You may have seen recent stories in the media, on Instagram or Reddit, describing significant hair loss in people recovering from COVID-19. Believe it or not, this isn’t directly due to the virus, but because of the body’s response to the severe illness it causes.

When fighting infection or disease, the body uses a lot of energy. The incredible adaptivity of our physiology means that resources can be taken from non-vital functions such as nail and hair growth and instead used to help the body fight the disease and recover.

But you don’t have to suffer from COVID-19 to experience hair loss; stress is enough to put your hair follicles into reverse. And the last six months have been very stressful, to say the least. Stress hormones are normally useful as they get us ready to fight or flight in hairy situations. Hormones are released, blood glucose is mobilised and ready to feed the muscles and to repair the immune system. Unfortunately, it is often at the expense of hair and nail growth.

The scientific term for this type of hair loss telogen effluvium. In a nutshell, this means that large numbers of hair follicles have entered into the rest phase of the hair cycle all at once. After a period of a month or two these will all begin to fall out.

The silver lining to this all is that hair loss due to illness or stress is usually fully reversible even if it takes time. However, we can help the recovery by eating plenty of leafy greens, seafood and lean meat providing iron, zinc and B vitamins for healthy hair growth. We can also look for treatments that accelerate recovery, like the evolis® Promote Activator. It has neat technology that helps hair follicles enter their growth phase faster and also increases their growth rate by 20%. Click here to find out more.