How to tackle COVID stress-related hair thinning

By Haircare Expert Nicole Petty at Milk + Blush

According to a recent study, nearly a quarter of patients experienced hair loss within six months of infection from COVID-19.

While the results clearly show a direct link between the virus and hair loss, doctors believe the physical and emotional stress it puts on the individual is the main cause.

Telogen Effluvium is a form of hair loss characterised by hair thinning and an increase in hair shedding and can be triggered by a shock to the system that induces stress.

Here’s advice on tackling stress-related hair thinning in light of Stress Awareness Month.

A nutritious diet

If you’re experiencing hair thinning, then it’s vital that you have a healthy and nutritious diet. The foods you eat have a direct impact on the growth, strength, and volume of your hair.

In particular, it’s important to consume plenty of protein as the hair follicles are mostly made up of a protein called keratin. So, when an adequate amount of protein is consumed, the hair produces higher levels of keratin, enabling the hair to repair and grow.

Similarly, ensure you’re eating foods rich in iron, Omega-3, Vitamins A, C, & E, Biotin, Zinc, and Selenium.

By filling your body with the essential nutrients, you can encourage strong regrowth and prevent future hair loss or weakness.

Regular exercise

Committing to a regular exercise routine isn’t just about improving your fitness, but it can help your hairline too.

When exercising, your heart beats faster, causing your blood flow and circulation to increase. In turn, this results in more nutrients and oxygen reaching your scalp, which hair needs to grow.

Plus, with the increased levels of cortisol in your system, the serotonin your body releases when you exercise is the best medicine you need to combat stress.

A simple run, or a session of relaxing yoga, will both do the trick and get your blood flowing.

And relax…

As mentioned above, stress can be problematic for maintaining healthy locks. But like hair thinning, it’s temporary, and with the correct calming methods, both can be overcome.

You can reduce stress by practising controlled breathwork, ensuring you get plenty of good quality sleep, indulging in a scalp massage, and putting self-care at the top of your list of priorities.

By relaxing, you’ll help prevent cortisol levels from rising and promote positive endorphins that aid hair growth and a happier mood.

Too many products?

While many people will think they have perfected their haircare routine during the most recent lockdown, the overuse of certain products, home dye kits and over-washing can result in further damage.

Harsh chemicals involved in many dyes and bleaching kits can kill off melanin and destroy the hair follicles, leading them to thin or fall out. Plus, over-washing can cause strands to become brittle and break during combing. It can also damage the follicles if the natural oils are constantly washed away.

Revise what you’re putting on your hair by checking the label for harsh chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulphate, parabens, propylene glycol, imidazolidinyl urea and sodium chloride – that could result in further hair loss. Instead, look for products containing essential oils like rosemary or tea tree that help boost hair growth.

Talk to a professional

If none of the above improves your hair growth, it may be worth speaking to a professional.

Trichologists are specialists in the function, structure, and diseases of human hair and scalp. Upon appointment, they will be able to work with your GP to evaluate which treatment is best for you, with options such as laser therapy, hair systems, scalp micro-pigmentation, and alopecia treatments or specialised creams and shampoos.

Alternatively, if you are suffering from high levels of stress or anxiety, speak to your doctor for additional support with your mental health.

About the expert

Nicole Petty is the haircare expert at Milk + Blush. Their goal is to give you confidence, the ability to create beautiful hairstyles and to feel your absolute best. Milk + Blush understands that hair plays such a huge part in all our lives and they want to give customers all the best tools to create the most beautiful looks for any occasion. Find out more at

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