When Stress Affects Your Hair

Long-term stress is known to damage the health of the hair. A number of our patients have lost their hair or suffered detrimental effects to the condition of their hair solely as a result of chronic stress.

When facing stressful situations, anxious messages start circulating from the brain to the adrenal glands, causing a rush of cortisol, adrenaline and adrenal androgens. Over time, this hormonal cocktail triggers hair loss or generates various hair disorders such as an excess of sebum, which leads to dandruff, itching, scalp eczema or hair whitening. Stress also attacks keratin, the protein constituent of our hair, altering its composition and therefore threatening its very structure.

Different levels of stress – be it everyday stress, professional burnout, serious emotional shock or chronic stress – will trigger varying degrees of hair disorders, ranging from temporary, localized hair loss to massive loss.

In order to limit the damaging effects of stress, it’s a good idea to exercise regularly to release any stress, as well as speaking to someone about the emotional impacts. Increasing your intake of vitamin B (especially B1 for the nervous system and B3 for scalp micro-circulation) and vitamin C, as well as magnesium, iron and zinc, is also recommended. Protein is another important dietary factor in rebuilding hair keratin. It’s also beneficial and soothing to massage your scalp once a week using a nourishing oil such as jojoba or olive oil, which stimulates the hair’s vital functions and helps restore the disrupted renewal cycle.