Once or twice in your life, you may have felt overwhelmed by stress to the point where you wanted to rip your hair out. There's a reason why this phrase exists. While we've long known that stress can have a profound impact on our overall health and well-being, it's important to recognize that the effects of stress can extend even to something as seemingly unrelated as our hair growth.
Whether you're grappling with hair loss yourself, or you're simply curious about the science behind the strands, we'll explore the connection between stress and hair, so you can maintain a healthy and vibrant mane—no matter what life throws at you.
Understanding Types of Stress
Stress is something we all deal with, but what is it exactly, and why should we pay attention to it? Think of stress as your body's built-in alarm system. Whether it's a looming deadline, a surprise visit from your in-laws, or something more serious, stress has never been one-size-fits-all; it comes in different forms, and they affect us in distinct ways.
Acute Stress: This is the type of stress we feel when facing immediate challenges or pressure, like dealing with a sudden deadline. Acute stress, while intense, is typically short-lived and managed the easiest.
Chronic Stress: Chronic stress is the result of prolonged exposure to stressors, such as ongoing work-related issues, financial difficulties, or family conflicts. This type of stress can have a significant impact on our physical and mental well-being over time.
Environmental Stress: Whether you realize it or not, environmental factors like noise, pollution, or overcrowding can contribute to stress. They can affect our sense of well-being and increase the production of stress hormones.
Psychological Stress: This form of stress is often linked to our thoughts, emotions, and mental state. Anxiety, worry, and self-doubt can all contribute to psychological stress.
Knowing stress types is the first step to dealing with their effects, especially when it comes to women's health. Stress can play a major role in hair health—we’ll explain the science behind that, and how to combat it.
The Science Behind Stress-Induced Hair Loss
Our bodies have a natural response to stress, and it revolves around a hormone called cortisol. When stress levels rise, so does cortisol. This hormone can disrupt the natural cycle of hair growth.
Your hair goes through different phases—growth, rest, and shedding. Stress can tip the balance by pushing more hair into the resting phase, where it's not actively growing. This shift usually results in hair thinning and, eventually, hair loss.
Stress can also trigger inflammation and oxidative stress in your scalp, which directly affects your hair follicles. Inflammation can harm the roots of your hair, while oxidative stress can weaken them, making your hair more prone to falling out.
In simpler terms, when stress takes center stage, your hair's growth cycle gets thrown off balance, making your locks less robust and more likely to shed. There are plenty of reasons to stay optimistic—keep reading to learn what can help counteract these effects in order to maintain healthy, resilient hair.
Signs and Symptoms of Stress-Induced Hair Loss
Here are a few telltale signs that stress might be taking a toll on your locks. Keep in mind; it's not just a bad hair day we're talking about. These symptoms could typically last for 3-6 months, or worsen in that timeframe, and that’s when you might consider talking to a trusted dermatologist or PCP.
Excessive Shedding: Ever notice more hair in your brush or on the shower floor than usual? Stress-induced hair loss often shows up as increased shedding, because you're losing more hair than is typical.
Thinning Hair: If your hair starts looking noticeably thinner or lacks its usual volume, it could be a sign of stress-related hair loss. Thinning typically occurs around the top of the scalp.
Receding Hairline: Stress can lead to a receding hairline, especially along the forehead. If you've noticed your hairline moving backward, stress could be a contributing factor.
Bald Patches: Stress-induced hair loss can sometimes result in bald patches or areas where hair is conspicuously absent. These patches can appear suddenly and without warning.
Itchy or Painful Scalp: Stress can trigger scalp issues, including itching or discomfort. If you've been experiencing persistent scalp problems alongside hair loss, it might be time to consider the role of stress.
Slower Hair Growth: Stress can slow down the rate at which your hair grows. If you've noticed that your hair isn't growing as quickly as it used to, stress may be the culprit.
Managing Stress-Related Hair Loss
Stress is an unwelcome guest that somehow seems to always find its way into our lives. Despite being a completely natural response, the impact it can have on our hair health is far from desirable. That's where a little extra support can make a significant difference. We still don’t know how to eliminate stress completely, but there are ways to help you deal with stress-induced hair loss more effectively.
Lifestyle Changes for Hair Health
A holistic approach to hair health, involving stress management and a healthy lifestyle, is the key to maintaining your hair at its best. The following pointers are also helpful for those who are trying to maximize hair health:
- Regular Exercise: Regular physical activity can improve blood flow, including to your scalp—and a healthy scalp is crucial for healthy hair growth!
- Gentle Hair Care: Treat your hair with care. Avoid harsh chemicals, excessive heat styling, and tight hairstyles that can damage your locks.
- Adequate Sleep: Your hair benefits from a good night's sleep. Aim for those 7-9 hours of quality shut-eye to allow your body and hair to repair and regenerate.
Dietary Additions for Healthier Hair
A well-rounded diet filled with essential nutrients is your hair's best friend. Include foods rich in biotin, vitamins, and minerals, and don't forget the protein for strong, healthy hair. Along with good nutrition, good hydration keeps your locks fed and healthy, so make sure you’re drinking enough water.
Practicing Yoga Regularly May Work Wonders
Signing up for yoga classes is a commonly-prescribed remedy for a high-stress lifestyle, and for good reason. Doing it regularly, whether from a youtube video or fully immersed in a professionally-led class, has been shown to contribute to:
- Reduced cortisol levels
- Your natural relaxation response
- Improved mental wellness
- Enhanced mindfulness
- Improved sleep quality
- Enhanced emotional regulation
- Stress resilience
Best Supplements for Hair Loss
Unlike generic hair, skin & nails supplements, WILLO hair growth support capsules step in as a source of support in your battle against stress-related hair loss. These capsules contain a blend of carefully chosen ingredients, and the best part is they're ideal for managing both stress and hair loss simultaneously. Let's take a closer look at the ingredients.
Clinically-Proven Lustriva®: A Patented Blend of Biotin, Silicon & Arginine
These three work in harmony to support your hair's strength and growth, and Lustriva's blend offers them in a form that your body can more easily & efficiently absorb—for maximum hair-loving benefits. Biotin, a B vitamin, is essential for hair health, while silicon and arginine are key players in maintaining good blood flow and healthy hair structure.
Saw Palmetto Extract
This ingredient takes on a hormone called DHT, a cousin of testosterone known for shrinking hair follicles and contributing to hair loss. By managing DHT, saw palmetto extract can help maintain healthier hair.
Vitamins E and C
These vitamins are your hair's defenders against oxidative stress. By reducing oxidative stress, they protect your hair from damage, ultimately supporting hair follicle health.
As an adaptogen, holy basil is a stress management ally. It is known to help your body cope with stress better, which is vital for preventing stress-related hair loss.
Other Hair & Scalp Nutrients
This blend fills in nutrient gaps that may lead to hair thinning. It includes minerals like selenium, iron, and vitamins D3, B12, folate, and zinc, ensuring your hair receives all the essential nutrients it needs.
While we can't eliminate stress entirely or forever, we hope you now feel equipped with the tools to deal with it more efficiently, and combat its effects on your hair.