Stress from Coronavirus Pandemic Causing People to Lose Hair
- August, 01, 2020 - 11:05
- Science news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – There are reports of people losing clumps of hair over stress of the coronavirus pandemic, but a dermatologist insists it's a normal physiological response to a stressful event — and nothing to worry about.
A California-based physician, Dr. Sandra Lee, took to TikTok on Thursday to explain that people who are shedding a seemingly alarming amount of hair are likely experiencing pandemic-induced telogen effluvium, a form of temporary hair loss that occurs after a stressful event, the Daily Mail reported.
'Right now, we're seeing a lot of people in our offices complaining about hair loss,' she says. 'People are noticing their hair is falling out. They are freaking out. That's normal to freak out, but let me tell you why it's happening and why your hair is going to grow back.'
Dr. Pimple Popper explains that the hair growth cycle has three phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen.
The anagen phase is the growth phase, which lasts about three to five years. It is followed by the catagen phase, a short transitional phase that signals the end of active growth and lasts a few weeks.
In the final phase, the telogen phase, strands are released and fall out. This 'death' phase, as Dr. Pimple Popper calls it, lasts three to six months.
'People can have a condition — it's really common — called telogen effluvium,' she says. 'If you notice that your hair is falling out now, it could be from a stressful event you experienced three to six months ago like childbirth, like COVID, like stressful events related to COVID. We are seeing a lot of this now.'
The stressful event causes more hair than normal to go through the telogen phase, but it takes three to six months after this occurs for new hair to grow back and push the telogen phase hairs out.
This means that people who experienced a great deal of stress at the start of the coronavirus pandemic are starting to lose more hair now, nearly four months later.
Childbirth, major surgery, and mental distress are all stressors that can trigger telogen effluvium, which is generally reversible.
'A good sign to see is a lot of really short hairs coming up like this,' Dr. Pimple Popper says, pointing to the top of her head. 'This means your hair is growing back.'
The clip has been viewed more than 274,000 times and grateful fans thanked the dermatologist in the comments for putting a name to what they have been experiencing.
'I am shook. Seriously though something was wrong with me. Thank you for this!!' one person wrote, while another added: 'My hair is falling out in clumps. I thought it was only me. Thanks for posting.'
Someone else shared that her mother is now losing her hair three months after surviving COVID 19. Others recalled how they lost their hair after childbirth or the death of a loved one.
'Now I get why I was losing a lot of hair a few months after I had my baby,' one TikTok user commented.