We see this all the time in our own lives and those of our friends — life throws its curve balls. You go through a trauma — medical issues, the death of a loved one, a bad break up, even giving birth — and that stress will come out in the hair. Stress is a major factor in our body and it really does affect our hair.
“When the body is stressed, it can cause the hair follicles to go into a dormant state. Stress can come in many forms from emotional situations, to having surgery, even something like a new job. If this stress is persistent or severe, it can cause hair follicles to prematurely enter the telogen or dormant phase. The effect of this can take a few months to be seen, when hair shaft finally falls out,” says Dr. AJ Cummings, Medical Director of DaVinci Medical.
“There are three major stages of how stress affects our bodies. Number one and most common is when stress sends a number of hair follicles into a resting phase, stopping hair from growing. Months later, the hair that’s been attached to those follicles may start to fall out rapidly, more than usual,” says Jasmine Anna Galazka, Stylist and Hair Extension Expert at Oscar Blandi Salon in New York City.
Number two would be when the the immune system turns on the hair follicle and causes hair to fall out in chunks. This one is called alopecia.
“The third and final stage would be when someone literally imposes hair loss onto themselves. This condition is very different from the two mentioned above, simply because its a compulsive way of pulling on your own hair, eyebrows and lashes. It is ones way of dealing with stress, boredom, anxiety etc,” says Galazka.
“Telogen effluvium is a phenomenon that occurs after many life changing events that can cause one to experience some type of stress — pregnancy, major surgery, drastic weight loss, or extreme stress — in which you shed large amounts of hair every day, usually when shampooing, styling, or brushing,” says Marta Wohrle from Truth In Aging.
During telogen effluvium, hair shifts faster than normal from its growing phase into the “resting” phase before moving quickly into the shedding (or telogen) phase. When women experience telogen effluvium, they typically notice hair loss six weeks to three months after a stressful event. “At its peak, you may lose handfuls of hair. To help with shedding, one should try a hair growth serum. The most effective active ingredient that I have found for hair growth is copper peptides,” says Wohrle.
We all know about tantric sex…but doesn’t our hair deserve some release and pleasure as well?
“No one breathes anymore. Deep breaths and meditation have the ability to bring you to a state of ‘bliss,’ and ‘Hairapy’ is what I give to people because hair has amazing potential for transforming and revitalizing one’s life,” explains Nelson Bray, a south Florida hairstylist and owner of Indigo Bliss Hairapy, where he specializes in Tantric Hair. “Indigo came about when I discovered I am an Indigo Child, more clearly defined as someone who feels extreme empathy toward others.”
Tantric Hair was started by Bray when he realized he saw an alarming increase in the number of health issues, stress issues and general anxiety about life from his clients. Using breath work, grounding and mindfulness techniques, Bray created Tantric Hair and works to soothe his clients into a guided meditation that happens in conjunction with a full service haircut. This experience can be purely relaxing or used for spiritual or energy cleansing to remove negative or dark energy that is trapped inside the body. This can relieve a variety of physical ailments like headaches, muscle tension, heart palpitations and so on, brought on by stress, anxiety, depression and more.
Bray concluded: “A hairstylist is often placed in the highest regard, trusted with a client’s most precious information and secrets. This bond creates a strong connection, allowing an ease that assists in relaxation and energy flow. My focus is not only on creating a magnificent work of art with my client’s hair, but also to consciously focus on healing light to enter into me and flow from my hands into my client’s body, assisting them to cleanse, heal, or detoxify their spirit, whatever their custom needs may be.”
Now that you’ve learned how stress affects your hair (and what to do about it), check out these hair mistakes that make you look older!