Think about it. When was the last time you did not feel stressed out? Maybe pre-pandemic? Maybe your high school days? Maybe it was just yesterday when your baby learned a new word and you actually caught it on camera! Let’s face it, we’re all stressed. No matter the varying levels, everyone feels some type of stress every single day, sometimes on multiple occasions in a 24 hour stretch. The source could be your job, your family, your relationships or even the fact that you can’t find the right shade of mauve heels to match that dress you bought on impulse last week. There are so many types of stress as well.
There is such a concept as good stress. Stress serves as a warning signal to our body. In small doses, stress can give bursts of energy, provide your senses with premium focus and can even help boost your memory. Moderate stress can even help your immune system! This amount of stress can help your heart work stronger and can send protections to your body to fight infections. Here is a guide to avoid hair loss
Stress is an everyday part of life but how we deal with it is what really matters. How we deal will determine whether this stress will be constructive or destructive. It is vital that we learn as individuals how to manage our stress levels but also to find healthy, productive ways to cope when they get out of hand. While we want our community to embrace their natural tresses, we want to make sure you take care of #1. Which is the body that provides all the nutrients your hair needs.
What is stress?
The most accurate way to define stress is “a state of mental, physical or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances” . In simpler terms, stress is the reaction your body has to any force that requires change or adjustment. When you are stressed, your body goes into defense mode to protect you! This is typically called the “fight or flight” response. “Fight or Flight” forces your body to increase your hormones to deal with the potential threat. The main hormones responsible for this reaction is adrenaline (fight) and cortisol (flight). Most of the time, the surge of these two hormones will increase the level of testosterone in the body. Being that testosterone is responsible for the feelings of competition and domination. This can be an explanation for why you may feel small or inferior when you do feel stressed.
As we all know, stress is not exclusive to outside forces. Our bodies feel stress all the time, but the body can be tricky! What you may think is a common occurrence, may be a sign that you are stressed! For example, let’s think about the common cold. This is a temporary illness that all of us have experienced at least once in our lives. Did you know the common cold is in your body for at least 2-3 days before you show symptoms? You may have felt tired and thought an extra hour of sleep will help out. Little do you know, your body is reacting to the stress that the common cold has now put on your body and you just wanted to nap. Hair loss due to stress usually shows up months after your stressful situation has begun and/ or ended.
Your stress levels can show in a number of different ways. One of the many ways stress shows its ugly side is in your hair. We’re going to explore how we can combat stress and how NaturAll can serve as an aid in helping you recover from any hair loss caused by stress.
Now what do these hormone imbalances and reactions have to do with your hair? That’s a great question! Everything of course! For now, let’s explore the most common ways your stress shows up in your hair.
Hair Conditions Caused By Stress
One of the most common hair loss conditions that is commonly attributed to stress is Telogen Effluvium. In telogen effluvium (TEL-o-jun uh-FLOO-vee-um), significant stress pushes large numbers of hair follicles into a resting phase (telogen). During the hair cycle, the resting phase only lasts for about 3 months. About 10-15 percent of your hair is in the telogen phase at any given moment. Telogen effluvium increases the time of the resting phase and also increases the amount of hair follicles in said phase.
While these hair follicles are resting, the rest of the head begins the anagen phase, which is the growth phase. While other hair follicles begin the anagen phase, the follicles reaching the end of their three month telogen phase begin shedding, which is called the exogen phase.
This is where your stress will begin to show its face. When the increased number of resting follicles finally begin to transition to the exogen phase, you will notice the more than normal shedding in one spot or in some cases many areas of the head.
Another common reason stress can cause hair loss is Trichotillomania. This is a condition that is a reaction to stress. Trichotillomania is defined as “A disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out body hair”. While this disorder can occur absent-mindly without significant stress at the present moment, the growing tension will not subside until the person pulls hair from the body.
Both of these conditions are easily manageable and usually do not cause irreversible damage.
There are some reasons behind hair loss that are not classified as a disorder. While you are experiencing a stressful moment, your scalp begins to create more oil which does the opposite of what you think! This can cause flaking and an itchy scalp which usually results in dandruff. Lastly, stress can diminish your body’s ability to absorb proper nutrients from the food that is digested. Without these nutrients, your hair will not have the optimum environment to flourish.
Excessive stress can also lead to premature greying. If you are already predisposed to grey hair, stress may trigger the body to reduce the production of melanin. Melanin is the hormone that colors your hair. High levels of excess stress will ultimately aid in greying hair, though it is not a direct cause. While grey hair is not the same as hair loss, greying hair does have a tendency to dry out. This can cause shedding or thinning of the hair.
DON’T STRESS, TAKE A REST
While all of this may sound stressful itself, you have it all under control! The best way to keep hair loss due to stress at bay is to, basically, not stress! Easier said than done, as we all know. There are so many ways you can relieve stress but the most common is to simply take care of yourself.
Self-care is the number one way to reduce stress because it gives you a moment to stop and listen to yourself. The main reason for stress is we do not take the time to stop and listen to our bodies and what they are telling us. A lot of times, stress will show up and we will not take the time to see it. Here are a couple suggestions to help you to stop and take a moment to smell the roses (hypothetical or literal).
- Spa Day: While the pandemic may leave your day spa options scarce, there is nothing better than taking matters into your own hands! Grab your favorite bubble bath or bath bomb, a candle (preferably lavender or chamomile) and a book. Put on a face mask and just relax your body in a nice warm bath. While this relaxes your mind, your muscles and joints can breathe too. This would also be the best time to deep condition your hair with our Original Lavender Ice Cream Treatment Deep Conditioner. While you relax your body, your hair will be receiving the nutrients and nourishment it will need not recover from your stressful day. Plus, lavender is proven to relieve stress and calm the mind
- Make Over: Give yourself a new look! Sometimes stress can cause us to forget about our appearance. While your looks are not the most important aspect of life, it is always nice to feel good when we look in the mirror. Take some time to try a new nail color, apply your eyeshadow differently or even something as simple as getting dressed up to go nowhere! A new hairstyle could elevate your mood and our AvoKiwi Wash & Go 6-Step Recipe can provide you with the perfect foundation to create any hairstyle your brain can think of.
- Exercise: We all know what they say about exercise and stress. All of it is absolutely true! Exercise releases endorphins which elevates our moods. The real question is; how does your daily stress relieving run help your hair? While you exercise, your blood flow and circulation are increased all over your body, including on your scalp! This aids in promoting healthy hair growth. To help this process further, you can use our Original Jamaican Black Castor Oil Growth Serum with Lavender daily as a scalp massage. This will provide the scalp and roots with even more nutrients to nourish your hair (and don’t forget what we mentioned about lavender 😉)
- Write About It: Lots of the time the things we stress over or feel anxiety about live rent free in our head with no consequence. The best thing we can do is release these negative thoughts or feelings so they do not continue to jeopardize our well-being. Journaling can help you visualize your thoughts. Making them more tangible can help you find solutions or just come to terms with things you can not control.
BREATHE, YOU’LL BE OK
Listen, at the end of the day, we are all going to stress. We are humans who live in an ever changing world that we will always cause for us to readjust. While we cannot hit a homerun with every curveball life throws at us, we can choose which bat we use every time. We can choose how to approach anything life throws at us. If there are times where we’re knocked down, we get right back up and try again. That’s the resilience you must have with natural hair right? Let’s apply it to life!