Modern living has brought with it lots of new pressures, and life can feel very fast-paced at times. Work commitments and financial responsibilities can sometimes be overwhelming - with the emergence of the pandemic intensifying the challenges of daily life. A change in your stress levels could result in a change in your scalp health. We look at the link between stress and dandruff below, as well as sharing practical tips for keeping calm.
The Link Between Stress & Dandruff
Dandruff is a common condition affecting around 50% of the population. The primary cause is a fungus called malassezia that occurs on our scalps naturally. Stress cannot introduce dandruff, but research suggests that it can aggravate symptoms or cause flare-ups in some people. This is because high levels of stress can compromise the immune system, which creates an environment that malassezia can thrive in. In addition to this, the stress hormone, cortisol, has been tied to an increase in oil production. Malassezia feeds off our natural oils, so an increase in oil can also support its growth.
Tips For Stress Management
Many factors can contribute to our stress levels, and it’s not always possible to eradicate them from our lives completely. However there are techniques that can be used to better manage stress, which can help to support both physical and emotional wellbeing:
Experts believe that physical activity can aid with lowering overall stress levels, improving mood and reducing feelings of tension. Exercise can divert our attention away from thoughts and worries, requiring us to focus on the movements of our bodies instead. In addition to this, the physiological process can lead to a sense of wellbeing, with increased blood flow and a release of endorphins in the brain.
You may not be an avid sports fan, but simply finding an activity that you enjoy, which gets you moving, can help with managing feelings of stress. Playing football with a friend in the park, going for regular walks, or stretching from the comfort of your home are all steps you can take to help your mindset.
Originating in Asia, the art of meditation made its way to the West when global travel and communication increased. But how can it help with stress? It’s possible to reach deep states of relaxation through meditation. The practice encourages you to eliminate the busy thoughts in your mind - some of which may be triggering stress. It’s thought that over time this process may result in enhanced physical and emotional wellbeing.
Where to start with meditation? Due to its rise in popularity in recent years, there are lots of resources for beginner's mediation. You could try an app, like Headspace and Calm, or even find a free video on YouTube to get started.
With new work routines and lifestyle restrictions, you might have noticed a change in your sleep pattern. Does working from home mean you can snooze your alarm in the morning? Does waking up later give you more energy to stay up late watching your favourite TV series? These changes could be affecting your sleep quality, which in turn can influence stress levels.
Keeping a regular sleep schedule can help to calm and restore the body, with added benefits including improved concentration and decision-making. In general, when the body is well-rested, it’s able to cope with stress better.
How can you get your sleep pattern back on track? Reducing blue light exposure in the evening can help, as can increasing exposure to natural light in the morning. Avoiding caffeinated drinks late in the day is another tip. Going to sleep and waking up at consistent times each day can also be beneficial for improving sleep.
We humans are a social species. According to scientists, we rely on cooperation to survive and thrive. It’s no surprise that talking to someone else can help to alleviate feelings of stress. It’s thought that verbalising problems like this has been a source of relief for centuries, and can also strengthen the immune system.
You could have a quick chat with a colleague you work closely with over a virtual brew, or give a friend or family member a call to talk through whatever is weighing on your mind.
If you are concerned about your emotional wellbeing and stress levels, speaking to a healthcare professional for support and guidance is also recommended.
Spending time in nature is believed to reduce stress and increase positive emotions. Potential benefits for the body include lower blood pressure, heart rate and tension. Research released in 2020 found that spending as little as 10 minutes in nature is enough to have an impact. Nature is thought to have restorative properties, and can inspire renewed interest in personal goals and plans.
Unsure where to go? Check out online groups for your area, where other people might have shared new walking routes or photography of nice spots to visit. If you have access to outside space at home, make time to relax in your garden.
Introducing relaxation techniques into your daily routine may help with the management of dandruff, as it could lessen the chance of stress triggering your symptoms. However, if you are experiencing dandruff symptoms, it’s also advisable to seek treatment. A medicated shampoo, like Nizoral, can be used at home as part of your hair care routine - you can find out more here.
Already tried everything for dandruff? Nizoral is a clinically proven solution for dandruff, treating the cause and symptoms. Find out more here.