Clumps of hair in the shower? More clumps on your beloved satin pillow-covers? Quarantine hair loss is very much an issue. There are many causes for it — stress, changes to your diet, probably a new hair-care regimen, new products, and an acute lack of vitamin D. And add to that, the fact that the world is in a state of flux, this quarantine is looking like it will go on for a while. That means the shedding and thinning are here to stay, and we are all desperately looking for solutions.
Growth in hair loss and hair fall products and regimes
There is a big growth in searches for hair loss and hair care in the last few months and almost every haircare label is coming out with frizz-free and volume-creating products. The Aveda Invati range is made for thinning hair and hair loss in particular. The Rene Furterer Anti-Hair Loss range, Triphasic has been a bestseller too for tackling hair loss well. To top it off, brands like Cureveda, Oziva, Power Gummies, and Pure+Co have also come out with “Hair wellness” supplements aimed at hair loss, promoting volume, and in turn growth.
Iconic supplement label Hum Nutrition has seen 160% new customer growth in its hair supplements in Q2 compared to Q1 2020 according to Glossy. As far as skincare and hair are concerned, it’s all about self-care and going back to basic issues that need to be dealt with.
But first, what exactly is Telogen effluvium or hair loss and what causes it?
“It’s temporary hair loss and it usually happens because of extreme stress,” says Dr Nirupama Parwanda, MD dermatologist of Zolie Clinic, Delhi. “It also happens because of a change in lifestyle, maybe high glycemic food, sweets, more number of meals and lack of exercise. PCOD patients are more prone to it and those with Vitamin D3 deficiency.”
“Monsoons can sometimes lead to hair shedding and the telegenic phase (where a person sheds hair every day) can sometimes be worsened by the weather along with other deficiencies. Problems only arise when the hair shedding lasts longer due to a change in a hormonal balance, deficiency in vitamins like biotin, zinc, vitamin B12, and D,” adds Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta, dermatologist and cosmetologist at Issac Luxe.
Weight loss and extreme diets can also be another cause. “Many people have lost weight, sometimes drastically during the quarantine. This causes micro-vitamin loss, causing hair to fall. Many also have gained weight, and fat is a bioactive molecule that increases the conversion of hormones into androgens, which can increase hair fall and triggers PCOS,” says Dr Kiran Lohia, Head dermatologist at Isyaderm in Delhi.
With increasing stress, illness, and environmental changes, hair suffers from damage leading to hair fall, premature greying of hair, and an increase in dandruff. “According to Ayurveda, applying oil regularly can prevent hair imbalances like greying of hair loss. Ayurveda also suggests specific herbs to promote hair growth, frizziness and prevent hair fall,” says Dr Taruna Yadav, senior Ayurveda doctor at Forest Essentials.
Ways to tackle temporary hair loss
Primary treatment points to checking blood parameters like Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12, and supplementing with biotin and Vitamin D3. Diet plays an important role in this i.e., eat more protein and iron-rich food. There needs to be a small but effective exercise routine in place. Hopefully, one must have low glycemic food and manage one’s stress. If the condition doesn’t improve with these lifestyle changes, you need to consult a dermatologist, as there might be some other underlying cause,” explains Dr Parwanda.
The solutions are sometimes as simple as sticking to a simple hair-care routine too. “Let your hair air-dry or use cool settings to dry your hair. Do a lot of headstands, the blood circulation helps trigger hair growth and also meditate, to cut out the stress. Stick to your shampoo-conditioning up to 2-3 times a week depending on hair length and have a good workout routine,” advises Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta.
Telegon Effluvium (which is a phase when hair stops growing and only sheds) and Alopecia Areata (white blood cell attack on the hair follicles) are both related to stress. So be mindful of how you invest this time in yourself. “Reboot your hair and diet routine: Add good fats to your diet like avocados, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Get yourself analysed to rule out any specialities with the help of an expert. Put on a hair growth serum like Recapil, it helps. A scalp massage is also a good idea, but avoid being aggressive since it can cause more hair breakage. Try and use your fingertips to massage the oil/serum gently. Make sure you enjoy a fill of proteins, fat, and fibre. At this time, supplements will boost the health of your hair, so one can use them too,” explains Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta.
Here’s a DIY mask by Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta that can help: “Make a DIY hair mask with ingredients like fenugreek seeds, gooseberry, and aloe vera to promote healthy hair and cut down shedding. If you have frizzy hair, mash a ripe banana, and add honey, lemon juice, and castor oil/coconut oil. It’s a great conditioner and castor oil will help stimulate hair growth too.” Dr Gupta has a good list of hair DIYs on her Instagram page if you are into those.
Sometimes, age-old rituals do help in making sure your hair stays stronger. “The first step is oiling and massaging daily. A relaxing warm head massage, twice a week helps. For extra care, take a few drops of the hair oil and run it by the ends, for a healthy sheen. The second step is masking. Not only does this hair treatment make your tresses manageable, but the extra hydration makes it smoother. Look for masks that are designed to protect, repair, and nourish the scalp. Next comes cleaning and conditioning, make sure your hair gets enough moisture, and it’s hydrated. The last step is rejuvenating your hair by letting it air-dry naturally before combing or styling the hair,” adds Dr Taruna Yadav at Forest Essentials. “Brushing through wet hair can also cause hair fall, so avoid that. Herbs like Bhringraj, Shikakai, Fenugreek seeds strengthen the hair follicles.”
Here’s a list of all the hair loss products in the market.