Even 3 years after our first lockdown we are still learning more and more about the effects of COVID19 and in turn Long-COVID; the symptoms and issues people are struggling with post infection.
One issue affecting many without much discussion is covid related hair loss.
Although it's hard to know exact numbers in the wider population, a 2020 controlled study revealed 24% of people started to see hair loss 3-4 months post covid infection. Often noticed when brushing or showering this type of hair loss is called Telogen Effluvium.
Hair Loss can be difficult to deal with, in fact some studies show the loss of our hair can be so devastating it can lead to anxiety, depression and even fear of social interaction.
The exact reason for hair loss post COVID19 infection isn’t fully understood yet, although we do know that any high fever, which can come with a covid infection, can contribute to hair loss.
If you're suffering with hair loss post infection here are 3 main things to remember: - IT'S TEMPORARY Usually experienced 3 months post infection and lasting up to 6 months. - REGARDED AS HAIR SHEDDING Meaning it’s unlikely you’ll lose too much hair and it’s shedding rather than lost entirely. - IT WILL GROW BACK For most people the hair will grow back, if you don’t see new hair growth after 8 months post infection chat to your GP or a healthcare professional.
Although frustrating, you don't have to give up and just hope things get better. There are many ways you can influence your health and encourage healthy hair growth!
EAT ENOUGH - Restrictive diets and under-eating have been shown to increase risk of hair loss. Eating enough to fuel the body is essential.
PROTEIN - Protein is crucial for new cell growth, it's that simple. An amino acid called Lysine, found in meat, cheese and eggs for example, plays a large role in hair growth.
IRON - Iron carries oxygen through our blood stream to the scalp and hair root which encourages faster and longer hair growth.
ZINC - Zinc protects the oil glands around the hair follicle , keeping it healthy, happy and protected from damage.
VITAMIN D - Vitamin d plays a large role in our immune system and hormone production, two important parts of healthy hair growth. Many europeans are deficient in this vitamin, a quick vitamin D test would benefit most of us.
B VITAMINS - B vitamins are required for many processes in the body including aiding the production of red blood cells. These red blood cells carry oxygen around the body, delivering it where needed including the hair follicles.
AVOID HEAT - If your scalp and hair are showing signs of stress it's best to forgo the heat for now. Heat can damage keratin - the protein in our hair. Give it a rest and go with some natural styles for a while.
SCALP MASSAGE - Try massaging your scalp with nourishing oils, such as olive, coconut or avocado, mix in a few drops of rosemary oil for added benefit. This can help dilate the blood vessels and encourage hair to grow thicker.
A key message to take away is that our hair is dead and what is broken or lost is generally going to stay that way. No magic oil or shampoo can fix this. However, our scalp is most certainly not dead, and by nourishing our body with key nutrients we nourish our scalp thus encouraging healthy hair growth from the inside out!
An important side note is that hair loss can be a symptom of other health issues, such as thyroid problems, autoimmunity or stress, just to name a few. It's always vital to listen to your symptoms and find out what they're trying to tell you. Work with a professional to discover your root cause so you can create a targeted action plan for health recovery.