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Stress and Hair Loss: Unpacking the Science

Wednesday 14th April 21

hair loss ,stress
5+ min read

How are stress and hair loss linked?

Did you know that there is a strong correlation between stress and hair loss?

Like the current trend for being busy, being stressed has become something of a badge of honour for many of us, especially as a response to the question: “How are you?” If we’re not stressed we’re somehow seen as not living a full and productive existence, such is the pressure of modern existence (made worse by everyone projecting an image of their apparently successful, glamorous lives on social media). 

While small amounts of stress can actually be a good thing (many of us relish a challenge and thrive on the adrenaline rush!), in large doses it can start to take its toll. It affects our moods, our sleep, our relationships, productivity and – in the case of chronic stress – our mental health. And when it comes to scalp discomfort and hair loss, stress is a huge factor, as MONPURE resident dermatologist, Dr Sue Ann Chan explains.

Stress and Itchy Scalp Conditions

“Stress whether acute or chronic doesn’t just affect our mental health; our skin is perhaps one of the main organs acutely affected by it. Where the scalp is concerned, stress can cause our underlying skin conditions to become worse or even trigger a severe flare up. These include inflammatory skin conditions such as atopic eczema, seborrhoeic dermatitis (which leads to dandruff), psoriasis, scalp lupus and also alopecia.”

Stress and Hair Loss: The Role of Cortisol

In fact, she explains there is a direct link between our body’s response to stress when it comes to hair growth. “The stress hormone called cortisol regulates the normal functioning of our hair follicles. When cortisol is present at high concentrations, it causes cells in the hair follicles to undergo apoptosis (i.e. die) prematurely by up to 40%, resulting in hair loss.”

Hence a little bit of self-care – and scalpcare – can go a long way when it comes to managing stress and warding off issues like hair loss. We suggest setting aside at least one night a week to turn your regular hair washing routine into a relaxing ritual – and our Rewind and Restore Regime was created specifically with this in mind…


Hair strengthening conditioner, hair density serum and scalp mask on a tray in front of mirror and flowers


If stress is giving you an itchy, easily irritated scalp, then this simple regime should help calm things down and protect against future flare-ups.

As well as soothe the scalp-skin, it will turn your bathroom into a mini spa, with uplifting scents of peppermint, lemongrass and sweet orange essential oils, the perfect way to get your mind into the right focus, especially on a gloomy grey Sunday evening!

Treating a stressed-out scalp

First, apply our Nourish & Stimulate Scalp Mask through your dry, clean scalp and hair. You can even combine it with a relaxing scalp massage, and a quick meditation, which you can read more about here

Use the mask’s lightweight texture to glide the fingertips in circular motions around the nape, the points on the back of the ears, the temples, the forehead and the crown of the head. Being aware of any tension and holding gentle pressure there will help you to relax more deeply. This gentle massage enables better sleep, a more alert mind when done during the day and a deep sense of wellbeing. 

Leave it on for 15 minutes, so the aloe vera can go to work calming any inflammation while hydrating meadow-foam seed oil replenishes lost moisture and lactic acid gently exfoliates. (In a recent customer trial, 89% of users agreed it had a positive effect on the health and condition of their scalp, while a further 81-81% claimed that their scalp felt soothed and that irritation was reduced.)

Rinse thoroughly and apply our Strengthening Essence-Conditioner, which delivers another dose of aloe vera (your scalp can’t get enough of this amazing anti-inflammatory ingredient) together with conditioning argan oil, while vitamin E works to protect the skin barrier and prevent the dryness that leads to itching. (85% of people who trialled the conditioner agreed that their scalp instantly felt more comfortable, while 84% agreed that the product did not weigh their hair down.)

After a few minutes, rinse out (in cold water if you can bear it, for an extra boost of shine) and apply Hydrate & Soothe Scalp Serum using the dropper to dispense the product through your scalp. Among its star ingredients is witch hazel to calm any redness, while glycerine provides a protective layer of moisture to minimise further flare-ups. (In recent trials, 85% of users agreed that scalp irritation was reduced after prolonged after using this serum, and that it had positive effect on the health and condition of their scalp.)  

Our top tip? Put a couple of drops of Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum on your hands and breathe in slowly, inhaling the scents of sweet orange, grapefruit and sandalwood fragrance oil before massaging through your scalp – a perfect way to restore equilibrium to both scalp and spirit.

Pollution levels can wreak all manner of stress on your scalp and hair.  Find out how to combat them here



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