Will hair grow back after stress loss?

Hair loss from stress is a common issue that many people face at some point in their lives. The good news is that in most cases, hair that is lost due to stress does eventually grow back. However, it’s important to understand the causes of stress-related hair loss and what you can do to help your hair recover.

What causes stress-related hair loss?

Stress affects your body in a number of ways, including your hair follicles. When you experience high levels of stress, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol. Over time, elevated cortisol levels can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle and lead to excessive shedding.

Specifically, stress interrupts the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle. Anagen is the active growth phase when your hair follicles produce new hair strands. Under stress, more hair shifts prematurely from this growth phase into the telogen (resting) phase. Hair in the resting phase will eventually fall out in higher amounts than normal.

Some common triggers for stress-related hair loss include:

  • Serious illness or surgery
  • Significant emotional stress or trauma
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Starting or stopping hormonal medications like birth control pills
  • Nutritional deficiencies from poor diet
  • Thyroid disorders

The most common type of stress-induced hair loss is called telogen effluvium. It occurs when stress “shocks” a large number of hair follicles into the resting phase, causing hair to shed about 2-3 months later. Thankfully, this type of hair loss is usually temporary.

Will my hair grow back after stress-related loss?

In most cases, yes – your hair should eventually grow back after you’ve experienced stress-related shedding. Here’s why:

The hair follicles were not permanently damaged by the stress. They simply shifted into the resting telogen phase prematurely. Once your stress levels decrease and your cortisol levels normalize, new hair should begin growing back within several months.

However, there are a few factors that determine how quickly your hair recovers:

  • The severity of the stressor – more extreme stress may prolong hair loss.
  • Your general health and nutritional status – being otherwise healthy supports quicker regrowth.
  • Your genetic predisposition – some people naturally have faster growing hair.
  • Whether the trigger has been resolved – hair loss may continue if stress is ongoing.

On average, most people start to notice new hair regrowth 6-9 months after the stress event occurs. Full recovery can take up to 2 years for some.

What to expect during the regrowth process

As your hair starts to grow back after stress-related loss, you may notice some differences compared to your original hair:

  • Regrowth may start out thinner and finer in texture.
  • The new hair can be a different color or texture than before.
  • Hairline shape may change slightly if the loss was extensive.
  • You may notice more short, wispy hairs along your hair part or temples.

This is all very normal during the recovery process. Over time, the new hair should gradually increase in density, strength and pigment to match your original hair.

Can I speed up hair regrowth after stress loss?

While you can’t rush the natural hair growth cycle, there are some things you can do to help support and expedite regrowth:

  • Reduce stress: Minimizing ongoing stress helps normalize cortisol and brings hair follicles back into the growth phase faster.
  • Eat nutrient-rich foods: Focus your diet on lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.
  • Take key supplements: Biotin, vitamin D, iron and zinc support hair growth.
  • Use volumizing products: Hair thickeners and sprays camouflage thin areas as hair regrows.
  • Stimulate your scalp: Massage eases stress and boosts circulation to hair follicles.
  • Avoid heat styling: Limit use of damaging hot tools until hair regains its strength.

Being patient with the regrowth process and taking care of your overall health are also very important during recovery. If significant shedding lasts longer than 6-9 months, see your doctor or dermatologist.

When should I worry about hair not growing back?

In most cases of telogen effluvium from stress, your hair will eventually recover. However, there are situations when hair regrowth is poor or fails to occur, including:

  • The initial shedding was extremely severe – losing over 50% of hair.
  • The stress or trigger is ongoing.
  • You have an underlying health condition like thyroid disorder, autoimmune disease or malnutrition.
  • You are taking certain medications like blood thinners, beta blockers or antidepressants.
  • Permanent scarring or damage occurred to hair follicles.

Some warning signs that hair regrowth is abnormal or impaired include:

  • Ongoing excessive shedding longer than 9-12 months
  • Sudden patches of balding hair rather than diffuse thinning
  • No visible new hair growth along the hair part or temples
  • Hair loss accompanied by a rash, pain or skin flaking

See your doctor promptly if you notice these red flags. A dermatologist can investigate the cause and provide treatments if your hair fails to improve.

The emotional toll of stress-related hair loss

It’s very common for hair loss from stress to impact your emotional well-being. Many people describe feeling self-conscious, less confident and less attractive when they experience thinning hair. Fortunately, the hair loss is usually temporary.

Some tips for coping emotionally while your hair recovers:

  • Remember the hair loss is not your fault – don’t blame yourself.
  • Focus on regrowth treatments to feel proactive.
  • Use cosmetic products like volumizing sprays and powders.
  • Avoid constantly checking or obsessing over hair loss.
  • Connect with supportive friends and family.
  • Stay positive and patient with the regrowth process.

Consider seeking counseling if you continue to struggle with self-esteem or other emotional issues related to your hair loss. With time, your hair should regrow and your confidence will return.


Stress is a very common cause of excessive hair shedding due to its effects on your hair growth cycle. In the majority of cases, hair lost from temporary stress starts to regrow within 6 to 9 months as your body recovers. Focus on managing stress, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and being patient. If substantial hair loss continues longer than 6-9 months, check with your doctor to address any underlying issues. With proper care, your hair should return to its normal fullness over time after stress-induced shedding.

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