Effects of stress on hair and how to prevent hair loss

headshot of a nervous girl with a hairbrush

Stress is not just an annoying thing that we have to face every now and then: it is also one of the major health and beauty saboteurs. It causes insomnia, dehydration, cravings for junk foods which result to various negative effects.

When under stress, the majority of people will notice more hair getting left in their comb brush or the scalp getting itchier and more sensitive. Though majority of them don’t associate this phenomenon with stress, this could be a reflection of a big health problem lying underneath.

A major physical or psychological stress such as death in the family, divorce, a major health condition such as cancer or childbirth, can have a major impact on the entire body. This may lead to hair breakages or even graying.

This condition is known as effluvium, which mostly results from trauma. The onset of effluvium causes majority of the hair follicles to shift from multiplication and growing phase and they enter to resting phase.

This lasts for two to six months post trauma and may extend up to 18 months post trauma. Having deficiencies of certain essential vitamins such as vitamin D, iron, zinc, B group of vitamins, proteins and certain essential fatty acids makes the condition worse.

Presence of stress in the body also causes release of stress hormone, cortisol. Presence of cortisol increases the rate of oil production from the sebaceous glands resulting in an oily face. Increased accumulation of oil in the hair follicles may also result to acne and other skin problems.

What you can do about it

The first and the most important remedy for effluvium is to manage the amount of stress. Additional stressing factors only aggravate the matter hence the need to keep stress in check. It is also important to allow the body enough time and patience it requires to heal naturally in order to get it back to normal.

Even though stress may cause an individual to lose hair, it however does not result to bald spots. Even when the hair thins, there are those people whose hair returns to normal in only three months.

Performing regular exercises is a great way to keep stress at bay. Intensive workouts such as rowing make the heart to pump harder thereby increasing blood circulation to the brain and the rest of the body. Indoor Rowing machines provides rowers with opportunity to perform cardio exercises that are good for the heart.

Intensive exercises also enhance sleep which allows enough time for the body to heal naturally. Exercises enhance the release of happy hormones in the body which helps to reduce anxiety and counter the effects of cortisol.

Eating balanced diets gives the body the energy it needs to deal with stress. Eating also provides essential nutrients that enhance the strength of the hair making it less likely to fall off. Supplementing normal diets with vitamins good for hair ensures that the body doesn’t suffer deficiencies that may worsen the rate of hair loss.