I’m often asked, does stress make your hair fall out? And the short answer is yes. When you’re under stress, your body produces a hormone called cortisol and as we’ve talked about you know in the past, your hair follicles are very sensitive creatures to changes in your hormone status.
And so when your body produces that hormone cortisol in response to stress, your hair follicles say “oh no, what’s going on” and they will shut down temporarily and the hair shaft will detach from the root and fall out and the root of the hair follicle goes dormant until the stress goes away.
And so I like to say that stress does cause hair loss, but usually not permanent hair loss.
Once the stressful event or stressor is gone the cortisol hormones will return to normal, your hair follicle cells will then recognize that there’s no imbalance or there’s no excess cortisol in their system, and then they still have to wait their dormant phase which can be three to five, six months. Everybody’s dormant phase is a little bit different and lasts longer than others, it’s very individualized.
And then those hair cells will recover after that dormant phase and produce hair again. A lot of people are under the misconception of as soon as the stressful event is over my hair should start to regrow back immediately. That’s not the case, it goes through that dormant phase of several months before the hair follicle cells wake back up and will start to produce that permanent hair again.
So it can take sometimes up to a year after the initial stressful trigger has caused the hair to fall out before it recuperates. So the treatment for stress hair loss is to eliminate the stress if you can and to be patient because time will allow those hair follicles to come back..