Chill Your Way To A Better Scalp:
Why Stress Makes Dandruff Worse

Your body is pretty amazing. It can communicate with you in more ways than you might have imagined. If you’re not feeling 100 per cent, or if danger is on the way, you might notice changes in your appearance.

Itchy skin, rashes, and other problems with your skin can all be signs that your body is trying to tell you something. It’s not always when you’re sick, either – your body might be trying to tell you it’s under too much stress.

When we think of stress, we tend to envision sleepless nights or tense muscles. But stress can manifest in many different ways, even affecting your scalp.

What happens to our bodies when we are
under stress?


First and foremost, it’s important to note that stress is not a direct cause of dandruff. Rather, it encourages other symptoms that may have a domino effect on your scalp. So, what exactly happens to our bodies when we’re under stress?

Our immune systems suffer

Chronic stress may increase our susceptibility to auto-immune disorders. Some of these make us more susceptible to skin conditions, causing dry and itchy skin. What’s more, when our immune systems are compromised, we’re less likely to fight off harmful bugs or fungus. 

One such fungus that is usually harmless is Malassezia. This occurs naturally on the scalp and feeds off our natural oils. If our immune systems are compromised, this can lead to an overgrowth of fungus, which in turn leads to dandruff. 

We produce cortisol

You’ve probably heard of the famous “fight or flight” response. When we’re stressed, our bodies begin to produce adrenaline and cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone. Stress can lead to chronic inflammation, which is one of the key symptoms of many skin conditions like psoriasis. We may see red patches and flaky skin as a result of our heightened stress levels.

Our blood sugar spikes

When we’re under stress, our livers produce extra glucose to give us the energy we need to “fight” the threat. However, this may lead to insulin peaks, which are linked to the overproduction of certain hormones. This can lead our follicles to overproduce the waxy substance sebum, giving us oily scalps and flaky, itchy skin.

How to combat stress-related dandruff

Incorporating a medicated shampoo like Nizoral into your routine can help you to fight off the leading cause of dandruff: Malassezia. However, you should complement this with daily practices to reduce stress.

Changing up your diet

Very often, our diets may be contributing to stress without us noticing. Processed foods high in sugar may exacerbate inflammation, while caffeine can make us anxious. For better wellbeing, try to limit your caffeine and alcohol intake. Encourage a diet that’s rich in natural antioxidants, including avocados, nuts and oily fish.

 

Going outside

Sitting still and working ourselves up with screen time wreaks havoc on our bodies. Studies show that spending time outside can have a myriad of benefits on our mental health. Take a break, go for a walk and reconnect with nature.

Try restorative yoga

You don’t need to be a contortionist to practise yoga. This ancient art is predominantly about learning how to control your breathing, and can appeal to all ages and abilities. Try free online yoga for beginners, which will take you through the basic steps before you progress to harder poses.

Keeping a diary

This can be a mindfulness diary, a journal of all that you’re thankful for, or just a daily planner. Many of us suffer from being overwhelmed with the task at hand. Once we’ve written everything down and planned our day in logical steps, it’s not so scary.

Confiding in a friend

A problem shared is a problem halved, as they say. Humans are naturally social creatures, and studies have shown that socialising can not only improve our mental health, but our physical health too. That’s just what we need to keep those immune-related symptoms at bay!

Remember, your scalp can be a good indicator of your overall health. Take time for you and start with little changes – you could notice a big difference.

01.05.2020
Interview with a Trichologist - Dandruff Explained
Interview with a Trichologist - Dandruff Explained

What causes dandruff? How common is it? We sat down with expert trichologist Stephanie Sey to answer the most common questions about dandruf…

Read more

16.04.2020
The Other Places You Never Thought Dandruff Could Reach
The Other Places You Never Thought Dandruff Could Reach

Whether or not we’d like to admit it, chances are, most of us will be affected by dandruff at some point in our lives. The causes of dandruf…

Read more

14.04.2020
Think You’ve Tried Everything For Dandruff? Try This
Think You’ve Tried Everything For Dandruff? Try This

It’s easy to feel embarrassed about dandruff. Whether or not you have dandruff can often be down to how you react to the fungus Malassezia, …

Read more

02.03.2020
You Are What You Eat: Is Your Diet Giving You Dandruff?
You Are What You Eat: Is Your Diet Giving You Dandruff?

They say you are what you eat. We’ve seen this countless times – whether it’s that extra “winter weight” or blotchy skin from alcohol consum…

Read more

02.03.2020
Scratching your head
Scratching your head

Seborrhea, psoriasis, tinea capitis – they’re all pretty tough to spell, and even tougher to diagnose. When it comes to your scalp, many iss…

Read more

02.03.2020
Itching to smile again
Itching to smile again

It’s a vicious cycle that can befall any of us from time to time. We get stressed out, depressed or anxious, and the symptoms show up in our…

Read more

24.02.2020
Dandruff: Is it a Seasonal Phenomenon?
Dandruff: Is it a Seasonal Phenomenon?

We’ve all been there. Whether we’re suffering from chapped lips and cracked hands in winter, or soothing the sunburn in summer, our skin cer…

Read more

21.02.2020
Chill Your Way To A Better Scalp
Chill Your Way To A Better Scalp


Your body is pretty amazing. It can communicate with you in more ways than you might have imagined. If you’re not feeling 100 per cent, or i…

Read more

14.02.2020
What's Really Causing My Dandruff?
What's Really Causing My Dandruff?

From hardcore science to old wives’ tales, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what might be the cause of dandruff. The simple fact is, there’s no…

Read more

14.02.2020
Keep your scalp happy all year long with these self-care tips
Keep your scalp happy all year long with these self-care tips

Spare a thought for your humble scalp – it bears the brunt of our day-to-day lives without complaining. Whether you’re spraying, styling, dr…

Read more