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Stressed to the max: Can stress cause hair loss?

Stressed to the max: Can stress cause hair loss?

Stress is a fact of life. We’re all likely to experience loss, change, and heartbreak at some point, which can lead to significant emotional stress. And while stress can wreak havoc in many areas of the body, it is one of the most common causes of hair loss in women.

When we experience high stress levels, telogen effluvium, a type of hair loss, is triggered in some people. Our hair is constantly in various cycles of growth and degeneration, but when telogen effluvium kicks in, our hair suddenly goes into a resting phase, which can cause hair to fall out suddenly and in significant amounts when doing things as simple washing, combing, or brushing our hair.


woman looking at a clump of hair loss in her hand


Luckily, not all hope is lost! Hair loss caused by telogen effluvium can be reversed, and there are several healthy ways we can manage stress levels. Keep reading to find out more.


What are the symptoms?

While shedding your hair is the most common symptom of telogen effluvium, there are some other signs to be on the lookout for:

  • Losing more hair than normal when washing or brushing your hair.
  • Thinner-looking hair than usual.
  • Hair becoming dryer than before, sparse, and lustreless.
  • Slight changes in hair colour, often going from dark brown to a lighter brown or reddish shade.
  •  A dry and itching scalp.
  • Losing hair that has a white bulb at the top of the sheath.

Emotional stress isn’t the only cause of this condition. Serious injuries, major surgery, pregnancy, traumatic events, and even crash dieting can lead to you experiencing the above symptoms. A very good reason not to do fad diets!


Is it permanent?

The good news is that telogen effluvium is only temporary and can be expected to reverse within six months of its onset. Because your hair follicles remain intact during telogen effluvium, new hair can grow and replace dying hair. It is important to remember that stress may be a trigger for some people, but may not play a role in others.


Close up shot of hair parting and scalp


Can it be prevented?

You can prevent telogen effluvium from occurring by learning to manage your stress levels (more on this in a bit) and applying healthy coping mechanisms in high-stress situations. Other ways to prevent the condition are:

  • Ensuring you’re eating a healthy and balanced diet, one packed with hair growth superfoods.
  • Getting enough high-quality sleep.
  • Speaking to your doctor about any medication you’re on that could be causing hair loss.
  • Reducing your intake of unhealthy foods that promote toxins in our bodies.


Woman looking happy eating an avocado


Other stress-related hair loss conditions

It’s worth noting that there are other types of conditions related to stress that can cause hair loss. Alopecia areata is a sudden hair loss that takes place in bald patches and is caused by the immune system attacking hair follicles, often as a result of stress. Hair pulling in the form of trichotillomania, also caused by stress, can also lead to hair loss.

Our top stress management techniques (H2 HEADING)

If stress is a given in our lives, the best thing we can do is to learn to deal with it using healthy coping tools. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Get more walks into your routine. Walking is an excellent way to reduce stress, get your heart pumping, and fill your body with endorphins, serotonin, and other happiness hormones.
  • Give deep breathing a go. Spend two minutes breathing deeply between tasks throughout the day. Aside from relieving stress and helping you feel more in control, breathwork improves your sleep, mood, energy levels, and productivity.
  • Practice mindfulness by listening to guided meditations on your favourite music streaming service.
  • Create an evening routine that helps you wind down for the day.
  • Eat healthy and nutritious meals rather than relying on emotional eating to cope. Eating healthy, wholesome foods will help improve your mood too.
  • Try new forms of relaxing exercises like Pilates or yoga. Better yet, join a group class where you’re guided and motivated by a professional.
  • Spend time outside in nature.
  • Start a gratitude journal or get into journaling regularly.
  • Connect with friends and family to form a support structure for you.
  • Try taking ashwagandha as this reduces stress hormones in your body.


Woman sitting down meditating


If you’ve experienced hair loss because of emotional stress, we feel you – we know how upsetting losing your hair can be. Take comfort in knowing that telogen effluvium is reversible and, with time, things will improve. To speed things up and promote healthy hair growth, why not try our Super Roots hair Growth Elixir? Packed with proven hair growth ingredients, our nourishing hair oil is the perfect way to get you back to full and healthy hair.


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