Stress is a natural reaction to mental or emotional pressure and it can cause poor mental health as well as some physical symptoms such as chest pain, headaches, muscle pain, stomach problems, and sexual problems, but can it cause hair loss? Express.co.uk chatted to expert Trichologist Stephanie Sey to find out.
For some people, the numerous lockdowns over the last year have been a welcome chance to destress.
The commute and constant plans with friends have been replaced for many by more time at home with loved ones.
Staying at home has encouraged some people to work out more, eat more healthily and get more sleep, resulting in less stress.
With lockdown easing and the promise of no restrictions not far away, we’re all preparing for life to go up a gear and stress to make its way back into our lives.
Besides poor mental health, stress causes a range of problems such as mood swings, bad habits and a few mild physical symptoms. But does stress cause hair loss?
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Stress causes hair loss, dandruff, and bad hair habits, resulting in an unhealthy scalp and head of hair.
Stephanie said: “Increased levels of stress can lead to excessive hair shedding known as telogen effluvium.
“During stressful periods, your hair may be shocked from the growing phase to the resting phase resulting in shedding a few months later.
“Stress can weaken your body’s natural defences against naturally-existing microbes in the scalp which will lead to dryness and flakiness.
“It can also trigger excessive tugging of hair when styling or habitual scalp scratching.
“These habits will damage your scalp and affect the condition of your hair.”
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How to reverse the damage
If you notice more hair on your brush or your hair looks a little thin, you can bring your scalp back to full health again.
First things first, you need to take a good look at your diet.
Stephanie said: “Being back in the office can play havoc with your diet, as it’s more tempting to get stuck into sweet treats and sugary drinks when you’re sat at your desk.
“Processed foods can have a direct impact on the health of your scalp and a dry, itchy scalp can be frustrating and leave you feeling embarrassed.
“These foods typically have very little in the way of the nutrients that our body needs to stay healthy, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
“The hair is the very last system in your body to receive nutrients (as it is one of the least essential), so if your body is not receiving adequate nutrients, your hair will likely be affected.”
Try your best to eat lots of protein such as meat, fish, beans and eggs, as well as minerals like nuts, seeds and leafy greens.
Add in some silica by eating foods like oats and bananas, and you’ll notice a difference after a month.
Secondly, start taking care of yourself with regular exercise and sleep to “help control the damage to your hair caused by stress.”
Then, start to repair the hair with a “good hair care routine” including a good quality shampoo and conditioner for your hair type and no heat.
Whether your scalp is flaky or not, using an anti-dandruff shampoo such as Nizoral (£5 for 60ml from Boots, Superdrug, Amazon, Lloyds Pharmacy,
Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and independent pharmacies nationwide) is a great idea.
Stephanie added: “When drying your hair after washing, wrap your hair in a towel instead of vigorously rubbing it and use a wide-tooth comb to detangle.”