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The Effects of Stress on Hair, Skin and Nails: Part 3


February 1, 2012 | Published by

worker's hands

 Nails and Stress

Fingernails and toenails are also not immune to the effects of stress. Strong, healthy nails require protein, silica, magnesium, zinc, iron, biotin, and other vitamins and minerals. Because stress makes it more difficult for your body to absorb the nutrients it needs, nail pitting, shredding and ridging frequently flare under stress. As mentioned previously, adrenal fatigue also reduces absorption of nutrients essential to tissue health, making the combination of high stress with adrenal fatigue particularly detrimental to nail health as well. Biotin is a nutrient that is often useful in the treatment of brittle nails, yet cortisol has been shown to cause a loss of biotin from the body. Finally, many people tend to abuse their nails when stressed, resorting to nail biting or repetitive rubbing that can cause mechanical damage to the nail bed.

 A Vicious Cycle of Stress

Stress can aggravate acne, hair loss, brittle nails and other conditions that show in the hair, skin and nails. Because these tissues are so visible to the outside world, having a blemish or anything that adversely alters your appearance can be stressful in and of itself. This stress, as you now know, can induce physiological changes that worsen the condition, further increasing self-consciousness

 Maintaining Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails during Stressful Times

There are a number of things you can do to support the health of your hair, skin, and nails in times of stress:

Reduce the stress

• Change the situation
• Change your response to the situation
• Remove yourself from the situation

Use stress management techniques to help moderate cortisol levels

• Practice yoga, meditation or deep breathing
• Do aerobic exercise
• Take time out for you

Lifestyle changes

•Avoid biting your nails, twisting your hair, scratching or picking your skin, or otherwise taking stress out on your body
•Sleep 8 or more hours a night to allow the tissues to heal and grow
• Eat a healthy diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in sugar and hydrogenated oils to support cell membranes
• Chew slowly and eat in a relaxed environment to allow maximum uptake of nutrients
• Eat sufficient protein for growth and repair of tissues
• Drink plenty of water to hydrate skin and flush waste products

 Nutritional support for the hair, skin, nails

• Silica, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium and biotin support tissue structure
• Gelatin provides building blocks for structural proteins
• Antioxidants (including A,C,E and zinc) fight free radicals
• Nutrients such as vitamin C, zinc, magnesium and manganese support tissue health
• Fish oil provides omega-3 fatty acids

 Hair, Skin & Nails Plus FormulaSupplemental support for the adrenals

• Herbs such as licorice, ashwagandha, maca and Siberian ginseng support the HPA axis
• Ashwagandha helps to normalize many of the biological changes brought about by stress
• Licorice helps to counteract cortisol’s immunosuppressive effects
• Nutrients such as vitamin C, zinc, magnesium and manganese support adrenal function
• B vitamins support adrenal hormone production
• Vitamin A helps normalize cortisol levels in conditions of abnormal secretion
• Vitamins A, C, and E help to modulate the HPA axis and stress response

The benefits of managing your stress response and providing targeted nutrition for your cells will be reflected in healthier, stronger and more attractive hair, skin and nails.

The Effects of Stress on Hair, Skin and Nails: Part 1

The Effects of Stress on Hair, Skin and Nails: Part 2

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  • mary E. Hearn says:

    Hi Dr. Naugle- I am in need of a health care professional in Raleigh, NC to treat me and my two children for adrenal exhaustion. I have started one child on Dr. Wilsons supplements after reading his book. But if you have a recommendation, please let me know. Thanks so much. Mary Elizabeth Hearn

  • Zach says:

    Dr. Wilson,

    Do you suggest purchasing a Vitamin A supplement for the adrenals or trying to gain it from the diet?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Zach,

      It can be difficult to get all the nutrients we need just from diet, but a healthy diet that focuses on foods with high vitamin and mineral content is quite important. Dr. Wilson does include vitamin A in some of his formulas, including Super Adrenal Stress Formula, to supplement a healthy diet.

      Hope this helps – thanks for your question!
      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

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