COVID-19 Stress and Hair Loss

All of us who have been stuck in our homes for months, teaching our kids in our kitchens, and suffering through endless Zoom calls understand that the impact of  COVID-19 extends far beyond those who actually contract the virus. The upheaval of so much of our lives caused by the pandemic, coupled with a severe economic downturn, racial unrest, and a contentious election, have dramatically affected our collective mental health. Experts are seeing large increases in anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and, unsurprisingly, chronic stress.

More People Experiencing Stress-Related Hair Loss Due To The Pandemic

All of that stress and mental exhaustion over the course of this year can cause a whole host of physical health problems, including hair loss. As a recent story by NPR summarized it: “a growing catalog of research shows that high levels of stress over an extended period of time can drastically alter physical function and affect nearly every organ system.”

Your hair is not immune from the impact of stress, and the pandemic is increasing the number of people who report experiencing hair loss for the first time in their lives. The NPR story cites a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic who used to see about five patients a week with stress-related hair loss and now sees between 20 to 25. Most of these new patients are women who are “reporting hair coming out in fistfuls.”

How Stress Causes Hair Loss

Whether from COVID or otherwise, stress has a definite connection to hair shedding and loss. Overproduction of stress hormones promotes adrenal fatigue, which occurs from the overproduction of cortisol in the body. The adrenal glands release high amounts of cortisol and underproduce other necessary hormones like aldosterone and androgens, resulting in thinning or balding hair. 

Another reason stress can lead to hair loss is because stress can keep people from sleeping as much as they should. Sufficient sleep is an essential part of overall health. Our bodies expend a great deal of energy each day and need the time to recharge so it can function as it is supposed to. One function is repairing and regenerating hair follicles. Insufficient sleep keeps that from happening. Lack of sleep causes hair to stop growing, weaken, and eventually fall out more than it otherwise would. Even hair that doesn’t fall out will noticeably suffer, losing shine and volume.

If the ongoing pandemic is causing you undue stress, find a stress-reducing outlet.  Exercise, yoga, or meditation can also help relieve some of the mental anguish that stress causes. Do whatever works for you in terms of reducing stress, whether it is being with friends, being alone with a book, walking your dog, or doing nothing at all.

The Miami Hair Institute Remains Committed To Helping Our Patients Through These Difficult Times

These are challenging and unprecedented times for all of us. At the Miami Hair Institute, we know how difficult and stressful things can be as we cope with the uncertainties and disruptions caused by COVID-19. If you are experiencing hair loss, that can make matters even more stressful. During this time, we remain committed to helping our clients address their hair loss issues safely and effectively through our

advanced hair restoration techniques, technology, and alternative non-invasive treatments.

To receive your personalized evaluation and treatment plan, contact us online or call our office directly at 305-925-0222.