"I've dealt with Covid, the last thing I need is hair loss!"
Picture the scene... months of uncertainty, stress and anxiety. Endless Zoom meetings and days of borderline insanity! It's enough to make any one's mental health be put to the test but there's nothing worse for mounting more stress and anxiety then seeing way more than normal amounts of hair clogging up the plug hole when showering!
You may have seen some headlines lately claiming Covid-19 has been causing hair loss with a viral video circulating of actor Alyssa Milano sharing her dramatic hair loss story. In the video Alyssa shows the camera how much hair was coming out from one brushing. It seems that hair loss is now firmly added to the long list of side effects of the virus that has been a causing so much despair.
So let's face it, we've all spent the last 5 months living in a kind of rollercoaster that has caused much stress and anxiety for so many. There's no surprise that some negative side effects would come from lockdown but some of you may be experiencing hair loss without having contracted Covid-19 and in this blog we're going to explain why stress alone may be the cause and why your state of mind is important when it comes to your hair health.
In this blog post we thought we would talk about post lock down hair loss and the several causes as well as give you some expert tips on what to do to help prevent it and recover your hair if you are noticing it falling out.
Why is Covid causing hair loss?
At present experts are putting post Covid hair loss mainly down to the stress it causes and the possible immune system disruption. Telogen effluvium is the scientific name for temporary hair loss. The Telogen stage is a normal stage of the hair growth cycle in which the individual hair strand goes in to a resting phase (Hair follicle detaches from the blood vessel) before shedding and beginning the cycle of new growth again. Normally we shed between 50 - 100 hair a day but with over 100,000 follicles on the head we don't usually notice this happening.
The sudden change in the body from stress induced by the fear of Corona Virus or the stress from contracting it and recovering can cause many more hair strands than normal to enter the Telogen Stage prematurely.
How to prevent hair loss
Preventing hair loss has everything to do with keeping your individual hair follicles in their "active growth phase' for as long as possible. What does this mean? Hair basically grows in phases. The Anagen stage, Catagen stage and Telogen stage. Understanding these phases of the growth cycle of hair can help to maximise hair growths potential.
The hair growth cycle
Anagen - The Anagen Stage is the active growth phase that can last between 2 – 8 years. (Hair grows roughly 6 inches per year) The rate of growth and length of time in the Anagen stage varies from person to person and determines the maximum length a person can grow their hair. Some women in Asian countries can grow their hair up to 45 inches. Interestingly, our eye brow hair works in a similar system of growth stages however the 'Anagen' stage lasts only 3-4 months which is why the hairs only grow to a short length. By understanding an individuals 'rate of hair growth' and 'length of active growth phase' we can learn their maximum growth potential.
Catagen – The Catagen phase is the transitional period when the hair follicle stops actively growing by detaching from the blood vessel, starving the blood supply means the hair strand becomes what is known as a ‘club hair’ this phase takes around 2-3 weeks. 'Club' hairs are attached at the scalp still however are not actively growing. During this time the hair follicle shrinks in size and some point the hair is detached from the scalp. In a normal cycle, 80-90% of hairs are in the 'Anagen' phase.
Telogen – The Telogen stage is the last phase in the cycle in which the hair follicle enters a resting phase. The hair strand is released from the scalp as a new hair begins it's growth phase underneath starting with the Anagen phase again. The hair follicle can be in the resting phase for up to 3 months before a new hair begins its growth cycle. The best thing for hair retention and growing long hair is to avoid the hair leaving the active growth phase earlier than it could. In this way we can maximise hair growth potential. For this to happen we need to avoid the things that are known to interfere with the cycle such as stress and poor nutrition.
Factors that interfere with the hair growth cycle
"Hair growth as a bodily function is the last thing in the body to receive nutrition yet the first to be withheld nutrition from"
What does this mean?
This means that nutrients from the blood are fed to more important functions than hair growth first such as the vital organs. We receive nutrients from the blood via the food we consume and digest and therefore, what we consume also has a huge impact on how well our hair grows. This is because hair growth relies on certain key nutrients in order to thrive, and if not enough of those nutrients are consumed and or make it to the hair follicle, then the hair growth will suffer.
Diet - What we eat has a direct correlation to how well our body performs. How to combat this? Eat a well-balanced varied diet of whole foods. A nutritional supplement is a great way to ensure you get certain key nutrients that are helpful for hair growth like Iron, Zinc and Biotin all found in our Tender Love & Hair Supplement. Hydration is also important, aim for 2-4 litres per day. As hair growth is a ‘non essential’ bodily function, it flourishes best within a balanced system. By keeping the body well nourished and hydrated, there is plenty of nutrition to go round the body. As the key to growing healthy hair is keeping the hair in the 'Anagen' or 'Active Growing' phase as long as possible, eating a well balanced diet and taking hair growth vitamins avoids interference to the cycle.
Stress - Stress chemicals such as Cortisol interfere with normal hair growth as the body limits the nutrients and blood flow to non essential functions when it is stressed, prioritising vital organs and tissue. This is known as the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism. The problem with modern life and particularly the global situation we are in is that many people are more stressed, anxious and worries, keeping us in this constant 'fight or flight mode' which leads to all kinds of health implications including hair loss.
What to do to combat stress related hair loss
Everything we do at CENTRED is designed to help reduce stress, promote calmness and balance whilst encouraging Self Love, Self Care and Wellness. Our method is simple. Reduce stress, improve nutrition and practice the correct care. There are no quick fixes when it comes to hair but doing these things consistently will bring about major improvements over time. Our founder, Laura Tudor, is testament to this having recovered her hair from major hair loss caused by stress 4 years ago. We used natural methods for helping to slow and stop the hair loss having discovered it was due to stress and poor nutrition and by implementing supplements and regular scalp massage her hair began to grow back and is now better than ever. The methods we used and natural ingredients are what led to the creation of CENTRED and now we want to help as many people as we can avoid going through hair loss and help them recover their hair if it is already happening.
Remember to keep practicing self care and reduce stress as much as you possibly can. For some inspiration check out this blog post
We are here for you as always so please reach out if we can help in any way -