How to Minimize the Impact of Stress on Men’s Hair Health

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I don’t have to tell you how stressful the world can be. After all, you’re reading an article about hair loss! As if you didn’t have enough to deal with, now you have to worry about a receding hairline.

We know the 21st century has presented us with some unique challenges, and anxiety is one of them. A recent survey revealed that 27% of Americans have felt so stressed, they worried they “could not cope or deal with things.”

Statistically speaking, odds are you “can’t even” right now. Unfortunately, the effects of stress can.

Stress manifests itself in plenty of ways. Ever notice a few strands between your fingers after pulling at your hair? Let’s explore the ways that stress could start thinning out your hair.

Does Stress Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, stress can cause hair loss. Chronic stress directly impacts your health by disrupting your hormones and sleep patterns.

While stress isn’t always the culprit for losing hair, it is a common cause. If you’re experiencing noticeable hair thinning, bald patches, or a significant amount of strands in your fingers after shampooing, you’ll want to consult your doctor.

Types of Stress-Related Hair Loss

Not all hair loss is stress-related. Sometimes, that retreating hairline simply stems from genetics.

Thanks, Grandpa!

However, stress-related hair loss is so common that there are three types. Since there’s more than one way to lose your hair through stress, let’s investigate each type’s causes and symptoms.

Telogen Effluvium

Cortisol, a hormone released by the body during stress, triggers a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium. When cortisol levels rise, it prematurely pushes follicles into the hair growth cycle’s resting phase.

While in the resting phase, hair weakens and sheds. And because more follicles are at rest due to cortisol, the shed hair is not replaced.

You may recognize telogen effluvium by a general thinning of hair. It will not occur in patches.


The strong urge to pull hair from parts of your body, including the scalp, is called trichotillomania. It is also known as hair-pulling disorder. Often, the hair is played with or chewed on.

Trichotillomania is a mental health condition. Those afflicted with trichotillomania often experience patchy bald spots on their head. These spots can induce baldness.

Whether it’s an automatic response or on purpose, stress can trigger trichotillomania.

Alopecia Areata

Nearly six million Americans suffer from alopecia areata. This autoimmune disease causes your immune system to attack your hair follicles. It can be stress-induced and lead to severe hair loss.

Alopecia areata takes the form of round bald patches across the scalp. An even more severe form is known as alopecia universalis, which causes the entire body to lose hair.

Techniques to Manage Stress

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

If you feel your stress level rising while reading this, there’s good news: stress-related hair loss isn’t permanent. Once the anxiety subsides, your hair will regrow, and your body will recover.

The rate of hair regrowth depends on the individual. Seeking professional help will ensure you are correctly diagnosed and put on any medication if needed.

While you wait, you can employ the following steps to decrease stress.


A diet packed with whole foods ensures your body stays healthy, including your hair. Keeping your diet well-rounded is essential, but focusing on the following vitamins can aid hair growth.

Vitamin C

Not only is this vitamin excellent for the immune system, but it also helps your body build collagen. Collagen is the connective tissue of the skin found in hair follicles. Citrus fruits, broccoli, and bell peppers are rich in vitamin C.

Vitamin B

You can boost hair growth with a diet of leafy greens, beans, and avocados. They are rich in vitamin B, promoting healthy skin and hair.

Vitamin E

The antioxidants found in this vitamin are potent and help keep your scalp healthy. And it’s in delicious foods, too. Try getting your vitamin E fix with shrimp, broccoli, and sunflower seeds.


Exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress. It pumps your body with endorphins, which produce feelings of euphoria.

Don’t stress over having enough time to exercise. Studies show that even simple daily exercise routines, like 12 minutes of yoga, can reduce stress!


Whether the stress is short-term or chronic, therapy is an effective way to manage it. Therapists can offer strategies for coping with stress that can help patients manage their anxiety and better relax.


When you want to reduce stress and anxiety naturally, meditation is like a wonder drug. Studies show that mindfulness meditation reduces symptoms of stress, lowers anxiety, helps you sleep, can make you look younger, and improves your overall mood.

Treatments to Manage Hair Loss

Hair loss can affect your self-esteem and overall quality of life. When it’s related to stress, it can compound an already difficult time.

Sometimes, lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to combat stress-related hair loss. Thankfully, there are effective treatments available to preserve and regrow hair.

Low-Level Laser Therapy

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is an FDA-cleared treatment that stimulates the hair follicles.

Laser hair growth devices use red light to activate and energize sluggish hair follicles. Studies have shown that LLLT is effective at regrowing hair and has virtually no adverse side effects.


Medication for hair loss is available in over-the-counter and prescription forms. The most popular options include:

  • Minoxidil: Also known as Rogaine, this medication is commonly available as a topical solution. Results can take up to six months, and side effects include unwanted hair growth and scalp irritation.
  • Finasteride: Also known as Propecia, this is a prescription drug for men. Finasteride may slow hair loss and even promote the growth of new hair. Though rare, side effects include diminished sexual drive and function, along with an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Hair Transplant

When only hair from the top of the head is lost, a hair transplant can be an effective treatment. This procedure involves a doctor removing scalp tissue with healthy hair follicles and transplanting it to a bald spot.

Though transplants don’t require hospitalization, medicine is needed to sedate and comfort the patient. Despite the surgery, hereditary hair loss will progress.

Less Stress Means More Hair

Stress is a normal part of life. However, hair loss doesn’t have to be. By taking a holistic approach, you can minimize the stress in your life. And as you’ve learned above, minimizing stress can maximize your hairline.

After all, even if you feel so stressed that you want to pull at your hair, you don’t want that hair to come out! Be sure to go easy on yourself—your hair will thank you.

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