Stress Can Lead To Hair Loss: Here's How Collagen Supplements Can Help
Here's the thing about stress: It can manifest in a multitude of ways, from digestive issues to tension headaches to shortness of breath. And while the beauty front has its fair share of signs (hello, stress acne!), our hair seems to take the heaviest hit. In addition to your roots feeling greasier of late, you might be experiencing some hair shedding. You're not alone.
Yes, stress can cause hair loss.
Stress-induced hair loss is quite common, so much so, it has its own diagnosis: a medical condition known as telogen effluvium. The stress pushes the follicles into a dormant phase (known as the telogen phase), which can cause those hairs to fall out.
It happens because our hair is supersensitive to any kind of imbalance in our bodies, due to how fast those strands reproduce. So when our hormone regulators—specifically, our sympathetic nervous system and adrenal glands1—are imbalanced (like, say, due to a global pandemic), our hair is one of the first things to take a hit. "Both of these hormone [regulators], if out of balance due to high stress, will create hair thinning and loss," certified trichologist Penny James reminds us about hair loss in women.
OK, the scientific jargon may sound serious, but don't sweat—it's totally normal, and it's most likely temporary. "Once the stressors are managed, the hair will subsequently respond by not shedding further and eventually regrow," assures board-certified dermatologist Christine M. Shaver, M.D., at Bernstein Medical Center for Hair Restoration in New York City. The process may take one to three months, so be patient (stressing will only make it worse!). In fact, Shaver says, it can take one to two years after the stressor for you to completely grow back your full mane.
The good news? There's an easy way to enhance the process.
By ensuring you get your daily fill of good-for-you nutrients, you can support the regrowth process (and keep your locks strong and shiny while it happens). A supplement can help promote all the building blocks of healthy hair.*
Take mbg's grass-fed collagen+, for instance: The collagen provides your scalp with amino acids, which are necessary for building keratin (aka, what your strands are made of). It also contains biotin, that superstar B vitamin also involved in the production of keratin. Low levels of biotin have been previously linked to hair loss2, and one double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that taking both biotin and collagen supplements supported increased hair growth3 in women.*
The collagen powder also contains vitamin E, known for its antioxidant properties and managing oxidative stress.* As it turns out, our scalps can face oxidative stress, too (our scalp is still our skin, after all)—so it only makes sense that oxidative stress is linked to hair loss4. Vitamin E supplements have been shown to manage that oxidative stress and enhance hair growth5 in both males and females. Bonus: It can slow down the effects of photodamage6, while you're at it.*
While stress-induced hair loss sounds scary, you do have the ability to manage it. As Shaver advises, the best thing you can do is optimize your health, inside and out: "Be patient, and try to promote and practice a healthy lifestyle." Which can be as easy as stirring grass-fed collagen+ into your coffee.*
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.