By: Dr. Neena Sharma
Is Stress Giving You Dandruff?
In today’s world, stress is unavoidable. Life is full of competition and challenges that cause physical and mental stress. The COVID-19 pandemic, especially, has changed the way we work, live, and socialise, adding a great deal of stress. Stress can produce adrenalin to cope with our problems, but it impacts our health and body negatively. One of the surprising and unexpected effects of stress is on our level of dandruff.
How Does Stress Affect Dandruff?
Dandruff is actually a scalp infection caused by the fungus Malassezia Globosa. Symptoms of dandruff include skin flakes, itching, or redness of the scalp. Many factors, including stress, can aggravate it significantly though stress does not cause dandruff directly.
Stress reduces our immunity and overall health, which helps the Malassezia fungus thrive. Stress also affects blood circulation, which further affects scalp health. In a more direct way, stress leads to increased production of sebum or scalp oil, which the fungus feeds on and multiplies rapidly. Stress-related sweating also provides an ideal environment for Malassezia to grow.
Ayurveda also talks about stress and its connection to various diseases. Called sahasa in Ayurveda, it causes ojahkshaya (reduction in immunity). It also agitates the Doshas of Vata and Pitta. Since dandruff is caused by imbalance in all three Doshas, this is another way that stress increases dandruff.
How to Reduce Stress?
- Meditation and yoga – It is well known that meditation and yoga are some of the most effective ways of reducing stress and centring oneself. These practices also boost the body’s overall health and immunity, further combating stress.
- Reduce mental stressors – Stressors can be physical exertion or emotions like bhaya (fear), krodha (anger), shoka (grief), lobha (greed), moha (attachment), and ayasa (confusion). You can work on emotional management to reduce the impact of these mental stressors.
- Healthy Ahara – Healthy food that does not cause any discomfort or side-effects is important for stress management. Oily, deep-fried junk food can drive up stress. They also cause circulation and gastrointestinal problems, which adds to stress.
- Regular sleep – Ayurveda and Western medicine align in talking about the importance of sound sleep and proper sleep hygiene in coping with stress. Proper sleep also helps to restore the body’s immunity.
- Consuming “rasayanas” – Rasayanas are natural Ayurvedic preparations that boost our physical and mental health in many ways. Herbs like Brahmi, Shankhpushpi, Haritaki, etc. are used in their preparation. Chyavanprasha is a popular and potent example of a rasayana.
How to Reduce Dandruff?
- Good hygiene – Wash your hair and scalp regularly with an Ayurvedic shampoo containing herbs like Anantmool, Neem, and Safed Chandan. For example, you can use Neem Ayu Anti Dandruff Shampoo, which has no paraben or sulphates.
- Avoid sharing carriers – The fungus can stick to items like combs, hair brushes, scarves, helmets, and other articles that come into contact with your hair and scalp. So, it is best to avoid sharing these items to prevent spreading of the fungus.
- Scalp Massage – Shiroabhayanga (oil massage on head) is a highly recommended Ayurvedic solution for dandruff. Massaging your scalp with an oil rich in herbs like Methi, Karanja, and Guduchi (like Neem Ayu Anti Dandruff Hair Oil) can help it fight dandruff.
- Nutritious diet –. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help you fight dandruff. You can get these minerals and micronutrients from a balanced diet and from supplements like Neem Ayu Anti Dandruff Capsules
Since stress increases dandruff, which can cause physical stress, these two problems can turn into a vicious cycle. So, adopting a two-pronged approach that tackles both your stress and dandruff is the best way you can combat stress-related dandruff increase.
(image by Freepik)