Pandemic stress could be hurting your hair

Pandemic stress could be hurting your hair

Stress can cause hair loss. So can the way it’s cared for, including combing.

People go partially or fully bald for any number of reasons – hormones, genetics and aging, among others. But in the middle of the pandemic, another factor is taking center stage: Stress.

Dr. Patrick Angelos (, author of “The Science and Art of Hair Restoration: A Patient’s Guide,” says stress can contribute to hair loss because it can affect hormone levels.

“Any number of stressful events can lead to a sudden loss of hair, although in those cases the hair typically will grow back over time,” he said.

For more permanent hair-loss, Angelos, a plastic surgeon who specializes in hair restoration, uses robotic treatment to help patients regain their beloved locks. That process involves an advanced, minimally invasive hair transplant system that uses technology driven by artificial intelligence.

“Among the reasons patients consider hair restoration is that they want to get back some of their youthful look and feel better about themselves,” Angelos said. “Helping them accomplish that is one of the great satisfactions I get from being a plastic surgeon.”

But for those who want to keep their hair healthy and full now and hope to avoid ever reaching the point where they need hair-loss intervention, Angelos offers some tips:

  • Maintain good hair care and hygiene habits. The way you wash your hair could undermine your efforts to prevent hair loss. As you wash, avoid pulling back on your hair, because that can put traction on the follicles. “The same goes for combing,” Angelos said. “It’s less stressful on the follicles to wash and comb your hair forward, toward your face, instead of toward the back of your scalp and neck. Also, long hair weighs more, so on its own, it can put more traction on the follicles.” Brushing your hair regularly, however, is good because it massages the scalp and helps improve blood flow and circulation. The condition of your hair should also be in balance – not too oily, not too dry. And, he added, “don’t overuse a hair dryer, because that can make hair weak and brittle, which can lead to more hair loss.”
  • Treat health issues. Hormonal imbalances and other medical conditions such as low thyroid and iron or iodine deficiency can contribute to hair loss. “Avoid overuse of supplements and medications,” Angelos advised. “Since supplements such as testosterone, human growth hormone, whey, and DHEA can cause thinning and hair loss, especially avoid excessive use of these.” DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone produced naturally in the body’s adrenal gland.
  • Be aware of your nutritional needs. Some fad diets may have a nutritional impact on hair loss. “It’s really important to eat a healthy balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat,” Angelos said. He also recommends taking a multivitamin that includes vitamins A, B complex, C, D and E, along with the minerals zinc, iodine and iron, all of which help with hair health.
  • Avoid unhealthy environments. The negative health effects of smoking are well-known, especially related to lung cancer. But one more reason to avoid smoking, Angelos said, is that it can affect hair loss. In addition to smoking, other environmental factors that can contribute to hair loss include environmental exposures like radiation and air pollution.

When efforts to prevent hair loss fall short, those who prefer to avoid baldness can explore the possibilities that modern science provides.

“Not every patient needs hair transplantation, though,” Angelos said. “Especially when it comes to younger patients, it may be best to start with other options. Since the reasons for hair loss vary from person to person and are unique to their circumstances, a good place to start is by determining the cause of hair loss in the first place, and then go from there.”