There’s no question that the pandemic is adding to our stress levels and it's well known that stress affects our hair’s health and growth. There’s also increasing evidence linking Covid-19 with hair loss. And that’s on top of other factors, such as the menopause. How is your hair doing?
If your brush or sink, bath or shower is filling with hair, you’re not alone. Some hair loss (50-100 hairs a day) is normal, but more could be a problem, not least for your self-esteem.
Research has shown a surge in Google searches for hair loss over the past year. Little wonder really when many of us are experiencing temporary hair loss or, medically speaking, telogen effluvium, as a result of the immense stress we’re under and also because of post-viral inflammation from the virus.
Telogen effluvium can be caused by illness, fever, stress (physical, emotional or mental) and post-viral inflammation, all of which push more hairs than usual into the shedding phase of the hair growth cycle.
For people who have had the virus, hair loss is a common symptom of the recovery process, often occurring three or four months post-illness, sometimes sooner. Whilst in healthy hair growth about 85-90% of hairs are actively growing and 10% are resting, this ratio can shift as far as 50:50 if you’ve experienced high fever and illness. This is why you will be seeing a wider parting and general thinning at the temples and across the head.
Telogen effluvium is distressing – our hair is often our pride and joy and if it looks great, we feel great. The good news is that telogen effluvium is temporary and generally self-correcting. It may, however, take three to six months for you to detect a noticeable improvement, so what can you do to encourage a healthy scalp and regrowth environment in the meantime?
1. Improve the health of your scalp and hair follicles. Choose a serum like Hairfix Follicle Intense Defence with Red Clover Flower extract to reduce the impact of DHT-induced root shrinkage, stimulate root-anchoring proteins, optimise hair bulb oxygenation, counteract hair follicle shrinkage and encourage thicker feeling hair.
2. Go gently – consider using a soft microfibre towel after washing, a gentle Tangle Teezer for brushing and leaving your hair to dry naturally. These things can help protect fragile hair and roots.
3. Sleeping on a silk pillowcase is believed to help reduce hair breakage (available from John Lewis and other online retailers)
4. Avoid pulling on your hair by wearing it in a ponytail – it may be tempting but those fragile roots will suffer and more hair will fall.
5. Consider a different cut when salons re-open in April… a long style can make thin hair look straggly and frail at the ends, whereas a shorter, blunter cut can help create an illusion of thickness, according to stylist, Justine Marjan.
6. Keep your diet healthy, ensuring that it includes plenty of protein-, iron- and lysine-rich foods such as meat, eggs, fish, beans, grains, fruit, veg and nuts.
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