To all those endless nights thinking about breakups, work pressure, academics, and what not, we know how they leave us restless and stressed. But did you know that they’re impacting your hair on a deeper note? We pulled out all the research in place to note down what is the relationship between stress and hair. It does not end well for your crown. In case you're an overthinker or you’re going through a stressful phase in your life then this is for you to know how to protect your crown now!
How does stress affect your hair?
Before we understand how stress affects our hair, let’s note the hair growth cycle to make it simple as to where we must stop, seek help, and repair our hair condition.
Our hair grows in three phases- growth (anagen), degenerative (catagen), and resting (telogen) phase.
Anagen or growth phase is when we see baby hair that has pushed through the skin and will grow into its full length. The growth is monitored by stem cells present in the hair follicles. In the growth phase, stem cells divide to regenerate and provide the necessary support for hair growth.
After this, hair goes into a catagen or degenerative phase, where the growth is arrested. This is also where the hair follicles shrink.
Eventually, hair enters the resting phase, also known as telogen. It’s when the hair sheds since the stem cells are inactive in this phase.
So where does stress play a role? Stress leads to the secretion of corticosterone that is secreted by a gland located just above your kidney. This stops the stem cells from doing their job and hence you end up losing your hair. Just to sound more interesting, this is what we call telogen effluvium where the stem cells are inactive and so you end up losing hair.
Stress can also affect your hair by making your white blood cells (immunity builders) fight with your hair follicles. Nasty, right? Let’s see what all of this leads to!
What does stress lead to?
Stress causes hair loss in various forms apart from the normal hair fall that we experience. Let’s look at what more damage can it do-
1. Alopecia areata
This condition is where your body’s immune system will attack your hair follicles and that blocks the stem cells’ activity. In this condition, you will find bald patches on your hair in no particular pattern. If it is a receding hairline or widening partition line then those are considered to be female pattern hair loss which usually occurs with age but may also accelerate with stress.
2. Hair pulling
Yes, it means an individual may pull out their hair. This condition is called Trichotillomania which usually occurs when you’re in a chronic stress phase. It’s an individual’s way to deal with stress.
3. Telogen effluvium
As we mentioned earlier, this is due to stress but it is easily recoverable if you manage stress in the initial stage. This phase can occur anytime when your body experiences sudden changes like childbirth, menopause, loss of loved ones, work pressure, changing environment, etc.
How to manage stress?
We are not experts but we sure have had our share of stress and of course, we overcame it like a boss. Here are the few ways that surely works to manage stress-
Diet makes a huge difference since they can be triggers for certain hormones. A ‘Satvic bhojan’ is a meal that fills your tummy, cleans your guts, and does not disturb the functioning of any glands or organs. Junk, of course, disturbs your guts which in turn disturbs your muscles and hormone levels. We all know of emotional eating which is what some of us do due to stress but if you want to break that cycle and be happy then start with a clean diet routine.
Learn more about the food one must include in their routine for luscious locks here.
This is not always how gurus do. There is meditative music that can help you focus on just the music and forget everything. In fact, anything you like to do can be meditative and therapeutic. It’s all about focusing and reducing negative thoughts. For some, work is meditation and for some, music is meditation. Find your way!
3. Practise self-care
(Ironically) We just cannot stress this enough! Self-care can help you win over the demons fighting in your head, pushing you down. Think of it as a prayer to God for being grateful for this life that you’re bestowed with. If you ain’t taking care of yourself nobody’s mama is going to. Start with your body. Wear what you love, take care of your diet and your skin. We swear by just focusing on your body, you will see how easy it gets every day to overcome negative thoughts.
We love ‘champis’ with Tvam Hair Oil - 21 Herbs Anti-Stress on days we’re stressed and we want to practice self-care. This oil effectively improves blood circulation and soothes your scalp. It has a very soothing smell overall to even relieve headaches.
One can even get their hands on Fixderma Kairfoll Hair Lotion Spray. This is a lightweight formulation that leaves no residue and works great to stop hair fall. Perfect for those who want to practice self-care on days they’re travelling.
Being mindful of what you think, what you do, how you respond, and what you surround yourself with can make a huge difference in managing stress. We love journaling our thoughts and maintaining a gratitude journal to track our thoughts and improvement. However, food is the real fuel to your thoughts so make sure you’re meeting your daily micro and macronutrients requirements.
In case you're looking for something to meet your hair’s requirements, do try Nyumi Happy Hair Gummies. Not because they are tasty but because they’re full of all that your hair needs to strengthen the roots, reduce hair fall and even have healthy nails and skin!
Your body is where your thoughts reside. How we instantly get a headache when we’re stressed and we feel so light when we’re happy. It is all connected to the body. So stretch every day to eliminate all the negative thoughts residing in the niches of your body. Even a solid 15-minute workout routine can help you reduce stress and build resilience.
Is hair loss caused due to stress treatable and how long does it take to recover?
Hair loss due to stress, unfortunately, has no solid treatment. You just have to cut off stress to see the change.
To see a complete reversal of the damage that stress has caused, it may take a few months to years since reducing or managing stress is not a day’s job. As soon as you cut off stress, your body will start regenerating stem cells but at a slower pace initially. Eventually, after a few months, you will see normal hair growth.
Stress has a long-term effect on hair and as per research, there can be a cure but only once you cut off stress from your life. One cannot expect hair oils and spas to do their job and revive your hair if internally your body is still sending stress responses. There are multiple ways to manage and reduce stress but one must consciously take a step towards their mental health. Let’s remember, our hair is our crown and we must protect it at all cost!
- Divya Salvi