As a mompreneur, I am intimately acquainted with stress. However, while doing the research for this blog, I learned much more about this foe! For starters, it's not a foe!
Stress is not the Enemy
Your stress response was actually designed to protect your body in an emergency by preparing you to react quickly. It triggers your body’s “fight or flight” response. Your heart races, your breath quickens, and your muscles ready for action.
The issue comes into play when we remain in this mode for too long. We can then become plagued by:
- weakened immune system
- and yes, hair and scalp issues!
The Effect of Stress on your Hair
It's commonly known that stress can contribute to hair loss. What I did not know, however, is that this manifestation is delayed due to the nature of our hair's growth cycle. What this means is that a stressful event that occurs today might lead to hair loss that is evident 6-12 weeks from now! You might not even be stressed when your hair starts shedding uncontrollably and could be at a total loss as to why you are losing your hair! However, there are factors that you can observe almost immediately that will let you know if your stressful lifestyle is affecting your locks:
- Itchy, flaky scalp - Stress causes an imbalance in your hormone levels, which disrupts the micro-flora of the scalp.
- Increased oiliness - Stress heightens your androgen (male hormone) levels, which in turn can increase your scalp’s production of oils.
As far as stress-related hair loss is concerned, what I found interesting is that the main culprit lies with our nutrition during these stressful times. Some of us tend to reach for comfort foods while others of us lose our appetites altogether - both of these extremes can result in depriving our bodies of vital nutrients necessary for scalp and hair health.
- Be on alert for a sudden development of itchiness, flakiness and/or oiliness. These could be immediate signs that your stressful lifestyle is taking a toll on your hair and scalp.
- If you realize that you are under stress or if feel that a stressful season might be headed your way, make an effort to improve your diet. If you're unable to eat healthier, incorporate vitamins that will fill in any nutritional gaps.
- Add a few minutes of yoga or meditation into your day. Yoga increases your ability to calm, focus and relax yourself, reducing stress. Likewise, meditation promotes deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind.
- Incorporate exercise into your routine. Exercise reduces stress hormones and stimulates production of endorphins, which together help foster relaxation
I hope that this blog helped to shed a little light on how stress affects our bodies, including our hair! How do you guys manage stress?