Considering the fatigue of the last two years living within a pandemic and supply chain issues and other troubles associated with a global crisis, it is no wonder that people are stressed. And we all know that stress can cause many physical issues like high blood pressure, anxiety, and lack of sleep. But what you might not be aware of is that stress can also affect your hair. At FHI Heat, we spend our days trying to keep your hair healthy and hydrated with our innovative tools and plethora of nourishing hair products, and we also want to teach you about problems that can arise with your hair. Simply put, if you want your hair to be the best it can be, you need to reduce the stress in your life. Stress can trigger all sorts of physical reactions and even cause your hair to fall out.
Although you might not spend too much time thinking of your hair’s life cycle, you have spent enough time getting haircuts and watching your hair spin down the drain to know that there is a method to the madness of hair growth. As you may or may not know, your hair grows in three stages.
In the anagen stage, the tiny strands of hair push up through your skin. Secondly comes degeneration or catagen, where your hair stops growing and the follicle shrinks. The last stage is telogen, or rest, where your hair falls out, and the process starts all over again. Amazingly, mammals regenerate this tissue throughout their lives.
Stem cells in the hair follicle initiate the cycle, and as they grow, the stem cells divide and become new cells. The stem cells are inactive during times of rest. The cycle of hair growth and regeneration continues until something like stress enters the process to impede the progress.
Hair growth is predicated on the adrenal glands. Scientists learned that the adrenal glands that produce key stress hormones caused the hair follicles to enter an extreme resting phase when more cortisol was present, as cortisol was found to inhibit hair regrowth. Although the stress hormone was not acting directly on the stem cell, the more stress hormone around, the less the hair grew.
Interestingly, the findings from another study show the pathway and relationship between chronic stress and hair loss more clearly. These studies also illuminate why stress causes gray hair and give further information about how stress can affect tissue regeneration in the rest of your body.
Losing hair is not the only negative impact of stress. “Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months after a physical or emotional shock. Stress can also trigger scalp problems such as dandruff, disrupt eating habits, and mess with the digestive system, all of which can negatively impact hair. This type of hair loss is generally temporary.”
There are several types of hair loss that have to do with stress. Telogen effluvium occurs when a large stress event pushes your hair follicles into a resting phase. A few months later, you might notice your hair falling out even with a simple brushing or combing. Trichotillomania, on the other hand, is a condition where a person has an insatiable urge to pull their hair out from the scalp, eyebrows, and other areas. This can be triggered by tension and stress, as well as boredom. Finally, alopecia areata can be caused by various factors, of which stress can be one. In this case, the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles and causes hair to fall out.
It stands to reason that if you are losing hair because of stress, relieving your stress would positively affect your hair. At FHI Heat, we know that is easier said than done. There are several ways to promote healthy hair that are worth the reminder.
A healthy lifestyle goes hand in hand with healthy hair. Exercise and meditation will help with stress. Even the simple technique of focusing on your breath can lower your blood pressure and, therefore, your anxiety. As far as exercise, walking is a solid cardiovascular activity that creates endorphins, reduces stress levels, and can be done anywhere.
With meditation and exercise, you can lower stress and promote robust hair by eating a healthy diet. Choose foods high in protein, including foods like chicken, beans, and seeds. Salmon and nuts offer fatty acids that are good for hair growth. And make sure you have plenty of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E, among others, by eating the rainbow and/or taking a multivitamin.
The last important solution to hair loss is to take care of the hair you have carefully. Consider the techniques and tools you use to style your hair.
For instance, consider what hot tools are safe for your hair type.