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Is Stress Damaging Your Hair?
Is Stress Damaging Your Hair?

Can stress cause hair loss? Or does stress cause grey hair? It's important to know the facts.


These last few months, COVID-19 and the uncertainty surrounding it have caused many people a lot of excess stress and worry.

We know that stress like this can affect our health - both physically and mentally. That’s why prioritising your self-care regime during this time is really important. However, another factor to consider right now is the effect stress and worry can negatively have on your hair, too.

An over-production of our stress hormone can lead to a myriad of unwanted hair woes, from thinning, breakage and potentially extreme hair loss. When married with other stress-induced factors like disrupted sleep and sugar cravings, your hair is at an increased risk or lacking in quality and vitality.

Here at Cel, we've rounded up 5 ways in which stress and hair loss, or stress and lacklustre hair, can intertwine, and some simple methods to protect it during this tempestuous time.

Oxygen Deprivation

When we feel stressed, our bodies perform a number of fight or flight reactions, including the narrowing of blood vessels. As our vessels constrict, less oxygen, minerals, and nutrients are fed to the hair follicles, which are all needed for healthy hair growth.

During stressful times, our body also focuses most of its energy on feeding our vital organs with oxygen like our heart, lungs, and brain, so our poor scalp doesn't get to see much of the oxygen or vitamins in our blood.

Try stimulating the scalp with a massage when shampooing, as this will help encourage blood flow toward the follicles (it’s also very relaxing)!

Sleepless Nights

We already know that sleep deprivation has a negative impact on our overall health, but it can also affect your hair quite drastically, too. High stress can lead to restless nights, where the body is unable to enter the Deep Sleep stage of the sleep cycle. This is crucial for the health of our hair, as it's the stage in which our growth and repair take place. Without it, we're more likely to wake up with limp, lifeless locks and it will struggle to grow back where there's hair loss, too.

Give some breathing exercises or meditation a try as this will help calm your mind down and ease you into a better state for slumber. Meditation has a host of benefits including improving our immunity, helping reduce the signs of ageing and boosting our mood.

stressed man

Lowered Immunity

When we’re experiencing stress, we’re more susceptible to contracting an illness. This is because stress can impair our immune system and prevent us from fighting against germs like we normally would. When we are sick, the nutrients that would usually go to our hair end up used in other areas of the body to fight the illness, resulting in locks that lack the right nourishment.

Maintain a good diet whilst in lockdown, to ensure your body’s getting all the right nutrients. It may also be worth investing in a multivitamin supplement to make sure your body can access the right fuel for fighting unwanted viruses whilst you’re feeling stressed.

Read up on our 5 suggested ways you can boost your immune system during this period, here.

Dry, Itchy Scalp

A common symptom of stress is the unconscious pulling and scratching of the hair and scalp especially in those suffering from anxiety, too. Being overly-tactile with your hair can lead to permanent follicle damage, and in some extreme cases, premature hair loss. Stress can also trigger dandruff and dryness due to the imbalance of hormones it creates in the body.

Give Cel’s Hair Thickening Mask a go. It contains glycerin which is a powerful, non-toxic sugar compound that works as a moisture sponge to keep our scalp and hair hydrated, whilst preventing skin irritation and promoting hair growth.

Run yourself a bath, and after shampooing apply a generous amount of hair mask to the hair from root to tip, paying particular attention to the ends. Leave for a few minutes before washing out. Not only will it help soothe the scalp, but it also provides a little moment of self-care and relaxation too!

girl by window

Neglected Nutrition

Our instinct when we are stressed is to reach for sugar-laden, high-energy snacks, or sometimes to even skip meals, but these poor nutrition choices will actually have a detrimental effect on your hair growth, hair condition, and scalp health.

Diet is incredibly important to the hair growth cycle, so be mindful of what you eat, even in this stressful situation, so your body can obtain all the vitamins and minerals it needs to nourish and nurture your tresses.

Final Thoughts

As we learn more about the behaviour of the COVID-19 virus, information is constantly being updated around how to support the fight against it via your personal hygiene routine. Stay up to date with coronavirus advice on the NHS website.


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