Thousands of Australian men and women have reported suffering hair loss while at home during the virus pandemic – and now experts have revealed exactly why this is.
While it’s natural to shed hair while brushing and washing locks, it’s important to notice when larger amounts are falling out at once as this can be a clear indication of health issues.
From high stress levels to hormone imbalances and washing hair less, these are some of the reasons why you might be experiencing thinning while spending time at home.
Barney Martin, the hairdresser founder of Sydney salon Barney Martin, told FEMAIL the ‘main contributor’ for sudden hair loss is stress related.
Mr Martin said this type of hair loss known as alopecia areata has a ‘delayed effect’ that can occur months after someone experiences high levels of stress or trauma.
‘It can take months for alopecia to finally occur through bald patches or hair shredding, causing the individual more stress,’ he said.
Alopecia areata occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles as a result of severe distress or anxiety.
Unlike other hereditary hair loss factors, such as male pattern baldness, Mr Martin said in most cases the hair often grows back after a certain period of time.
Nutritionist Kate Spina agreed and said: ‘Stress and the elevated levels of our stress hormone, cortisol, have been linked with prematurely moving our hair life cycle out of it’s growing phase and into it’s resting phase where it’s more likely to fall out.’
With this in mind, many may have experienced sudden hair thinning due to the high stress brought upon by COVID-19.
Trichologist Jane Mayhead, from The Private Clinic of Harley Street, told Cosmopolitan that washing hair less while in isolation could have something to do with a spike in noticeable hair loss.
‘Hair sheds daily but in varying amounts,’ she said.
‘It can become trapped together and then when you wash the hairs are released, particularly with conditioners making the hair slippery and untangled.’
Hair loss or thinning can often be an indication of underlying health issues or a deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals.
‘There seems to be a link with low vitamin D levels (which can be caused by staying indoors) and hair loss,’ Ms Spina told FEMAIL.
‘This pretty much sums up the last couple of months for most people – stressed and less sunlight!’
Australian naturopath and founder of The Longevity Remedy, Michaela Sparrow, supported the claim and said a deficiency in iron, zinc and iodine can have a significant negative impact on the body.
‘Iron is what transports oxygen around the body, when we are low in iron, transport of oxygen to the hair follicles is the last place it goes as other more essential organs take precedent,’ she said.
Similarly an extreme Zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss due to the roll zinc plays in the structure of hair follicles.
‘When there isn’t enough zinc in the body, the structural integrity of the hair follicle is weakened, leading to the loss of hair much quicker than is normal,’ she said.
‘Poor gut health and low stomach acid both play a role in zinc deficiency by impacting how effectively we absorb zinc.’
While suddenly losing hair may seem confronting and concerning, there are a few ways to minimise this from occurring – in addition to stressing less.
Ms Sparrow said it’s important to ensure you maintain a diet rich in whole foods, nuts, seeds animal protein sources, seaweed and kelp, while also taking care of your gut.
‘Look after your gut health by chewing your food slowly to support healthy stomach acid production (to improve the absorption of zinc & iron), drink bone broth and eat prebiotic rich foods (garlic, onions, leek, asparagus, green tea, globe artichoke),’ she said.
She also recommends conducting relaxation activities regularly to reduce stress by going outside into nature, getting sun exposure, meditating and practicing mindfulness.