Stress Causes Hair Loss, Here’s How to Regrow Your Hair

Superwoman Syndrome is a real thing, and it happens when physical, emotional, or mental stress of a hectic lifestyle takes a toll on your health, often causing hair loss. Hair loss affects both men and women, but female pattern hair loss is often worsened by unresolved stress. Luckily, this type of hair loss can be reversed. Today, we’re going to get to the root cause of your hair loss or thinning hair, and explain how you can optimize your hair growth cycle naturally for longer, stronger, healthy hair.

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Hair thinning vs. hair loss

Whether you’re experiencing excessive hair loss, or your hair strands are becoming gradually thinner over time, both of these problems often share a common cause.

High levels of chronic or severe stress shortens the growth phase of each hair follicle, and can quickly deplete nutrients your hair needs to stay strong. This means you’ll either notice more hair shedding, you’ll have thinner, more brittle strands, or both.

Today, women experience more chronic stress than previous generations, so targeting this is a big part of the overall puzzle to treating hair loss.

Other types of hair loss not necessarily caused by stress include:

  • Androgenic alopecia – often causing women to lose hair around the crown (top) of the head and is often seen with PCOS as a result of higher than normal androgens (male hormones) in women.
  • Alopecia areata – an autoimmune condition causing patchy hair loss and frequently seen with autoimmune disease, like Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

Related: Is Your Hair Loss Caused by a Hormone Imbalance? 

Can hair loss from stress grow back?

This type of temporary hair loss can be reversed, but it’s essential that as part of hair loss treatment, you also reduce stress to prevent further hair loss.

It’s not unusual to experience excessive hair loss after significant emotional stress, illness, or surgery.

This type of hair loss is called telogen effluvium hair loss. Women also experience hair loss after pregnancy—which is completely normal and it will grow back in time. Basically, when your hair falls out as a result of telogen effluvium, it just means that your body needs to direct all its effort towards something more important.

Healthy hair growth should resume a few months after the stressful event, but you can begin a holistic hair loss treatment to nourish your body and scalp. Here’s how to:

  • Replenish hair nutrients
  • Protect your hair from damage
  • Restore healthy hair growth

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Your hair needs these nutrients

Crash dieting, very restrictive eating habits, and chronic digestive issues (Crohn’s, IBS, etc.) can all make it difficult to get the nutrients you need for healthy hair. The vast majority of Americans are deficient in some of the key nutrients required for hair growth, including (1):

  • Biotin
  • Choline
  • Iron
  • B Vitamins (folate, B6, B12)
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc

The good news is you can optimize these hair-healthy nutrients easily with a healthy diet.

The foods that help your hair grow contain vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, and plenty of protein. Focus on these:

Animal proteins are rich in heme iron, which is easily absorbed by your body. A vegan lifestyle may not be best if you’re struggling with hair loss or thinning hair.

Healthy omega-3 fats like salmon, mackerel, and oysters reduce inflammation that impairs hair growth (2). And others like avocado, nuts and seeds, olive or coconut oil support healthy hormones and moisture content in your hair follicles and scalp.

Eggs (with the yolk!) are the highest dietary source of choline, and they contain B vitamins that help improve strength and quality.

Kiwi, papaya, citrus, and foods rich in vitamin C reduce free radical damage that can block hair growth and cause hair follicles to age prematurely (2). Vitamin C rich foods also help to make collagen, an essential component of healthy hair. It’s also great for your skin, too.

Other nutrient-dense foods like sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, and legumes are high in vitamins and minerals that can help improve the health of your hair follicles.

A good diet is essential to support healthy hair growth from the inside out. But sometimes, you need a little extra help in the form of supplements.

Try these! Naturally Luxurious Hair Masks to Nourish + Protect

Supplements for hair loss

Replenish hair nutrients.

One supplement you can take to improve hair health is a good multi-nutrient, Ayurvedic-inspired formula.

Lush Locks works to replenish hair nutrients, control inflammation that impairs follicle function, and support healthy keratin production within the interior hair shaft itself.

Lush Locks contains l-cysteine, an amino acid concentrated within keratin in the inner portion of a healthy hair shaft, which, when paired with amla, B vitamins, and iron, help to deliver nutrients to the scalp to promote healthy hair growth (3).

In addition, B vitamins support healthy hormone function and metabolism which is an important part of normal hair growth.

Massage your scalp with peppermint oil

Massaging the scalp actually increases blood flow to hair follicles, which means they have access to more nutrients with which to grow (4,5).

When we notice more hair fall or thinning hair, sometimes we feel it’s best to touch our hair and scalp as little as possible–not wanting to cause more hair to fall out. But this can actually have the opposite effect.

Stress essentially shuts down hair follicles by reducing blood flow to the scalp, which restricts oxygen and nutrients. This is why women often notice gradual thinning. So we want to stimulate blood flow to hair follicles to deliver oxygen and nutrients.

Watch: Grow Thicker Hair (+ hair massage how-to!)

The best way to stimulate hair growth is with an essential oil massage—especially one containing peppermint oil (6). My favorite recipe for a healthy hair massage is:

  • 3-5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil
  • Mix with 4-6 oz of a carrier oil, like coconut or jojoba

For thicker hair, add 3-5 drops of rosemary or cypress.

Take a look at more essential oils to help flakiness, thinning hair, or for growing hair longer!

Protect hair at night from frizz and breakage using a silk pillowcase

If you’re still sleeping with a cotton pillowcase–stop! Not protecting your hair at night is one of the most common mistakes that causes breakage, frizz, and dry, brittle hair.

The friction of your hair being rubbed against a rough, cotton pillowcase for 8 hours every night is terrible for your hair.

Here’s how to protect your hair at night:

  • Swap out your cotton pillowcase for satin or silk. The slippery fabric reduces friction.
  • Try a silk head wrap or scarf at night. This reduces friction even more, and helps your hair retain moisture overnight.

Naturally reversing hair loss in women

Stress-related hair loss is one of the types of hair loss that is reversible, but it does take a few months of consistent attention to notice improvements. Hair grows in cycles, and you can support a growth phase by fixing nutrient deficiencies, eating sufficient protein, and getting healthy omega-3 fats. If you need extra support, natural supplements to stop hair loss, like Lush Locks, can help speed this process.