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Is Stress Making My Hair Fall Out?

The answer is that yes, it could be, but there is a solution.

Hi, it's Kelly Carter, Emergency Physician, Burnout Coach, Wife and Mom. Today’s blog topic is hair loss - one of the effects of stress on your body.

Disclaimer: I do not diagnose, treat, or prescribe for medical or mental illness with my online content. My views are my own and are not associated or representative of my employer(s). This blog is for educational purposes only and not medical advice.


The Life of a Strand of Hair

The average lifespan of a strand of hair is about 4.5 years. I had no idea! I thought most of my hairs had been with me since the early years of residency.

When these barely older than toddler strands fall out, they are usually replaced within 6 months. We lose about 100 strands of hair a day naturally. Unfortunately, after about age 30, men and women both start losing more hair, men usually more quickly than women. (Another joy of aging - wait until you hear how many brain cells we're losing as we get older!)

Many factors contribute to hair loss from styling practices to illness and hormonal changes.

So if you've been under more stress lately (like job, work, family, COVID) and you think your hair is falling out more than usual, you're probably right. When your stress response ramps up it produces cortisol (full stress response details here). This stress hormone signals hair follicles to change from the growth phase to the dormant phase and it stops growing and falls out 2-3 months later. This process is has a fancy name called telogen effluvium.

The good news is that you can improve your stress through wellness and reduce your stress response and stop this from happening. Your hair will grow back within 6-9 months.

If your hair is falling out in abnormal patterns or in significant amounts, you should see your doctor about more dangerous causes of hair loss.


Are you ready to have less stress and burnout in your life? My program gives you an organized, step-by-step process, an accountability partner (me!), and lots of self-care tips and self-learning activities to help you change those feelings of overwhelm and stress into joyful and intentional living – with more time, energy, success, confidence, mindfulness, and overall well-being.


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