Tips // How Stress Affects Your Hair
Published 3/10/19, 3:44 PM by Fleur Scalp Care
We know that stress is harmful for our overall well-being. But not many of us may know that stress is also a well-known factor for hair loss problems.
Stress is a normal part of life and positive stress can keep us alert and ‘zoned’ in. Remember the stress when we were crunching a deadline or prepping for an exam the night before back in school?
Though the human body is designed to handle and react to stress appropriately. When stress is prolonged and not managed or relieved, it can build up and have a negative impact on our overall health.
How Stress Works
When we are under stress, our bodies release stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline as part of our bodies’ “fight or flight” response to the situation at hand.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone, also often called the “stress hormone”, that increases glucose in the bloodstream, regulates metabolism and curbs nonessential functions in a fight or flight situation. Adrenaline increases your heart rate and blood pressure while also boosting energy supplies. Scientists believe this natural process has evolved as a survival mechanism that allows early humans to be able to react faster in life-threatening situations.
Once the perceived threat is over, the hormones then return to normal levels and all altered functions resume to regularity. But when stressors are present consistently and not relieved, it can cause the body to be constantly in this “fight or flight” state affecting our overall health.
How Stress Affects Hair
Studies have shown that cortisol can influence the function and regulation of hair follicle growth, resulting in impaired hair growth.
There are commonly three types of hair loss associated with stress.
Severe stress can affect the body’s immune system affecting normal functions. An affected immune system can turn on the hair follicles resulting in alopecia areata hair loss.
Telogen phase is a period where our follicles go into a resting stage where no new hair is growing. A significant stress can cause a large number of our hair follicles to go into this resting phase, resulting in sudden hair loss.
This refers to an irresistible urge to pull on your hair possibly as a way to deal with negative or uncomfortable feelings such as stress or tension.
How to manage stress?
Stress may come in all forms and at different stages in life to anyone. The key is in better stress management.
Finding time to hit the gym or going for a run may sound counter-productive to some of us who are already trying to find time and balance in our lives. But squeezing in some exercises is actually more beneficial to our overall well-being in the bigger picture.
Exercise helps reduce the levels of stress hormones and also stimulates the production of endorphins, the chemical in our brains that elevates the mood.
Light cardio exercise like yoga or a short jog can be a good start. It all depends on each individual, so be sure to consult your doctor if in doubt.
Massage not just improves the blood circulation and relieves pain and sore parts of the body. Studies have also shown the direct impact massage have on stress management. A therapeutic massage can boost the production of dopamine, serotonin and endorphin, helping to relieve stress.
You can set aside some time in the shower and give yourself a well-deserved scalp massage.
Recognizing and managing stress properly helps us a long way not just for our overall health but also our hair. So put on your trainers and roll out the yoga mats! And set aside some time and try our Scalp Spa Therapy that helps to soothe and relief any tension.