While there is no scientific evidence of a direct link, an increasing number of people who are recovering from COVID-19 are reporting hair loss as a side effect of the illness. However, it is not just those who have had COVID-19 who will be suffering from hair loss, for many people the past year has been incredibly stressful, and stress and hair loss are intricately connected.
Mark Blake (MIT WTS IAT), leading globally recognised trichologist, answers some of our readers questions…
There are a lot of reports in the press that COVID-19 is causing hair loss, do you know of any proof that connects the two?
“COVID-19 is not solely responsible for hair loss. Any fever related illness comes with a degree of hair loss known as Post Febrile Telogen Effluvium. This type of hair loss is when a high fever disrupts the normal growth cycle of the hair. The symptoms of COVID-19 can go on for months and months, and unfortunately so can the shedding of hair. Once the causative factors are taken away the hair should gradually return to normal, however this may take 3-4 months after the symptoms subside.”
How has the stress of COVID-19 and lockdown impacted on hair health?
“The stress of lockdown has had a massive impact on hair. Stress causes elevated cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that prioritises what the body needs to survive. Hair is a non-essential tissue that needs lots of energy to grow, but it has to take a back seat when the body is under stress and needs to survive. This means that the hair follicles may simply be shut down by the body when it is in its survival mode.”
If hair is falling out due to stress, will it grow back?
“Once the causative factors are removed hair should start to grow back again, however it takes around 3 months from the moment it is triggered back into life again to see any hair peeping out from the scalp.”
Is it best to keep brushing, even with excessive shedding?
“Any hair that comes out whilst brushing would have come out over the next 10 days anyway. Normal hair in its growing phase (anagen phase) cannot be pulled out even if you try to do it. Always be careful of brushing hair aggressively even when in good health, as it is easily damaged by aggressive brushing.”
Any dietary tips for helping with hair loss through these times?
“Avoid strict diets as drastically reducing your intake of essential nutrients can lead to deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, protein, iron and antioxidants. A healthy balanced diet is always the best approach to helping hair. If I had to recommend one thing to include in your diet for healthy hair it would be eggs (if your diet allows them). Always take a Vitamin D supplement as Vitamin D deficiencies are being linked to many hair loss conditions.”
What products would you recommend to help?
Nioxin, is the world’s number one¹ Global Selling Salon Brand for thicker, fuller² hair, and I would recommend Nioxin’s 3 Step System kits which comprises a Shampoo, Conditioner and Treatment. There are six kits to choose from, depending on the severity of the thinning and if the hair is coloured or chemically treated.
In addition, the Nioxin Dermabrasion treatment is an in-salon treatment that is essentially an exfoliating facial for the scalp. Hair health is directly linked to scalp health. We treat our faces with wonderful face creams and exfoliants but stop at our hairline and totally ignore the delicate skin on our scalp; Dermabrasion will help create the best possible environment for your hair to grow.
For more information on how to help your hair look fuller and thicker, and advice for dealing with hair loss, head to www.nioxin.com
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