Stress - Why Does This Affect Our Hair and Scalp?

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I guess every one of us will suffer from stress at some point in our lives. But the big question is: Why should Stress affect your Hair and Scalp?

In a nutshell, stress promotes subum flow, which can make dandruff worse, can increase hairloss, and it affects everybody all the time. Just living in a society that demands so much of us, and asks us to conform to a way of life that is often unhealthy, is stressful.

This is not a new phenomenon; our ancestors were under stress too. They had to cope with the shortage of resources, hunger, hostility, even the odd attach from a sabre tooth tiger! In our development as human beings we have evolved many ways of dealing with problems, but if stress is continuous or accumulative it can lead to a situation in which our physical and emotional health is endangered, and which in turn can lead to hair and scalp disorders.

Remember, your hair is an important barometer of what is going on in your body, and you must take notice of it.


What exactly is Stress?
A helpful definition of stress is ‘The perceived imbalance between demands made on an individual and that person’s ability to cope with those demands’. Or, in other words, the difference (whether true or false) between the way you think you can deal with your problems, and the way in which you actually can deal with them.

What causes Stress?
It’s not just the stress itself — work, money troubles, violence, oppression, accidents, illness — but the threat and the perceived threat of those problems that can put us under pressure and strain. How we think and feel about a given situation is very important. For instance, in our society the threat of violence to women causes just as much anxiety and stress to the individual’s biological system as the violence itself would. Similarly if you feel you can’t cope with a particular situation, you will experience stress anyway.

So, whether you can cope in reality or not, your physical and emotional health will suffer, and this will in turn affect the condition of your hair and scalp.

Many kinds of drugs can affect the condition of our hair and scalp, and tranquilizers are no exception. These days, a lot of people take them for their ‘nerves’, but while they are a short-term help, they can be highly addictive and tend to dull true emotions. Often there are unpleasant side effects such as a dry mouth and fatigue. As some of these side effects are similar to stress responses, the body may confuse them with stress itself, and begin the panic cycle all over again.

Another negative aspect of tranquilizers is that they can divorce you from your emotions and make you feel as if you’re in a daze, unable to decide what you want out of life and what you would like to change — they can also sap you of the energy to make those changes. I would only recommend their use to tide you over a short-term crisis and would encourage you to withdraw from them with the help of your doctor. Always check with your doctor before changing your medication because if it is badly handled, withdrawal can be dangerous and unpleasant.

Coping With Stress

Simple Stress Proofing
Stress management looks at your whole life-style and your way of doing things. For instance your attitude to competition, success, failure, your self-image, how you think you ought to behave, and how you treat yourself.

  • Find a place at home where you can go to be quiet, and practice relaxation skills.
  • Take short breaks during the day.
  • Get into a habit of checking your muscle tension levels whenever you remember.
  • Slow down. By concentrating on one thing at a time you will feel less tired and will have more energy to spare in the long run.

Your body, and your hair and scalp will benefit from a simpler, less stressful life!

Don’t forget your Diet
Vitamin supplements and exercise; the basic guidelines are to eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. Make sure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need and try to avoid junk food, sugar and fat, as much as possible.

However, also remember that by being too strict and denying yourself, you can sometimes induce stress. So if you must eat something that’s a bit naughty, make sure you enjoy it — guilt hurts the colon!

Looking for more research into the causes – including the effects of stress – of the hair and scalp problems people experience today, click here.