Wow. What a difference a month makes. In the beginning of March, I was peacefully looking forward to the changes we see every Spring, with the longer days, higher temperatures, and the return of color in the flowers and trees. All those changes will still happen, but I fear we are not going to be able to appreciate them as we have in the past, with all the worry and stress of Coronovirus. Let's talk about stress and your hair.
It’s been a very tough couple of weeks for all of us. As a designated “senior” citizen, I find myself labeled as higher risk for this terrible virus, causing me to rethink my usual activities, and separating me from loved ones and friends. I definitely am feeling stressed.
I know that hair loss may not seem that important, given all the serious consequences of this pandemic, but I found myself thinking about my own hair yesterday. I realized that I haven’t been eating as well, not doing my treatments as conscientiously, not sleeping well, and worrying about everything.
The effect of stress on our bodies is quite extensive, and can include headaches, insomnia, decreased appetite, weight loss, anxiety, skin rashes, and hair shedding, just to name a few. Shedding secondary to stress usually occurs 2-3 months after the causative event, and may last up to 6 months, but usually slows down before that time.
First and foremost, in terms of your hair, please continue with ALL the treatments you have been doing thus far. Abruptly stopping either minoxidil (82M) or low level laser therapy can cause shedding after a few months. Eating well is also very important in maintaining your hair.
I realized that I haven’t been eating enough protein over the past week so I started adding protein rich foods like yogurt, cheese, fish, lentils and smoothies. I don’t eat meat, but those of you who do should make an effort to add a little more. Continue with your supplements and vitamins.
This a good time to look into and start other stress reducing activities like yoga, breathing exercises, meditation, aromatherapy with essential relaxing oils like chamomile and lavender, and of course, exercise. To help with sleep there are relaxing teas, as well as melatonin, a supplement which aides in sleep.
There are a lot of Apps and books available online to help with relaxation and meditation. Some of my favorite Apps are “Calm” and “10 percent Happier”. There are also many yoga classes on line or On Demand from your Smart TV.
As always, please know that we are here for you. If you have any questions regarding your hair during this difficult time, please call. We will be doing most of our communication through phone or video, but we are still available.
Please stay safe.
Peace to you and your loved ones.
Posted by Mary Wendel, MD