There has been an increase in women shedding abnormal amounts of hair since the coronavirus pandemic started. Doctors say they are seeing this upsurge and believe it is due to stress that is associated with the rigorous lifestyle change, whether a person has had the virus or not.
In normal times, stressful events can cause noticeable shedding of hair, such as emotional trauma, illness or major surgery. Financial hardships, job loss, or the death of family members from the pandemic are some of the burdens contributing to hair loss in those who have never contracted Covid-19.
The radical shift in lifestyle has added stress because families and friends must observe social-distancing, many parents are home-schooling, and some employees are working remotely. Front-line workers tend to have a higher rate of hair loss.
Especially for women, hair loss itself can cause more stress because we tend to tie it to our self-confidence and even our identity. In most cases, the situation is temporary but it could last for months.
Two types of hair loss seem to be triggered by the pandemic. Telogen effluvium, in which hair sheds more and grows less, and alopecia areata, where the immune system attacks the follicles, causing the hair to fall out in patches. Stress can trigger either one, which may be related to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol.
Experts advocate eating well, taking vitamins like biotin, and participating in exercise that reduces stress, like yoga or pilates. Treatments like scalp massage or meditation may help. Minoxidil, a hair-growth drug is recommended, but doctors warn patients that it can initially cause more hair loss before it starts working.
There is good news, though! Wigs are a beautiful alternative to loss of bio hair or thinning hair for reasons such as alopecia. With so many styles and colors to choose from, you are certain to find favorites that bring back your confidence and express your uniqueness.