Your mind can’t rest. You feel tense and on edge. Switching off at the end of the day is impossible. We all recognize those familiar signs that our stress levels are on overdrive. What is perhaps lesser known is that not only can stress and anxiety affect our emotions and how we feel, it can also affect our physical appearance too - even when it comes to our hair.
From causing hair loss and reduced growth to triggering an anxious urge to literally pull-out hair, stress can ignite all manner of hair related issues. Let’s take a deeper dive into how stress can affect our hair, and explore some meaningful ways to invite calm into your life, while helping look after your luscious locks.
Telogen effluvium - hair shedding or slow regrowth
When our bodies are overloaded with stress our bodies produce excessive levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Studies have revealed that when HCCs (hair cortisol concentrations) reach high levels it affects the function and cyclic regulation of the hair follicle.
Telogen effluvium is a temporary, stress-related hair loss due to excessive shedding of resting or telogen hair. High HCCs push large numbers of hair follicles into a resting phase, studies say, around three months after a triggering event.
Trichotillomania – hair pulling
Trichotillomania is a psychological condition that causes a recurrent urge to pull hairs, be it from the scalp, face or elsewhere on the body. It is associated with significant levels of distress and to be a response to tension, stress or trauma.
The good news is trichotillomania can be overcome with therapeutic interventions. One randomized trial revealed that a course of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy was successful in helping reduce hair pulling in its participants.
Alopecia areata – hair loss
An auto-immune disease, alopecia areata is caused by white blood cells attacking hair follicles, inhibiting growth. This can result in patchy or all-over baldness. While it’s never been scientifically-backed that alopecia is 100% caused by stress, one medical journal states that neuroendocrine research supports the concept that psychological stress may be able to influence the disease process in alopecia areata.
Stress-busting rituals to calm body and mind
Looking after your hair means making time for meaningful self-care. By cultivating a set or soothing practices and rituals you can bring yourself into a place of presence and peace.
- Take 5-10 minutes when you wake and before you sleep to just close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Try to just let thoughts float by.
- Consider starting a yoga or tai chi practice that will help you balance yourself.
- Create a relaxing hair care ritual. Slowly massage in our vegan Gentle Hair Shampoo inhaling its coconut and blueberry aromas before rinsing and applying our Ultra-Hydrating Conditioner or Deep conditioning hair mask, perfect for damaged hair, curly hair or hair prone to breakage, it will leave it shiny and radiant.
- Find a set of calming, uplifting mantras or positive affirmations that you can repeat to yourself daily.