Festive Fitness: how does exercise impact our hair?

Image by Magic Owen Hair by Anne Veck assisted by Kari Habbershaw
Make-up by Morgan Defre Styling by Magic Owen Modelling Hannah Levit Collins
Location 12RoundsBoxing

Our hair’s health is a pretty good reflection of our body’s health. It’s influenced by two major factors: the mental and the physical, which is why it’s a fine line between exercise being good for our luscious locks, or being very very detrimental. Consistent but not excessive exercise can cause changes in your body that will in turn cause your hair to grow longer and thicker, but too much exercise and lack of care can have the opposite effect.

Now I don’t know about you, but when I train I sweat… and I don’t mean that sexy glisten you see on models advertising fancy gyms… I mean sweat drenched, not an inch of me dry, sort of totally gross sweat… and apparently this is bad for hair . Sweating is natural, and a bit of it is actually a very good way for our body to get rid of toxins and unclog our hair follicles. However excess sweating (such as myself ) can be somewhat harmful to the hair due to it’s lactic acid and salt content. It acts similarly to sea salt water and dried hair out, leaving it brittle and prone to split ends.

Now, let’s get a bit more technical: being active causes a decrease in cortisone, and cortisone is the hormone that makes us loose our hair. So yay, exercise means we have less of it in our system, so we are able to grow more beautiful, healthy hair! Right? Not always, over training and stressing your body to actual exhaustion, causes a rise in cortisone… so we have to be careful.

The mental health benefits of exercise are well known. In science-y terms, sport enables our body to release more serotonin, in laymen’s terms: the Happy hormone (which I know I read somewhere was more addictive than cocaine 😮 ). Being happier means we feel less stress, and stress is a big culprit in the hair loss game!

But with training often also comes diets, and crash diets are the worse. Big dramatic changes create imbalances in the body, and can cause serious deficiencies: over training and under nutrition can make hair thin or fall. A “good” examples of this are eating disorders such as anorexia, the often lethal combination of little to no food and obsessive exercise regimes means that individuals suffering with the ED will loose hair on their head quite drastically, but grow a thin duvet of white hair over the rest of the body ( the body’s survival response ).

My list of both the Pros and the Cons of the effect of exercise on the hair goes on. From my research, it seems the good ol’ saying “everything in moderation” is relevant here. So I asked Anne for her pick on the best products to keep our hair on heads, growing strong and looking good. She recommends using Revlon Professional Uniq 1, great for repairing dry and damaged Hair (excess sweat anyone?) and protecting your hair colour, filtering UVA and UVB, helping prevent split ends and its an amazing detangler too.

Chloe Mellen/Dirty French Girl

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