Pandemic Hair Loss: What Gives?
by Jaclyn Estes
It’s been almost 3 years since the Covid-19 pandemic started. It’s no surprise that it has affected stress levels worldwide. Huge life changes as well as changes in health take a toll on our lives, there’s no questioning that.The fact that stress can so tangibly manifest itself in our body, though, is becoming clearer and clearer in the world of medicine. We are seeing clients in our stores on a daily basis with hair loss related to the effects of Covid-19 (Hence, this blog!)
So, what’s the effect that stress has on our hair? Is the pandemic causing hair loss for men and women around the world? Is it exacerbating the hair loss we already experience? Keep reading to find out!
Let me give you a brief recap of the hair cycle
Our hair growth cycle has four stages. The first is the anagen phase (i.e. when your hair grows from the root; the most active of the stages).
The second is the catagen phase (i.e. the transitional period, when the anagen phase ends and the hair detaches from the blood supply which helped it grow originally).
The third phase is the telogen phase, when the hair follicle no longer actively grows, but simply rests and slowly shrinks until it’s ready to come out of the follicle.
The fourth and final phase is the exogen phase, which is simply when the hair is released from the follicle and the anagen phase can begin yet again!
Image sourced from this article about hormones and hair loss.
One last important thing to note about the hair cycle is that all of our hairs are NOT on the same schedule. Each one of our follicles (where the hair grows) is on its own independent schedule—or else all of our hairs would grow in at once and fall out at once! This is why you notice 50-100 hairs a day that you lose when brushing your hair, or sometimes by the shower drain.
Let’s talk about stress and its impact on hair loss
Stress is something that can impact our hair cycle. Just last year, a study published in the National Library of Medicine led by Dr. Ya-Chieh Hsu of Harvard University concluded that stress indeed inhibits hair growth.
When they studied the effects of stress on mice, they noted that increased periods of stress actually kept hair in the third cycle of hair growth (the telogen phase, when hair no longer grows—simply rests). Conversely, when the mice were no longer experiencing stress, the hair growth cycle continued as normal. What we can conclude is this:
Stress can cause your hair to remain in the telogen (resting) phase for extended periods, inhibiting normal and regular hair growth.
We can now see why so many people during 2020, 2021 and 2022 experienced what we’re calling pandemic hair loss. Witnessing a global pandemic, political unrest, supply chain issues, and dealing with job insecurity and/or losing loved ones due to Covid, it is no surprise that these factors can take a toll on the health of not only our mental health, but also our physical health. We have seen this with an influx of clients in our studios stating increased stress in their lives as I mentioned at the beginning.
So, what are some ways to keep your stress levels lower?
It’s important to take care of ourselves, not only during a pandemic, but as often as we can. Balancing our stress levels is critical to staying as healthy as we can be. We may have different ideas of de-stressing—some may exercise, others may cook, sleep, meet with friends, take a nice bath, or do something artistic like painting. Here’s an articlepublished in the NIH (News in Health) which shows us some scientifically-proven ways to de-stress.
What are some other ways that you can keep your hair from thinning?
And what do you do if you’re experiencing pandemic hair loss? As mentioned above, it’s important to take care of yourself and try various methods of de-stressing. Everyone deals with stress differently, so we highly recommend you try various activities to see what works best for you.
Other recommendations are topical solutions such as thickening serums can help improve hair appearance. Such as our hero product Unveil No. 3 Hair thickening serum to help produce a fuller, thicker head of hair. Unveil’s Thicker Hair Serum is easy to use and is only to be applied to your scalp once a day and you’ll see results in as little as 4 weeks. Benefits with our products is that they are restorative. Meaning the ingredients we use are non-toxic, have no known carcinogens, gluten free, and vegan (no-animal products)! Our active ingredients are plant based and use apple stem cell cultures which make it safe to use during pregnancy.
At Unveil Restorative Hair care it is our mission is to create non-toxic, clean, sustainable, cruelty-free, and restorative hair-care products that promote a personal state of wellness, thus empowering you to feel confident in your appearance and show up as your best self.
For far too long we have ignored the mental toll that hair loss can have on our confidence & self-esteem. After being in the hair loss industry for over 20 years, I created Unveil to free us from that negative self-image.
Unveil your most confident self.