How Stress Is Impacting Your Hair And What To Do About It
*This article was written by our friends at glowritual.ca.
IN THIS ARTICLE:
The issue of hair loss is surrounded by a number of strong emotions; it’s a topic that many feel uncomfortable discussing publicly. Women in particular may be uncomfortable seeking support for this issue. However, approximately half of women will experience above average hair shedding at some point. It is something we need to talk about as a society so we can de-stigmatize and de-mystify the issue of hair loss.
How hair grows
Our hair follicles are in constant transition through different phases. The anagen phase can last from three to five years, during this stage hair grows steadily. The catagen phase follows the growth phase, this is where the hair stops growing; this stage can last days to months depending on the individual. Following this, hair goes into the telogen phase where hair remains in the follicle until it’s pushed out by new growth.
The impact of stress on hairOur body operates as a gorgeous, complex system. When there is disharmony or dysfunction in one area it invariably shows up in a multitude of ways. When we feel threatened in an environment, our body experiences an increase in cortisol levels. While these responses may have helped our ancestors battle danger lurking in their environment, prolonged exposure to stress can wreak havoc on our bodies. Cortisol can interact with hormones and force hair to shift into the resting phase. This happens to be the phase where hair is most vulnerable to shedding.
Telogen Effluvium is a type of hair loss that is caused by extreme stress. What is considered extreme stress? Think of major life events like loss of a loved one, a relationship fall-out, an injury or economic loss. The prolonged stress of living through a global pandemic or a toxic relationship can also qualify. Usually, the impact of these events is felt several months after a severe incident. People don’t notice hair falling out all at once, it may show up as a thinner ponytail, more hair being shed during a shower or during regular brushing.
The good news is that with the right blend of nutrients, rest and self-care rituals, hair can be encouraged to move back into the growth stage. This process can take months but is well-worth the effort. Helpful tools such as Graydon's Matcha Mint Shampoo and Glow Ritual's Heal Hair Serum can play an important role along this journey.
Matcha Mint Shampoo is formulated with a plant-based surfactant that won’t strip your hair of its natural oils, leaving your hair looking shiny and smooth.
Heal Hair Serum contains a gorgeous blend of beta-carotene, vitamins A, D, C and E, essential fatty acids, polyphenols and minerals designed to nourish hair.
Can self-care play a role?
When going through periods of stress, we can endeavour to take the most loving care of our bodies. We can act as our own healers and give our body the right blend of nutrition, rest, play and nurturing.
Hair thrives on protein and getting a sufficient amount each day can go a long way in growing healthy hair. Exercise can have tremendous benefits for overall health, including the hair and scalp. Inverted poses in yoga can increase blood flow to the scalp and support follicles. Breath-work and meditation can also be incorporated into a healthy hair growth regimen.
Avoiding excessive brushing or harsh chemicals can certainly help in conjunction with a reduction in heat styling. Glow Ritual’s Glo Dry was created to help de-frizz hair and add a natural shine without all the heat damage. Finally, incorporating play into every day can have an uplifting effect on our mood and well-being. What does play look like when we’re grown up? It could be belting out a favourite song while getting dressed. It might be sending a funny meme to a sibling. It means re-connecting with a friend over brunch or curating a beautiful skincare ritual with Graydon’s Clean Beauty Starter Kit. Play can look different for everyone, look back into your childhood for inspiration; what lit you up? What did you get lost doing? What did joy look like?
Note: We certainly recommend seeking medical help to determine the type of hair loss you may be experiencing along with a treatment plan to help you along your journey.
Looking for more self-care ideas? Try this brightening mask and smoothie recipe.
Main image by: chokja