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What Your Hair Wants You to Know About Stress

Dan Hodgdon

CEO and Founder, Vegamour

Long-term, chronic stress wreaks havoc on health, happiness, and hair.

What’s most insidious about stress is that we get used to it. We normalize it. We tell ourselves everything’s fine. Then something happens that makes you pause. You spot a big hunk of your hair in the shower drain, and another handful of hair in your comb. Your hair is telling you the truth. It’s really not okay.

Stress is not only linked to early hair shedding but also to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Recent studies have shown that chronic stress can also promote cancer development. 

According to the latest American Psychological Association’s latest Stress in America poll, two out of three adults in America have experienced increased stress over the pandemic (no surprise there). According to the UK’s Independent, Los Angeles is reported to be the “most stressful city in the United States.” And last year, Forbes gave LA the dubious honor of “the most burned-out city in the US.”

So, as Angelinos, where and how to begin the recovery? 

Introduce a mindfulness meditation practice into your daily routine. Numerous studies, including a 2015 study at Stanford University led by Dr. Yi-Yuan Tang published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, have shown that meditating for as little as 10-20 minutes per day can drastically reduce stress and anxiety, thereby lowering cortisol levels that can lead to inflammation and premature hair shedding.

The Japanese practice of “hinrin yoku,” or forest bathing, is another popular stress reducer and immunity booster.  Slowly walk among old-growth trees and deeply breathe in the aromas of eucalyptus, oak, pine and cypress. Research has shown that just twenty minutes of exposure to these forest smells or phytoncides (essential oils emitted by trees and other plants) greatly reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and increases the body’s immune system. 

Make time for self-care. The body speaks. When we finally stop to truly listen, the healing journey begins.

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