Can the stress caused by Covid-19 cause us to lose our hair?

THE ESSENTIAL

  • The stress caused by Covid-19 can promote hair loss.
  • Her symptoms come about three months after the stressful episode.
  • If in doubt, it is recommended that you see a doctor who will assess your thyroid and see if you are anemic.

Our hair says a lot about our health. While the Covid-19 pandemic has been raging for almost a year, many people are reporting hair loss, which worries dermatologists.

The first losses come three months later

Hair loss due to stress usually occurs a little more than three months after a stressful event. It is for the moment difficult to understand precisely why this fall appears so late. One of the hypotheses put forward is that the body can prematurely force the hair into a sleep phase during its growth cycle. The hair then becomes thinner and thinner until it falls from the root.

I have had patients who have recently arrived with stress-related hair loss, says Ohara Aivaz, dermatologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles (United States). They told me they were worried about dying earlier this year or even that they had contracted Covid-19. However, the effects were not seen until three months later. It destabilizes the patient because the stress is gone, and yet the physical manifestation is happening now.

With the progression of the pandemic and the anxiety that it generates, the voices around hair loss are increasing across the Atlantic. In the United States, Indiana University Professor of Medicine Natalie Lambert has launched a large study to understand where this hair loss came from.

Thanks to the responses collected on the Facebook group Survivor Corps, which is dedicated to “survivors” of Covid-19, it was able to identify 98 long-term symptoms in patients affected by the coronavirus. Among the 1,500 responses received by the researcher, more than 400 of them reported hair loss. In testimonials posted to the group, some even report hair falling out in handfuls.

What to do in case of hair loss?

If you ever lose your hair, dermatologist Ohara Aivaz advises you to see a doctor first, to check your thyroid and see if you are anemic. If the stress is really related to hair loss, it is possible to take supplements to strengthen it, but it will take time to reverse the situation. “If you remove the trigger and the stress level goes down, most of the time the hair loss will stop on its own, and the patient will regain the lost hair because their follicles are still active and healthy.

Finally, note that hair loss can also be accompanied by dandruff, acne breakouts or even eczema, especially in the elderly. In this case, it is recommended to take lukewarm showers and use an unscented soap on the most affected areas, without pushing too hard. “When the skin is really dry, even mild soap can strip away natural oils. Don’t wash something that isn’t soiled. Lather soap in your hands and avoid the washcloth, which can also strip your skin”, Concludes Ohara Aivaz.


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