Can stress cause hair loss?

Woman sitting at desk rubbing temples, eyes closed

I am often asked whether or not stress causes hair loss While many common conceptions about hair loss are myths, the belief that stress can effect hair shedding is a fact!

The simple science is that stress can, through a convoluted route, cause an increase in your bodies’ levels of testosterone – a male hormone (androgen) that can cause hair loss and thinning when found in excess. However, even normal or subnormal amounts of androgens can cause hair loss in those that have follicle sensitivity, and those with this genetic predisposition are even more likely to suffer from stress related hair shedding.Even though some degree of stress is unavoidable, there are things that can be done to reduce day to day anxiety. We suggest trying yoga or meditation, or even taking an afternoon nap. While moderate exercise can be a good stress reliever, it’s important to note that extreme exercise can also increase testosterone levels and lead to increased  hair fall. You should also take care to eat well when you are stressed (although it can be difficult!) as a poor diet can further exacerbate hair loss and scalp problemsStress will not, however, cause immediate hair loss unless the shock to your body has been extreme (i.e. stress from a trauma). Increased hair fall usually occurs six-eight weeks after an episode of stress due to your hair growth cycle. If you are experiencing hair loss, think back a month or two for possible triggers.

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