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COVID-19 Pandemic Effects: Hair Loss Due To Stress and Anxiety

COVID-19 Pandemic Effects: Hair Loss Due To Stress and Anxiety

Hair loss is a fairly normal occurrence, with the average person shedding up to 100 hairs a day. Hair loss due to stress and anxiety is also common. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that some people experience hair loss more often than before. Is there a connection between hair loss and how people experience a pandemic? What can be done about hair loss due to stress and anxiety?

Causes of hair loss

85% to 90% of the hairs a person has on their head are in the anagen phase, or are actively growing. The remaining are in the telogen or resting phase. After two to four months in the telogen phase, the hair falls out, and is replaced by another growing hair.

Hair loss can reflect how the body is responding to a disease or a deficiency. It is common to lose hair but if you lose more than 50% of what you have, this can be something you need to be worried about.

Here are some causes of hair loss:

  • Weight loss
  • Change in diet
  • Hormonal changes during menopause, childbirth, or old age
  • Medication such as chemotherapy
  • Vitamin or mineral deficiency
  • Diseases such as alopecia areata
  • Stress

People become anxious about hair loss as the hair is one of the first things that other people may notice about them. Hair appearance can leave a good or bad impression on others and this may further add to the stress and anxiety that he or she is feeling.

Most causes of hair loss can either be cured or return to normal after a few months. Stress management can also help especially for hair loss due to stress and anxiety. It is best to consult with your doctor or medical practitioner to know how to deal with your hair loss issues.

Hair loss and the COVID-19 pandemic

Studies show that stress can affect hair regeneration in mice. The test subjects were given cortisol or stress hormone within a set period of time. This hormone manages the resting phase of the hair follicles. The increase in stress in mice slows down hair growth and even regeneration of new hair follicles. Given the same scenario for humans, the effect might be the same.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on a lot of people emotionally, physically, and financially. Isolation and quarantine have changed how we interact with each other so we may lose touch with family and friends.

People are losing their means of living which adds more stress to the already stressed self. This is why more people experience hair loss due to stress and anxiety as the pandemic progresses.

Hair loss due to stress and anxiety: Telogen effluvium

Stress may also cause telogen effluvium. This happens when the body undergoes extreme stress. This condition makes about 30% of one’s hair go into the telogen phase, before falling out. You may lose up to 300 hairs a day compared to the regular 100.

Aside from this, studies show that people who have had COVID-19 experienced symptoms such as sleeping difficulties, loss of smell and taste, and fatigue. One of the other outcomes is hair loss.

Key takeaway

Hair loss is normal, however it can also be a reaction of the body to diseases or changes it has undergone. Hair loss due to stress and anxiety can be one of the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has on people. The pandemic has subjected people to physical, emotional, and financial stress which may cause hair loss due to stress and anxiety.

Hair loss is also one of the effects of the disease. Doctors can help in managing the stress you experience as well as give advice on how to deal with hair loss.

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Sources

Stress and hair loss: Are they related, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/expert-answers/stress-and-hair-loss/faq-20057820, Accessed July 17, 2021

How stress causes hair loss, https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/how-stress-causes-hair-loss, Accessed July 17, 2021

Burden of Hair Loss: Stress and the Underestimated Psychosocial Impact of Telogen Effluvium and Androgenetic Alopecia, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15309635, Accessed July 17, 2021

Hair Loss in Women, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16921-hair-loss-in-women, Accessed July 17, 2021

Hair Loss, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hair-loss/, Accessed July 17, 2021

Coronavirus FAQ: Does It Make Your Hair Fall Out?, https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2021/03/06/974057466/coronavirus-faq-does-it-make-your-hair-fall-out, Accessed July 17, 2021

6-month consequences of COVID-19 in patients discharged from hospital: a cohort study, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-67362032656-8/, Accessed July 17, 2021

Telogen Effluvium, https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/telogen-effluvium-a-to-z, Accessed July 20, 2021

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Written by Elaine Felicitas Updated 3 days ago
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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