An unpredictable series of events brings with it a thunderstorm of stress. In this case, it is the never-ending pandemic that has led the vast majority to worry about Covid-19 for a variety of reasons.
From lay offs to a limited social life to a tsunami of grief engulfing the world, stress levels are currently at an all-time high. Stress is known to manifest in the human body in different ways by triggering underlying mental health concerns, unleashing physical illnesses, and sometimes it is the mental and the physical effects combined.
Concurrently, one of the most common Google searches during the past year and a half has actually been “hair loss.” Although one of the side effects of contracting Covid-19 includes hair loss, this is completely separate in that the stress of the pandemic alone has caused people to lose their hair.
The scientific term for this manifestation of stress is telogen effluvium and its name sounds a lot like a Game of Thrones character. Telogen effluvium is a type of transient hair loss that occurs as a result of stress, shock, or trauma.
When a person experiences intense stress, it can cause their hair follicles to enter a resting phase. Months later, while combing your fingers through your hair or washing it, it might begin to suddenly fall out.
Half your hair can undergo excessive hair shedding, leading to a trail of hair that can feel very upsetting and difficult to handle. While it is an incredibly challenging experience and just another worry to add to an exhausted list, the good news is that it is temporary.
Usually, telogen effluvium resolves within six months and replaces the affected hair with healthy hair.
The solution is in learning how to address the stress.
While it might be difficult to experience full relief, understanding coping techniques can provide a realistic solution because it could help reduce the stress that is being felt and expressed.
These coping techniques include trying to get adequate sleep, spending time in sunlight, eating healthier meals, incorporating exercise whenever possible, having a Netflix show to look forward to, hopping on a Facetime call with a loved one, or simply taking time to be present with your favourite cup of coffee or tea.
Helpful ways to relieve stress also include reaching out to people you are comfortable with and seeking help if your stress is out of your control.
Finding beneficial ways to increase dopamine and serotonin levels during a critical time period could decrease the stress, thus limiting its effects on you mentally and physically.
As a result, the impact of telogen effluvium could be reduced, leading to healthier and more satisfying future hair days.
And always remember – there is nothing wrong with seeking professional help if the hair fall is concerning and requires medical attention.