What Causes Hair Loss?
What causes hair loss? Generally known as alopecia, hair loss refers to the temporary or permanent shedding of hair from your scalp. Although this condition is common and can happen to anyone, having more frequent hair fall than usual can be a serious problem.
We listed several factors that explains hair loss. These factors range from psychological causes to hormonal changes in the body.
Androgenetic alopecia – This is another term for male and female pattern baldness. Androgenetic alopecia is a genetic condition and perhaps the most common reason for hair loss. When this condition occurs, males lose their hair from the temples and crown. Meanwhile, females’ hair becomes thinner and eventually falls out from all over their heads.
Alopecia areata – This one is an autoimmune condition. The immune system mistakenly attacks our body’s hair follicles, resulting in excessive hair loss. Besides the scalp, alopecia areata can also affect the eyebrows and eyelashes.
Stress – One psychological factor that causes hair loss is stress. It is also called telogen effluvium or excessive hair falling due to stress. Although this condition is only temporary, taking medication is a must to help grow hair back and improve thickness.
Pregnancy – Besides the psychological stress associated with pregnancy, other factors like hormonal changes can also cause hair loss in pregnancy and after the delivery of the baby.
Hormonal change – It occurs due to pregnancy, childbirth, thyroid problems, and menopause, resulting in temporary or permanent hair loss.
Traction alopecia – This type of hair loss occurs due to tight hairstyles. It includes pigtails and cornrows, which cause the hair to break and loose.
Lack of nutrients – A deficiency in essential nutrients can cause hair fall. Excessive hair shedding can happen due to a lack of protein, vitamins, and iron in the body.
Medicinal side effects – Some medications cause hair loss in the form of side effects. These medications are usually blood thinners, acne treatment, antidepressants, and beta-blockers.
Does COVID-19 cause hair loss?
Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, medical experts have continued to study the long-term impact of the virus. Its list of side effects is diverse, and one of them is hair shedding. But how does COVID cause hair loss?
A study in 2020 stated that out of 10 people infected with COVID-19, only one experienced hair shedding. Although this is only a tiny fraction compared to other side effects of the infection, it is still disturbing in some ways considering the total number of people this pandemic affected globally.
However, after careful study, it’s not COVID-19 that causes hair loss. Instead, it’s the stress that the body experiences after getting infected by the virus. This type of hair loss that the virus triggers through stress is called telogen effluvium.
As mentioned above, telogen effluvium occurs because of psychological stress, although it can also be physical stress. During the process of telogen effluvium, the hairs fall out and result in widespread shedding. Since the COVID-19 infection is such a stressful event, the hair becomes susceptible to falling out excessively.
Post COVID-19 hair loss treatment
Hair loss due to COVID-19 will not advance to baldness. Since hair will recover independently, post COVID-19 hair loss treatment won’t be necessary. However, there are safety measures that we should consider to improve our hair condition and prevent hair shedding. These are as follows:
- Avoid heat styling
- Minimize intense chemical processes
- Avoid tight hairstyles
- Test for nutrient deficiencies
- Meditate and exercise to lower stress levels
- Eat healthy
- Nourish your hair with natural remedies
If your hair loss has extended beyond six months, consult your trusted dermatologist, and obtain the necessary treatment. You may have to start taking medications to stop excessive hair loss and support hair growth.