Does Lexapro cause facial hair? (3+ management tips)
In this article, we will discuss whether Lexapro causes facial hair. We will also take a look at the hormonal effects of Lexapro and review some of the factors that may lead to facial hair growth and its management.
Does Lexapro cause facial hair?
No, Lexapro (Escitalopram) does not cause facial hair. Lexapro is an antidepressant medication that works by alleviating the levels of Serotonin in the brain. Lexapro administration does not typically impact hair growth in the body.
However, some cases have reported hair loss because of Lexapro use but this side effect is very infrequent. The severity of hair loss may vary from person to person. Though this side effect is very uncommon, it can be very distressing, particularly in women.
Talk to your physician if Lexapro is affecting your hair growth and you are concerned about it. They can provide you with appropriate guidance for safe and effective treatment.
What does research suggest?
There are limited studies that have discussed the impact of Lexapro on hair growth.
One case report of a 40-year-old woman presented with an episode of moderate major depressive disorder was initially treated with Venlafaxine but her condition did not improve and she was shifted to escitalopram.
Her condition improved substantially with the medication but she observed severe hair loss. This hair loss persisted throughout her treatment (1).
In another case, a 44-year-old housewife diagnosed with major depressive disorder was started on Escitalopram and after three months of treatment, her hair loss started, which became quite evident in the fourth month. Hair loss was stopped once she stopped the treatment with Escitalopram (2).
The exact mechanism behind Lexapro-induced hair loss is not known, but it is assumed that it may cause hair follicles to enter in telogen or resting phase prematurely, resulting in more hair shedding.
What are the hormonal effects of Lexapro?
The fluctuations in the level of hormones can impact your hair growth. Lexapro may induce hormonal alterations in the following ways:
- Increase estrogen levels: Lexapro is also used for the treatment of hot flashes which women usually experience during their menopause due to reduced estrogen levels. Lexapro elevates and balances the lowered estrogen levels efficiently (3).
- Decreased testosterone: Antidepressants may lower your testosterone levels which could affect your hair growth.
- Upregulated Prolactin level: Lexapro can increase prolactin levels in some women and interfere with their ovulation.
- Menstrual Irregularities: Lexapro may alter the duration and intensity of menstrual cycle (4).
What factors may impact your hair health while taking Lexapro?
The following factors may influence your hair health while taking Lexapro:
- Administration duration: Long-term users of Lexapro may notice the effect of the drug on their hair growth as compared to those taking it for a few weeks.
- Concomitant use of other drugs: If you are on multiple medications, you may experience synergistic effects of the drugs. Therefore you should discuss your entire medications with your healthcare specialist before starting Lexapro.
- Lifestyle: You may observe hair loss while taking Lexapro if you follow an unhealthy lifestyle which includes insufficient sleep time, drinking less water and having junk food.
- Genetic factors: The effect of Lexapro on hair growth is very rare. Therefore, the role of genetics can not be ruled out. The presence of a specific set of genes in a person can make them more susceptible to hair loss upon Lexapro administration.
What are the causes of facial hair growth?
Myriad conditions can affect your facial hair growth. These include:
- PCOD: Polycystic ovary disorder causes an imbalance of sex hormones that results in facial hair growth.
- Hormonal imbalances: Male hormones such as testosterone cause excessive hair growth on the chest, back and face. Other hormonal disorders like Cushing’s syndrome, acromegaly, and obesity can also contribute to the growth of facial hairs.
- Tumours: Androgen-secreting tumours of the ovary and adrenal glands can cause the growth of facial hairs.
- Side effects of medication: Medications such as Minoxidil, danazol, testosterone and anabolic steroids, can affect the growth of your facial hairs.
What to do if Lexapro is affecting your hair growth?
Hair loss associated with Lexapro appears to be temporary and it can be reversed. You can consider the below management tips if Lexapro is affecting your hair growth.
- Consultation with Physician: If you experience any changes in your hair growth talk to your healthcare provider. They will determine the underlying cause and can guide your treatment in the best possible way.
- Do not stop medication: You should not stop medication on your own as this may lead to life-threatening Serotonin syndrome.
- Consider Alternative medication or dosage adjustment: Discussing openly your medication history will help your doctor find an alternative treatment or suggest a lowered dose of the drug in case you notice any changes in hair growth with Lexapro.
- Dietary considerations: Eat a nutrient-rich diet that helps to balance your hormone levels and supports hair health.
- Regular skin care routine and grooming: Taking care of your skin and regular grooming can help improve the health of your hair as well.
- Managing your weight: Obesity disturbs your hormonal levels. Therefore reducing weight may help improve your hair health.
In my opinion and based on current evidence, Lexapro does not cause facial hair growth. In some rare incidences, Lexapro has led to hair thinning but this effect was reversible once the medication had been stopped.
Changes in your hair growth can aggrevate depressive symptoms, particularly in females. In case you observe any changes in your hair growth while taking Lexapro immediately contact your doctor and discuss your entire medication history to determine the underlying cause.
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Pitchot W. Hair loss associated with escitalopram but not with venlafaxine: a case report. Prim Care Companion CNS Disord. 2011;13(4):PCC.11l01146. doi: 10.4088/PCC.11l01146. PMID: 22132360; PMCID: PMC3219523. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3219523/
Kocbiyik S, Batmaz S, Turhan L, Yuncu OA, Caykoylu A. Alleviation of alopecia after switching from escitalopram to duloxetine: a case report. Dusunen Adam The Journal of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences. 2016;29(1):76. doi: 10.5350/DAJPN2016290108. Available from: https://arsiv.dusunenadamdergisi.org/ing/DergiPdf/DUSUNEN_ADAM_DERGISI_993ed0f9996d427394e8df2313425347.pdf
Defronzo Dobkin R, Menza M, Allen LA, Marin H, Bienfait KL, Tiu J, Howarth J. Escitalopram reduces hot flashes in nondepressed menopausal women: A pilot study. Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2009 Apr-Jun;21(2):70-6. PMID: 19439155; PMCID: PMC2683354. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19439155/
Landy K, Rosani A, Estevez R. Escitalopram. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. [Updated 2023 Nov 10; Cited 2023 Nov 20].Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557734/