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

Medically reviewed by Kristina Campos, MD · General Practitioner


Written by Elaine Felicitas · Updated Jun 22, 2022

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 50-100 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, see a pattern such as a patch missing, if it’s sudden or is accompanied by other symptoms, 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. Note that hair loss due to stress may start 2 to 3 months after the inciting event.

    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.

    Learn about Women’s Health Issues here.

    Disclaimer

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Kristina Campos, MD

    General Practitioner


    Written by Elaine Felicitas · Updated Jun 22, 2022

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