Can Stress Cause Hair Loss?

Hair Loss Questions | Can Stress Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, stress can contribute to hair loss. Stress has been associated with telogen effluvium, which is a normal “resting” stage of the hair cycle.

Hair grows and sheds in cycles, and on average in a healthy person, about 80-90% of hair at a given time will be in the growth phase. The other 10-20% will be in a resting or shedding phase. However, stress has been shown to skew those percentages so that more hair is in a resting or shedding phase. The hair follicle is still alive, but your hair may look thinner and shed more.

Stress can push an inordinate number of hairs into this resting phase during which the hair is thin and susceptible to falling out. This can give the impression of very thin hair. There is also some evidence that alopecia areata and stress are related. Alopecia areata is a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks its own hair. It is usually diagnosed by patches of hair loss all over the scalp that seem to show up randomly and can be treated.

To treat hair loss of this type, the solution is decreasing stress. Whether it is work related stress, stress at home, or any other type of stress, your hair is sensitive to changes in stress hormones. While this hair will return if the stress is decreased, over time it can damage the hair and cause hair loss.


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