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A Doctor’s Tips To Avoid Hair Shedding From Holiday Stress 

The Experts

3 Min Read

By April Walloga2020-11-19

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Tess Marshall, N ND

The holiday season is a time to relax and connect with the ones we love, but for many of us, it can also be fraught with anxiety and stress. 

Indeed, holiday stress is difficult to deal with any year, but especially in 2020. On the heels of the election and ongoing pandemic, some of the stressors we’re facing include difficult decisions about travel, family drama, and financial stress, to name a few. With all of this on our minds, it’s easy to forget about our hair wellness. The heightened stress we feel this time of year can worsen current hair thinning brought on by pandemic stress or cause future hair thinning three to six months from now. 

Realistically, we can’t remove all of our stressors when it comes to things like family, finances, and the pandemic. But we can mitigate the effects they have on our hair (and skin!) by upping self-care and supplementing with stress adaptogens like medical-grade ashwagandha. Below, we talk to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD, about how to avoid hair shedding and skin issues during stressful times like the holidays. 

Why we experience hair shedding and acne when we’re stressed.

“Stress causes a chemical response in your body that affects the hair growth cycle and makes skin more sensitive and reactive,” explains Dr. Badreshia-Bansal. You see, when we experience ongoing or chronic stress, our body is constantly releasing the hormone cortisol, which can signal hair follicles to prematurely shift from the growth phase to the resting phase of the hair growth cycle. Over time, stress can also disrupt our hormones and increase nutrient deficiencies needed for hair growth and skin health. 

“Stress causes hair thinning, acne, breakouts, fever blisters, and flare-ups of existing skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea,” adds Dr. Badreshia-Bansal. If you’re noticing changes in your hair and skin during stressful times like the holidays, she recommends seeing a board-certified dermatologist and trying a supplement like Nutrafol, which improves hair growth, uses medical-grade ashwagandha to address stress as a root cause of hair thinning, and offers side benefits like better skin and sleep. 

How to take control of holiday stress and promote hair wellness. 

If you know you’re headed for a stressful period, whether it’s a pile of work due before holiday break or a tense post-election dinner table, padding your schedule with wellness and self-care is a good idea. “A little break can go a long way,” notes Dr. Badreshia-Bansal. “Stay hydrated and make time for things like yoga, meditation, or help from your support group — even a night out with your friends can help.” 

Another form of self-care is supporting your stress response with supplements. Consider the stress adaptogen ashwagandha your insurance policy in case you forget to meditate. A small herb grown in India, ashwagandha becomes mighty when standardized and bio-optimized to the highest quality as it is in Nutrafol. This potent form of ashwagandha has been clinically shown to lower elevated cortisol levels in chronically stressed adults and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. 

Dr. Sonia Badreshia-Bansal
Dr. Sonia Badreshia-Bansal is a cosmetic dermatologist who specializes in healthy aging for hair and skin.

Support your body with good nutrition and don’t overdo it on alcohol. 

Studies have shown that people lean on alcohol and food to deal with stress during the holidays. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying holiday treats and libations, it’s important to be mindful of how food and alcohol affect our physical and emotional well-being, especially when stress is depleting vital nutrients for our hair and skin. “It’s OK to set limits and boundaries for yourself,” says Dr, Badreshia-Bansal, who recommends staying hydrated, exercising, getting quality sleep, and loading up on nutritious fall veggies like pumpkin, squash, and Brussels sprouts in between those festive indulgences that we so enjoy. 

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