blood pressure upward while simultaneously increasing blood sugar levels. Without this simple biological reaction, mammals would be unable to make swift and decisive action in the face of immediate danger. The adrenal glands are not built to sustain long-term stress hormone production and regulation, however.

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How Fast This Could Happen

Well, when someone experiences a physiological or perhaps an emotional event, the hair will not set out to drop out between 2-3 weeks to some months following your event. But once it has begun, hair loss continues at a rather fast pace.

It takes some time to get a persons hair to begin shedding after having a stressful event and the victim is mostly uninformed that its linked to that experience. You would never really think how the hair loss youre experiencing isnt because of the new sickness or anything of the sort. But in reality, its just a complication of the stress they underwent 2-3 weeks or maybe a couple of months ago.

Once the over-extended resting phase about the new hair growth process ends, hair should eventually start growing back slowly. But you will find actions you can take to assist improve this method. One would be utilizing a topically-applied cream contain Minoxidil, which will be the only FDA-approved medication for stimulating new hair growth. You dont need a prescription to get it and clinical studies have demonstrated that about 60% in the ladies who put on the extender for 8 months showed a point of growth of hair.

Stress And Telogen Effluvium: Excessive Daily Hair Shedding

Telogen effluvium is a form of diffuse hair loss on your scalp. It occurs when the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle is cut short by an internal disturbance in your body. This causes many more hairs than usual to move from their anagen phase into their telogen phase, resulting in excessive daily hair fall.

Stress is one of the most common causes of telogen effluvium. This is because when we are stressed we often do not look after ourselves as we should. For instance, we may skip meals or eat more processed foods than usual which, while convenient, have little nutritional benefit. Stress also impacts digestion and your bodys absorption of vital nutrients.

Because hair is a non-essential tissue, it is often the first thing to suffer if your body is lacking in nutrients. Vitamin imbalances, iron deficiency, inadequate protein intake, and meals that contain too few calories can all contribute to hair shedding.

Furthermore, stress affects our immune system, making us more susceptible to illness. Illnesses like the flu, high fevers and systemic upsets often trigger hair loss. For more information about diffuse hair shedding, please visit our guide to Telogen Effluvium.

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Causes Of Sudden And Rapid Hair Loss

Now that you understand how hair grows and what happens when it falls out, lets explore some of the possible causes of sudden and rapid hair loss:

1. Medical Conditions

If you suddenly go from a full head of hair to rapid thinning, its possible that theres a medical condition to blame. For example, an overactive or underactive thyroid can lead to hair loss. Likewise, chronic or inflammatory disorders, chronic infections, and/or autoimmune diseases can cause diffuse telogen hair loss.

In other situations, certain nutritional deficiencies can lead to hair loss. This is especially common when people go on crash diets and dont consume adequate amounts of protein, zinc, iron, fatty acids, or vitamin D.

2. Medications

Certain medications can cause sudden hair loss. This is most commonly seen in anticancer drugs and/or chemotherapy treatments. Hair loss is typically noticeable within a week and becomes total and widespread by month number two.

In addition to chemotherapeutic drugs, medications that can sometimes cause hair loss include warfarin, steroids, birth control pills, lithium, amphetamines and vitamin A supplements, though hair will most often grow back when the offending medication is stopped, The New York Times explains. If youve recently started on a new medication and you notice hair loss during this period, consult with your doctor to see if there is an alternative option available.

3. Stress

Can Stress Cause Hair Loss Whats The Connection

The Top 10 Causes of Hair Loss in Women, and What you Can ...

Can stress lead to hair loss? Yes, studies suggest that stress does impact hair follicles, causing hair to fall out. Factors like physical and emotional stress, injury, and anxiety can trigger hair loss. Incidents like accidents, hospitalization, infection, financial burdens, debt, death of a loved one, work-related issues, etc., are significant contributors to stress.

Fortunately, stress-related hair loss is usually temporary, lasting only for three to six months before your normal hair cycle resumes.

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How To Hide Thinning Hair After Menopause

If hair continues to thin after menopause and natural treatments have been ineffective, there are things that can help camouflage this issue. Some hair stylists will suggest shortening the length of hair. This adds volume and reduces the weight of hair. It can also help hide problem spots.

Some more permanent but also costly options include topical hair growth products, hair extensions, wigs, surgical hair transplants, and low-level laser scalp treatments.

Lack Of B Vitamins Can Cause Hair Loss

Lacking certain vitamins and minerals may also lead to thinning hair or hair loss in women. Some dermatologists believe that not eating enough red meat or following a vegetarian diet may affect hair loss.

Red meat and other animal foods are rich in iron, a mineral that supports hair and body growth. Women are already prone to iron deficiency due to blood loss during menstruation, so not taking in enough iron in the diet may lead to deficiency.

Eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa, may also lead to vitamin deficiencies and thinning hair. In particular, deficiencies thought to affect hair include those in zinc, amino acid L-lysine, B-6, and B-12.

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Topical Solutions To Hair Regrowth

I think its a great idea to add some topical solutions while addressing the underlying causes we covered above but really, you will get the best results when you focus on fixing the root causes of your hair loss.

For ALL hair loss, these short-term topical solutions include:

Rosemary essential oil is commonly used in topical treatments for hair loss. It may work by increasing blood flow, by lowering inflammation, or due to its effects as a DHT inhibitor. In this study, rosemary essential oil was comparable to the hair loss treatment, minoxidil.

Nigella sativa oil is a fatty oil which is a powerful antioxidant. Oxidative stress due to any of the above causes may be behind hair loss, and Nigella sativa may help. An animal study showed its potential in protecting against chemotherapy-induced hair loss.

Fenugreek is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for centuries as a medicine. Fenugreek has long been known as a hair growth tonic. Now studies are showing it to stimulate blood circulation to the hair follicles and to act as a natural DHT blocker to prevent miniaturization and subsequent hair loss.


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