Holistic Approaches to Reducing Stress-Related Hair Loss

Stress is a powerful thing that can creep up into many areas of our lives.  We all go through it.  But stress has some surprisingly serious consequences. These include heart attacks, anxiety, acne, insomnia, irregular menstruation, and notably, hair loss!  Trust me, after a year of researching stress in college, I can say the list goes on and on. These symptoms are consequences of the types of stress that cause you to loose sleep and raise the level of your stress hormones, namely cortisol.  This stress disrupts your body's routine physiological functions, which generally has devastating effects.

Hair loss can be one way the body responds to significant stress...unfortunately.There are generally two types of stress-related hair loss and they are the reversible telegoen effluvium, and the more severe alopecia areata. In these conditions, the hair sheds from the actual root, as opposed to the bottom of the hair strand (which is a sign of breakage, not shedding). Though these conditions differ greatly, they both arise in response to abnormally high levels of cortisol in the body.

Luckily, there is always a way out! Here, I'd like to provide you with a few simple ways to deal with stress and hair loss! These treatments come from research and personal experience.

1. Eliminate the Stressor
This of course is easier said than done, but if we are dealing with problems holistically, we always have to look at the cause, instead of the symptom.  If you can eliminate or at least reduce the stressor, you will undoubtedly reduce the stress!  Some techniques include: therapy, journaling, mediation, exercise and prayer just to name a few!
2. Natural Nutritional Supplements
In the case that your stress is due more to a physiological trigger such as a change in diet, pregnancy, illness, or nutritional deficiencies, a natural supplement may be the way to go!  This is not about taking a "magic pill" to cure your troubles.  This is about replenishing essential nutrients and vitamins that could help combat the physiological responses to stress. Some good ones are Vitamin E, Vitamin B 12,  Iron, Zinc, Ginseng, Lemon Balm, Aloe Vera and Multi-Vitamins-just to name a few. But, these are only supplements, so they should actually supplement a healthy diet.
3. Alternative Health Therapies
I'm a big fan of massage therapy and aroma therapy. These two therapies are best for relaxation! You'd be surprised at how effective a simple massage can be. Likewise, aromatherapy with some essential oils, such as lavender oil can help you become calm.
4. Use Natural Hair Products
Now, in terms of dealing with the actual hair loss, it's important to use products that will facilitate hair growth. I'm all about using natural hair products because they provide your hair with nutrients through different herbs, oils, and natural hair conditioners, which your hair needs and loves.  Stop using chemicals that may be causing you scalp problems, irritating your hair follicles, and drying out your hair. Look for products rich with botanicals that can give your hair the nutrients it deserves! Try shampoos without sulfates, scalp massages with essential oils, and deeply moisturizing conditioners to start.
5. Do Weekly Hair Treatments
This is my favorite part of dealing with hair loss. Deep moisture and protein treatments are essential for nursing your hair back to health.  Try these treatments before or after shampooing!
This is an excellent herbal/protein conditioner for hair. The nutrients will fortify the hair that you have and stimulate new growth in the hair follicle.
-Essential Oil Blend
Blend a few drops of lavender oil, tea tree oil, and rosemary oil, with a cup of olive oil.
-Castor Oil Treatment
Castor oil is a fantastic oil for hair and is one of my healthy hair secrets! It's unique in that it cleanses, moisturizes, and fortifies the hair all at once. It also makes an excellent scalp massage oil. Just make sure you rinse it out since it is a little heavy.
-Avocado + Coconut Oil Treatment
This duo is a power house.  Avocado is full of healthy fats, which you need for healthy hair growth.  Coconut oil is filled with Vitamin E and protein! Put them together, and BAM, you have an awesome healthy hair conditioner.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the things you can do to deal with stress and hair loss, but it certainly is a start! If your hair loss is significant or if you've tried some of the therapies suggested above with little success, it may be time to have your health-care provider evaluate your condition.  But, there's always a way out!

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*Medical Disclaimer: Though Naïka of Naïka in Balance is in pursuit of a medical degree, she is NOT a licensed health practitioner. 
Naïka believes individuals have the power to make informed health decisions on their own. If you feel that it is necessary to consult your healthcare provider before using any of the remedies mentioned, please do so. Knowledge is power and your health is your wealth.