How Extreme Stress Causes Hair Loss

Stress is an unavoidable aspect of life. But did you know it can have an impact on your hair?

Everybody experiences heightened levels of stress from time to time. Whether from your job’s demands, from struggles with family and friends, due to problems with your physical and emotional health, or other factors, you’ve probably felt some stress, anxiety, and tension coming on at some point recently. However, for some, the stressors of everyday life can be much more chronic and extreme.

If you always feel stressed, tense, and anxious, you may be at a higher risk of dealing with hair loss. The connection between stress and hair loss is rooted in science. There’s no denying that chronic, heightened stress and anxiety can lead to thinning hair for many people.

So, how does stress cause hair loss, and what can you do about it? Keep reading to find out!

Types of Hair Loss Caused by Stress

Multiple types of hair loss can be caused or worsened by heightened, chronic stress. Below are the three most common causes of stress-related hair loss. Other factors can cause or exacerbate these types of hair loss, but stress may also play a big part.

  • Trichotillomania. This condition is often caused or worsened by extreme stress. It makes its sufferers feel compelled to pull out their hair when they feel agitated or anxious. Trichotillomania does not cause your hair to get thinner or fall out on its own. Instead, sufferers of the condition can find themselves with an irresistible urge that can leave them with bald patches all over their heads. Many who deal with trichotillomania also pull out their eyebrows and body hair when they are feeling stressed.

    Unlike many other forms of hair loss, topical products cannot fully treat trichotillomania. Instead, many who suffer from this condition need counseling and sometimes medication to make a full recovery.

    For many sufferers of trichotillomania, the condition’s severity can vary on a day-to-day basis. Since stressors in a person’s life can come and go, someone dealing with trichotillomania may have good days and bad days when it comes to their urges.
  • Telogen effluvium. This type of hair loss occurs when stress causes your hair to move into the telogen (rest) stage in its growth cycle. Your hair is not actively getting longer during this growth stage, whereas your hair grows in the anagen stage. A more prolonged telogen stage and shorter anagen stage can majorly impair your hair’s ability to grow. 

    Telogen effluvium can cause thinning hair in particularly vulnerable parts of your head. This type of hair loss is characteristically similar to pattern hair loss. Many people struggle with both telogen effluvium and androgenic alopecia. These two types of hair loss cause growth to thin out and slow down in certain parts of the head.

    Using DHT-blocking shampoo and conditioner from GroMD can help offset the growth-slowing effects of stress on your hair. DHT is the male sex hormone responsible for the most common form of hair loss in adults. Certain ingredients can naturally inhibit your body’s conversion of testosterone into DHT.
  • Alopecia areata. This type of hair loss occurs when your immune system triggers hair thinning. Several factors may have roles in causing alopecia areata, and stress is just one of them. However, since stress can sometimes have a significant effect on your immune system, it can be one of the primary causes of the condition.

    Sufferers of alopecia areata often need to address problems with their immune systems before they can see changes in their hairs’ growth rate. If you suspect that you are dealing with stress-related hair loss linked to your immune system, it’s best to visit your doctor and get some expert advice.

Other Factors Can Make Your Hair Loss Worse 

In addition to stress, several other factors can shrink your hair follicles, inhibit hair growth, and leave you with noticeably thinner hair. Although hair loss causes can vary, the leading cause of the most common form of hair loss in adults is a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

DHT causes hair loss by constricting your hair follicles. Once the hormone shrinks your follicles, it lengthens your hair’s time in its telogen (rest) stage of growth and shortens its anagen (growth) stage. The hair-thinning effects of DHT usually appear later in life, especially after the age of 50. However, DHT-related hair loss can develop as early as your 30s.

In adolescence, DHT plays a vital role in your body’s physical transformation during puberty. In puberty, your body’s DHT levels surge, helping to develop new physical characteristics like the growth of body hair and facial hair, increased depth of voice, and more. However, after puberty, your DHT levels can continue rising, which can mess with your hair follicles later in life.

If your hair has started thinning out in your middle age, stress may be a contributing factor. However, the primary cause is most likely DHT. DHT-related hair loss is prevalent in both men and women, affecting half of men over 50 and a quarter of women at the same age. 

How To Reduce Stress and Get Your Hair Back on Track 

One of the best ways to take good care of your hair is to lead a stress-free life whenever possible. We know that life can be challenging and that plenty of circumstances can be anxiety-provoking. However, it’s always smart to do whatever you can to manage your stress as well as possible. Below are a few healthy, simple habits to form to keep your stress levels to a minimum.

  • Exercise. Physical activity releases endorphins, hormones that can help your body and mind manage stress. Even light exercise daily can have a positive impact on your hair’s growth rate. If you are dealing with thinning hair, a brisk, 30-minute walk each day can help you manage stress and reduce its growth-slowing, hair-thinning effects.
  • Meditation/quiet time. Taking time to breathe, slow down, and recenter yourself can be a powerful stress-reducing practice. If you often feel anxious and overwhelmed, you might start noticing your hair beginning to thin out. To prevent stress-related hair loss, you can start including some form of meditation or quiet time in your daily routine. Meditation involves quieting your mind and focusing your attention on gratitude and positivity.
  • Monitor your caffeine intake. Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks are delicious, but drinking them in excess can sabotage your de-stressing efforts. If you are struggling with thinning hair, you may benefit from reducing your caffeine intake. Caffeine can increase stress by prompting your body to release cortisol, the primary hormone responsible for triggering anxiety. However, using caffeine topically can have a positive impact on your hair’s growth rate!

Take Great Care of Your Hair With GroMD 

GroMD’s shampoo, conditioner, and follicle activator spray are just what your hair needs if you are dealing with thinning. Our signature blend of growth-boosting, DHT-blocking ingredients can help to get to the root cause of your hair loss, getting your hair growth back on track over time.

When you want to take the best possible care of your hair, reverse and prevent hair loss, and boost your confidence, GroMD has you covered. You can find all of our products on our website, including our DHT-blocking, growth-boosting shampoo and conditioner combo.

Dr. Amir Yazdan, MD, is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, expert guest on Dr. Phil and The Doctors, creator of the GroMD hair restoration product line, ISHRS member, accredited member of the IAHRS and a visceral advocate for patient care. Learn more about Dr. Yazdan or read rave reviews from his patients.


Stress and hair loss: Are they related? (

Telogen effluvium (

Androgenetic alopecia (

Caffeine Stimulation of Cortisol Secretion Across the Waking Hours in Relation to Caffeine Intake Levels (