Many people who had Covid-19 are experiencing hair loss. Stress from being diagnosed with it can also wreak havoc on tresses. The good news is it’s not permanent. Read on for more information about stress and hair loss.
Is stress-related hair loss permanent?
If your hair loss is caused by stress, it’s possible for your hair to grow back in time. The rate of regrowth will be different for everyone.
Human hair growth occurs in a cycle of four phases.
The average human scalp has about 100,000 hair follicles. At any given time, each of your hair follicles is in a different phase of this cycle:
Anagen phase. This is the growing phase of hair. It lasts two to seven years
Catagen phase. This is a short, two-week phase that occurs when the hair follicle begins to shrink.
Telogen phase. This is a three-month resting phase.
Exogen phase. This phase occurs when the follicle sheds the hair and begins new growth.
If your hair loss has been triggered by stress, managing your stress could be the key to returning to a healthy rate of hair growth.
What you can do
There are a number of things that you can do to reduce hair loss and encourage new growth.
Diet and nutrition
Eating a balanced, nutritious diet of whole foods is necessary for the health of your body — and your hair.
Foods Great For Your Hair:
SALMON, TUNA, MACKEREL, HERRING SARDINES
FLAXSEEDS, CHIA SEEDS
While it’s important to include all of the essential vitamins in a healthy diet, there are some that may be vital to hair growth:
Vitamin C. This vitaminis essential for building collagen, the skin’s connective tissue that is found in hair follicles. Foods that contain vitamin C include citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, and strawberries.
Vitamin B. This complex of many vitamins promotes a healthy metabolism, as well as healthy skin and hair. B vitamins can be found in foods like dark leafy greens, beans, nuts, and avocados.
Vitamin E. This vitamin contains potent antioxidants, which can contribute to a healthy scalp. Foods rich in vitamin E include sunflower seeds, spinach, olive oil, broccoli, and shrimp.
If you aren’t getting enough of these nutrients in your diet, talk to your doctor about supplements. They can discuss your options and recommend the best dosage for you. You should never add nutritional supplements to your routine without your doctor’s supervision.
Keeping properly hydrated is also essential to overall good health. Every cell in your body relies on water to function properly.
Men should aim for 15 1/2 cups of water per day, and women should aim for 11 1/2 cups per day. That amount can come from food, water, and other beverages. A reasonable goal is to drink 8 glasses of water per day, and allow the rest to come from your diet and other beverages.
Learning how to effectively manage your stress levels may help you reduce your risk for further hair loss. Of course, this is often easier said than done.
You may have to try several different stress-management techniques before you find what works for you.
Popular ways to reduce stress:
Exercise. Exercise is a great way to eliminate stress. Try taking a light daily walk, signing up for a dance class, or doing some yard work.
Hobbies. Occupying yourself with something that you enjoy doing can be a great way to combat stress. Consider doing volunteer work, joining your local community theatre group, planting a garden, or starting an art project.
Writing. Try taking a few minutes each day to write about your feelings, and the things that cause you stress. Reviewing the daily items that trigger your stress may help you to discover ways of coping.
Breathing and meditation. Meditation and breathing exercises are great ways to allow yourself to focus on the present moment. You may also wish to try techniques that combine meditation with physical exercise, like yoga or tai chi.
Castor oil. This is a popular folk remedy for hair regrowth. Although anecdotal evidence suggests that topical use can increase hair growth, research to support this is limited.
What if you aren’t seeing improvement?
It’s possible that your hair loss isn’t stress related. There are many factors and conditions that could cause you to lose your hair.
Other common reasons for hair loss include:
medications, like some blood thinners or antidepressants
illness or recent surgery
hormonal changes, like childbirth or menopause
nutritional deficiency, like a lack of sufficient protein or iron
The bottom line
If your hair loss is stress related, your hair follicles haven’t been permanently damaged. Managing your stress and taking good care of your health could result in your hair returning to a normal rate of growth.
If OTC measures aren’t working — or you aren’t seeing results — see your doctor. They can help diagnose the reason for your hair loss and advise you on any next steps. If regrowth is possible, they can help determine the best treatment plan for your symptoms.
[Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN — Written by Kitty Jay on Jan. 25, 2018]
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