Business

How the pandemic is causing hair loss

Stress can be a factor

Posted 12/26/21

A global pandemic, then add to it the pressure of the holidays, and it’s no wonder many people are seeing more hair in the sink than ever before.

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Business

How the pandemic is causing hair loss

Stress can be a factor

Posted

A global pandemic, then add to it the pressure of the holidays, and it’s no wonder many people are seeing more hair in the sink than ever before.

According to Sarah Neumann, PA, many of her patients are seeing their tresses fall victim to stress caused by COVID-19.

“Telogen effluvium is a medical condition caused by stressful events that can cause severe hair shedding. While shedding hair is a very normal part of your hair’s growth cycle, excessive shedding is not,” said Neumann, the founder of Sun City Dermatology, 13843 W. Meeker Blvd., No. 101, Sun City West. “Emotional or physical trauma, pregnancy, fever, hospitalization and illness can reset your hair from the growing stage to the shedding stage. Patients recovering from COVID-19, even those caring for someone with the virus, often report significant hair loss.”

While during the normal hair cycle individuals may lose about 50 to 100 hairs per day, someone suffering from telogen effluvium might lose more than 300 hairs per day, resulting in a noticeable thinning of the hair.

According to Neumann, those suffering excessive hair loss should first see their dermatologist to determine the cause of the loss and rule out any possible underlying medical conditions. Aging, hormonal changes due to menopause and pregnancy, thyroid and auto-immune disorders, diseases such as diabetes and lupus, scalp infections, reactions to chemotherapy drugs and poor nutrition all factor into hair loss, she said.

Other conditions causing hair loss include androgenic alopecia, a genetic condition that can affect both men and women. Men with this condition, also referred to as male pattern baldness, can begin noticing hair loss as early as their teens or early 20s.Androgenic alopecia also impacts approximately half of all women sometime during their lifetime, which can affect them socially and psychologically, said Neumann.

Alopecia areata, another disorder, can start suddenly creating patchy hair. This condition may result in complete baldness, but for most people their hair will eventually return.

To combat hair loss, Neumann, a former registered dietician, suggests patients make sure they are getting adequate nutrition, including plenty of proteins, such as eggs, and add dietary supplements, including Biotin.

There are also new medical options available to encourage hair growth and increase the thickness of the hair. One innovative treatment being offered at Sun City Dermatology is platelet-rich plasma to target hair loss. Neumann said PRP is a 3-step medical treatment in which a person’s blood is drawn, processed and then injected into the scalp. PRP injections trigger natural hair growth by increasing blood supply to the hair follicle to help thicken the hair shaft and has been a highly effective treatment for COVID-19 and stress induced hair loss, she said.

“None of us can completely reduce the stress in our lives, especially with an outside event such as the pandemic, but we can all take steps to increase our health and well-being,” Neumann said. “Self-care, including scalp massages, can help. Massaging your scalp for three to four minutes a few times a day will increase circulation and may stimulate hair growth.”

Neumann, MMS-PA-C, has been a practicing dermatology PA for more than 20 years and is the founder of Sun City Dermatology and Ahwatukee Skin & Laser in Phoenix. Both practices provide a mix of medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology options to treat all conditions of the skin, hair and nails.

Call 623-377-7546 or visit suncitydermaz.com.

Editor’s Note: Suzanne Jameson is Jameson & Associates director.

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