COVID-19 or Stress? The Causes Behind Pandemic-Related Hair Loss

Cough. Fever. Headache. Fatigue. The most notorious symptoms of COVID-19 are well known by now. But there is one lesser-known side effect of COVID-19, and the pandemic, that people are experiencing months down the road: hair loss. It is normal to lose between 50 and 100 hairs each day, but the severe hair shedding seen over the last year and a half is not a normal part of the hair cycle. And it is not only happening to those who have recovered from the disease — noticeable hair loss has recently been seen in higher quantities by doctors in people who have experienced high levels of stress throughout the pandemic. While hair loss caused by COVID-19 and stress is typically temporary and tends to normalize in 3 to 6 months, that is still a fair amount of time to wait for someone who is used to having long, luscious hair on their head. Below, we will run through the most common causes of pandemic-related hair loss and offer a few steps you can take to combat and even reverse severe hair loss. 

Causes of Pandemic-Related Hair Loss

While there are many reasons your hair could be shedding, we are going to go over the two most common causes of lost hair that people have been experiencing during the current pandemic: COVID-19 and stress.

Hair Loss From COVID-19 | As we mentioned earlier, fever is a common symptom of COVID-19. Months after having a high fever and fully recovering from the disease, an alarming level of hair shedding has been noticed. A high fever can force more hairs than normal to enter the shedding phase of the hair growth cycle at the same time. A November 2020 study reported that 24.1% of participants who had COVID-19 experienced late-onset hair loss. COVID-19 “long-haulers” may not experience hair loss until two or three months after they have recovered from the disease. While the CDC is still currently investigating the exact link between COVID-19 and hair loss, it is suspected that this hair shedding is due to telogen effluvium — a temporary form of hair loss that usually happens after a traumatic event, such as a high fever. But a high fever is not the only cause of telogen effluvium.

Hair Loss From Stress | Even small changes to our everyday routines during the pandemic are enough to cause stress, shock, and trauma to our system — potentially leading to severe hair shedding. Dietary changes, lack of exercise, a loss of our usual sources of relaxation — they are all enough to trigger an unusual amount of hair loss. It is important to note this because it is not just those who have recovered from COVID-19 that are experiencing hair loss. As we mentioned before, it is normal to lose 50-100 hairs per day, but telogen effluvium can cause around 300 hairs to fall out every day for up to six months. Hair loss can be an unfortunate stressor in an already stressful situation. That is why we have provided a few steps below that you can take to manage stress responsibly, develop healthy lifestyle habits, and lessen the severity of hair loss.

What You Can Do About It

Hair loss due to COVID-19 and stress can be alarming, but don’t panic! It is a common response to both physical stress (COVID-19) and emotional stress (living through a pandemic). While it can take up to six months before your start seeing your hair grow back, there are steps you can take to help attempt to speed up hair regrowth the process. Here are a few methods you can use to minimize pandemic hair loss:

  • Eat more anti-inflammatory foods like almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and leafy vegetables
  • Sleep for eight or more hours per night
  • Style your hair in a way that will not place any added stress on your hair follicles 
  • Ensure you have enough iron in your diet
  • Avoid applying extreme heat or chemical treatments to your hair
  • Incorporate stress-relieving activities like meditation, moderate exercise, or deep breathing into your daily routine

*Note: Hair loss accompanied by other symptoms can indicate a different problem. See your doctor if your hair loss is accompanied by a rash, flaking, or itching. 

A Breakthrough Hair Recovery Tip

If you are anything like us, you do not enjoy waiting around to see results. The good news? You do not have to. Telogen effluvium causes your hair to move from the growth phase to the resting phase more quickly than normal — causing premature hair shedding. That is why it is extremely important to jumpstart the growth cycle again and give your hair the help it needs as soon as possible. One of the least talked about, but most important, beauty proteins is called elastin. Our bodies stop naturally producing elastin when we hit puberty, and the amount we have at that time is meant to last a lifetime. But factors like pandemic-related stress, COVID-19, aging, sun exposure, and harsh weather conditions all accelerate the loss of elastin. 

Because elastin plays an essential part in maintaining full-looking, vibrant hair, an outside source of elastin is necessary to help your head of hair return to how it once looked. The NULASTIN® HAIR Vibrant Scalp Treatment is the ONLY hair serum that supports your body’s ability to stimulate the replenishment of elastin. This breakthrough beauty protein provides natural, noticeable results and delivered a noticeable improvement in hair growth to 90% of participants in a 16-week clinical evaluation. 90%! So now, you do not have to wait around for six months for your hair to return to normal.

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