May 21, 2020 at 07:25PM
Here’s the thing about stress: It can manifest in a multitude of ways, from digestive issues to tension headaches to shortness of breath. And while the beauty front has its fair share of signs (hello, stress acne!), our hair seems to take the heaviest hit. In addition to your roots feeling greasier of late, you might be experiencing some hair shedding. You’re not alone.
And since stress-induced hair loss takes a few weeks or even months to manifest, you’re likely starting to notice it, oh, right about now.
Yes, stress can cause hair loss.
Stress-induced hair loss is quite common, so much so, it has its own diagnosis: a medical condition known as telogen effluvium. The stress pushes the follicles into a dormant phase (known as the telogen phase), which can cause those hairs to fall out.
It happens because our hair is supersensitive to any kind of imbalance in our bodies, due to how fast those strands reproduce. So when our hormone regulators—specifically, our sympathetic nervous system and adrenal glands—are imbalanced (like, say, due to a global pandemic), our hair is one of the first things to take a hit. “Both of these hormone [regulators], if out of balance due to high stress, will create hair thinning and loss,” certified trichologist Penny James reminds us about hair loss in women.
OK, the scientific jargon may sound serious, but don’t sweat—it’s totally normal, and it’s most likely temporary. “Once the stressors are managed, the hair will subsequently respond by not shedding further and eventually regrow,” assures board-certified dermatologist Christine M. Shaver, M.D., at Bernstein Medical Center for Hair Restoration in New York City. The process may take one to three months, so be patient (stressing will only make it worse!). In fact, Shaver says, it can take one to two years after the stressor for you to completely grow back your full mane.
The good news? There’s an easy way to enhance the process.
By ensuring you get your daily fill of good-for-you nutrients, you can support the regrowth process (and keep your locks strong and shiny while it happens). A supplement can help promote all the building blocks of healthy hair.*
Take mbg’s grass-fed collagen+, for instance: The collagen provides your scalp with amino acids, which are necessary for building keratin (aka, what your strands are made of). It also contains biotin, that superstar B vitamin also involved in the production of keratin. Low levels of biotin have been previously linked to hair loss, and one double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that taking both biotin and collagen supplements supported increased hair growth in women.*
The collagen powder also contains vitamin E, known for its antioxidant properties and managing oxidative stress.* As it turns out, our scalps can face oxidative stress, too (our scalp is still our skin, after all)—so it only makes sense that oxidative stress is linked to hair loss. Vitamin E supplements have been shown to manage that oxidative stress and enhance hair growth in both males and females. Bonus: It can slow down the effects of photodamage, while you’re at it.*
While stress-induced hair loss sounds scary, you do have the ability to manage it. As Shaver advises, the best thing you can do is optimize your health, inside and out: “Be patient, and try to promote and practice a healthy lifestyle.” Which can be as easy as stirring grass-fed collagen+ into your coffee.*