You're Not Imagining It
The Pandemic Is Making Your Hair Fall Out
As upsetting as this pandemic is, you can add one more distressing possible problem: the pandemic is making your hair fall out. This is most likely due to added stress.
Dermatologists, doctors, and aesthetic med spas are reporting a curious surge in patients seeking treatment for their sudden and dramatic hair thinning.
So what role does coronavirus pandemic play in all of this?
There’s no evidence yet that the novel coronavirus itself directly causes hair loss. Instead, doctors believe that the physical and emotional stress which is spiking stress levels can disrupt the hair’s natural growth and may lead to excessive shedding and a reversible hair loss condition called the Telogen Effluvium.
This form of shedding can affect those who find themselves stressed out by the pandemic.
Below, we’ll further discuss whether a coronavirus infection can affect hair loss, other symptoms to look out for, and the steps you can take to improve the growth of your hair.
How Does Hair Grow?
First off, here’s a fascinating fact: according to the American Academy of Dermatology; every one of us is born with a lot of hair follicles. Around 5 million hair follicles, to be exact.
Hair grows from a root at the bottom of a follicle under your skin. The blood in your scalp goes to the follicle and supplies oxygen and nutrients to the hair root, which helps your hair grow.
As your hair grows, it will push through your skin and pass by an oil gland. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s the oil from this gland that makes your hair shiny and soft.
Hair Growth Cycle
Hair grows in three stages, and each strand of hair follows its timeline.
These three stages are:
Stage One: Anagen
The cells in the root of the hair are dividing rapidly. A new hair is formed and pushes the club hair up the follicle and eventually out.
During this phase, the hair grows about 1 cm every 28 days. Scalp hair stays in this active growth phase of hair that lasts 2-8 years.
However, some people have difficulty growing their hair beyond a certain length because they have a short active phase of growth.
Stage Two: Catagen
The catagen phase is a transitional stage and about 3% of all hairs are in this phase at any time.
This transition phase where hair stops growing lasts 4-6 weeks. Growth stops and the outer root sheath shrinks and attaches to the root of the hair.
This is the formation of what is known as club hair.
Stage Three: Telogen
Telogen, the resting phase where hair falls out, lasts 2-3 months. This phase lasts for about 100 days for hairs on the scalp and longer for hairs on the eyebrow, eyelash, arm, and leg.
During this phase, the hair follicle is completely at rest, and the club hair is completely formed.
What Is Hair Loss And How Much Hair Loss Is Normal?
When it comes to losing hair, the American Academy of Dermatology says it’s normal to lose about 50 to 100 hairs a day. While it might sound like a lot, you’re probably seeing normal hair shedding.
More than 150 hair strands falling out throughout the day can be considered as abnormal hair fall which can lead to noticeable hair thinning.
Sometimes the hair that’s shed isn’t replaced with new hair, eventually leading to hair thinning and bald patches. This is called hair loss. The medical term for hair loss is alopecia.
If you’re experiencing hair loss that’s unusual for you, including bald spots, patchiness, and clumps of hair falling out, you should see your primary care physician or dermatologist.
What Factors Can Affect Hair Growth?
There are a few factors that can affect hair growth, including:
genetics or family history of hair loss
lack of nutrition
trauma that damages follicles (vascular problems, infections, etc.)
other diseases or conditions
It’s also important to note that if you are experiencing unexplained and severe hair loss, you should schedule a checkup with your doctor, as certain illnesses and health conditions can cause hair loss.
How Long Does It Take For Hair To Grow Back?
Experiencing hair loss due to stress? Don’t panic because it’s not all bad news! It is NOT permanent. Phew!
The Telogen Effluvium hair loss phase can last up to six months after the occurrence of a stressful event. Why does it take that long? It isn't clear but you just have to give it time. Because hair grows in cycles, not all hairs enter a shedding phase at the same time.
Depending on how sick you are with Covid, or how stressed you are due to changed circumstances like working from home, not being able to socialize with friends and family, kids out of school, change of diet and/or exercise routine, etc.., it can take more than six months before hair starts to make a complete recovery.
The moment the stressor is removed from your life, you’ll begin to see your hair regain its normal fullness within six to nine months.
What Are The Most Common Reasons For Hair Loss?
Hormonal changes (pregnancy/giving birth and menopause or due to thyroid condition)
Underlying health conditions
Iron deficiency or other nutritional deficiencies
Medications or therapies
Tight hair styling
Over-brushing/combing wet hair
Harsh or unhealthy hair products
Solution: What Can Help Your Hair Grow?
Hair is made up of keratin and dead skin cells. Although there’s no such thing as a magical potion or remedy that will result in instant growth overnight, there are steps you can take to keep your hair healthy and long.
There are several potential treatments your doctor may recommend for hair loss depending on its cause.
Before trying supplements such as biotin, keratin, or other nutritional supplements, consult your doctor first.
They may interact with medications and could cause unintended side effects.
Let’s look at these steps that may help your hair grow faster and stronger:
1. Most importantly, remove the stressor from your life.
This is easier said than done sometimes, but if you’re constantly under stress, your hair cannot properly grow back.
2. Avoid restrictive dieting.
Restrictive dieting can decrease the resources and nutrients needed for hair growth.
3. Check your protein intake.
Eating a well-balanced diet with adequate protein intake is important for optimal hair growth. If your diet is severely restrictive, hair won’t grow optimally, and shedding can occur. Generally, it is recommended 50 grams of protein or more per day.
4. Try caffeine-infused products.
We all know that caffeine can give you an energy boost, but according to research, it may also have growth-promoting effects on your hair. Caffeine may help promote new hair growth at the molecular, cellular, and organ levels in both men and women.
5. Explore essential oils.
Essential oils not only smell good, but they may also help promote hair growth. This included a significant increase in dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth. Research has also shown that rosemary oil may be just as effective as minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine, at restoring hair growth.
6. Boost your nutrient profile.
Specific vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids are especially important for your overall health and also play a key role in providing your body with the energy needed for hair growth. This includes:
7. Try topical ointments.
Topical ointments are generally for people experiencing hair loss. They may help your hair grow.
8. Indulge in a scalp massage.
A scalp massage can help promote relaxation and relieve stress. But, according to a small 2016 study from a trusted source, it may also help boost the health of your hair.
While the study didn’t show any noticeable difference in hair growth, it’s thought that a scalp massage may help dilate blood vessels beneath the skin. This, in turn, may lead to thicker, stronger hair that’s less likely to break off or become damaged.
9. Look into platelet-rich plasma treatment (PRP).
PRP is a breakthrough treatment that uses injections of a concentration of a patient’s platelets to restore and accelerate hair growth.
This treatment is helpful for telogen effluvium because it speeds the cycling of hair from the telogen to anagen phase, decreasing the time of rest and shedding.
10. Hold the heat.
The heat from curling irons, hairdryers, and straighteners can damage your hair and cause breakage. While avoiding heat styling altogether may not be an option, you may want to try limiting how often you use these tools.
Decreasing the temperature of heated styling tools can also help reduce hair damage.
11. Go easy on coloring your hair.
When we dye our hair and change the texture with chemicals, these processes can put stress on the hair and cause it to break.
12. Keep up with vitamins and nutrients
While many companies promote vitamins or supplements for hair growth, they don’t always directly affect hair length. But the body does require a lot of energy to make your hair grow. Missing out on balanced meals and nutrients can affect hair growth.
When And Why to See a Doctor For Hair Loss
Even with no treatment, if it's Telogen Effluvium, the condition will correct itself over several months, your hair should start growing back on its own. This is why under normal circumstances, Telogen Effluvium sufferers will often ride it out rather than spending time and money on regrowth solutions.
But when the source of one's stress is an enduring global pandemic, the resultant shedding can feel equally neverending.
If you are concerned by the amount of hair falling out, you don’t need to suffer in silence. You can turn to a dermatologist for help. These doctors specialize in diagnosing and treating the skin, hair, and nails.
A dermatologist can tell you whether you have hair loss or excessive hair shedding, find the cause or causes, and tell you what you can expect.
To Look Healthy and Glowing Call Skin Theory Aesthetics
Things like stress due to this global pandemic can trigger unaanted pandemic skin affects and pandemic-related hair loss. But you can take several steps in your day-to-day life to regrow your so-called “crowning glory”.
And to regain a healthy glow, smooth wrinkles, and rejuvenate your skin we are here to help.
Make an appointment today. Please feel free to call us at 951-735-5570 if you have any questions.
We look forward to serving you soon!
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