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Is your scalp stressed? Tackle it with these tips before it messes with your hair

If you always find yourself scratching your head, then it might be because of a stressed scalp. These hair care tips will help you do away with this problem.
bad hair day
Having a stressed scalp is a real thing. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Nikita Bhardwaj Updated: 30 Oct 2023, 15:49 pm IST
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If your hair is falling like crazy, and an itchy scalp is not leaving you alone, then it’s a clear indication that you have a stressed scalp. Stress does not just bring you down emotionally, but it can cause other issues too. Sadly, your tresses bear the maximum brunt. 

Stress commonly triggers and worsens flaking and itching of the scalp, especially if you are already prone to dandruff. This is because stress increases the production of certain hormones and releases pro-inflammatory chemicals that can compromise the scalp’s barrier function. 

That means it’s easier for moisture to escape, potentially leaving your hair and scalp drier. This makes it easy for irritants to get in, and cause stinging, tingling and itching, and this in turn, may disrupt the microflora of the scalp. 

Flaking of the scalp can cause hair loss, and scratching may result in further irritation and even abrade the surface of the scalp. Stress also increases the cortisol levels in our bodies, and cortisol levels have a direct correlation with the hair follicle. This causes stressors to trigger scalp issues that can lead to the growth of different fungi and bacteria or a flaky, itchy scalp. 

According to Dr Ajay Rana, well-known dermatologist and aesthetic physician, if somebody has a genetic predisposition to follicle sensitivity, this can eventually cause the hair to start thinning. An increase in stress can make your scalp produce more oil. 

A stressed scalp can give you these six problems:
1. Eczema

Eczema is a common effect of stress that shows up on the scalp. It usually looks like a red, itchy, scaly rash. These scalp conditions are hereditary, but stress commonly triggers or exacerbates symptoms. Because stress slows down skin healing, disrupts skin’s barrier function and creates an inflammation-friendly environment, the itching and dryness that accompanies eczema can become worse.

2. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder, and is likely to flare up with increased stress. That’s because stress has the ability to upset the body’s hormonal balance and normal immune response. It shows patches of hardened plaque with fine or thick silvery-white scales that can itch, bleed or flake. 

stressed scalp
Nourish your hair with a scalp massage, but choose the oil carefully. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
3. Sores, blisters, or bumps

Painful sores, blisters, or bumps that develop on the scalp can be caused by the infection of the hair shafts or the skin. Viral infections, such as chickenpox and shingles, acne, cyst, such as an epidermal cyst are also very common.

4. Contact dermatitis

This condition appears when the scalp turns red, itches, and flakes after you wash it. This allergic reaction happens when you use certain shampoos, soaps, or other products in the hair. 

5. Skin cancer

Skin cancer can occur on the scalp, particularly in areas that are not well-covered by hair. It can destroy skin cells and tissues, and in some cases can be spread to other parts of the body. Skin cancer may appear as a growth or mole, a change in a growth or mole, a sore that does not heal, or irritation of the skin. 

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6. Dry and Itchy Scalp

Stress increases the production of certain hormones and releases pro-inflammatory chemicals that can compromise the scalp’s barrier function. That means it’s easier for moisture to escape, potentially leaving the hair and scalp drier, and for irritants to get in and cause stinging, tingling and itching. 

stressed scalp
A scalp massage will relax you like no other. But does it work for hair growth? Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Thankfully, you can totally deal with a stressed scalp with these tips
  • Wash your hair less frequently in order to allow hair’s natural oils to build up and moisturize the scalp. When you shampoo, use gentle products, such as baby formulas and those specifically formulated for people with sensitive skin. 
  • Use fragrance-free and hypoallergenic products, and avoid those with sodium lauryl sulfate, a harsh detergent that many find irritating. 
  • Always use a conditioner, which will help to replenish and hydrate the scalp. You can also try a deep conditioning or hot oil treatment to soothe the scalp.
  • Use OTC or anti-inflammatory or antihistamine ointments recommended by a dermatologist to soothe symptoms of eczema, until your stress levels have come down.
  • You can treat mild cases of psoriasis with medicated shampoos and other products containing salicylic acid, which help to slough off excess cells that build up and cause scaling. 
  • Avoid scratching or picking at your scalp, and be gentle when shampooing, towel drying and brushing or combing the hair. 

So for the love of your mane, do take care of your stress levels!

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About the Author

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content. ...Read More

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