Hair loss during the quarantine: Dermatologist explains causes and treatments

Bem Zen Portal | 09/09/2020
Fonte: Bem Zen Portal
Dermatologist recommends supplementation and emphasizes emotional issues during the pandemic as risk factors.

Complaints about hair loss increased during social isolation. Dr. Daniel Fernandes Melo, dermatologist and coordinator of the hair department of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology – Rio de Janeiro Chapter (SBD-RJ), explains that our emotional state can occasionally trigger hair loss. "Several factors are involved. One of them is social isolation itself, which can increase hair loss perception. In addition, emotional issues can also potentially trigger some types of hair loss."

The expert recommends seeking a qualified professional to analyze cases individually. "Dermatologists are the best option for safe face-to-face appointments, and telemedicine is also already a reality. It is essential to seek the help of a qualified professional," Dr. Melo advises.

There is no exact, proven equation to identify when hair loss ceases to be normal and becomes a problem. "You're the main agent for checking for changes in the loss pattern. If it starts to bother you, then it's the right time to talk to a specialist to identify what's causing the problem and the best possible treatment," the expert says.

Hair loss (alopecia) can be classified into two major groups: scarring hair loss, in which there is irreversible damage to the follicle and, for the most part, it's not possible to recover hair growth; and non scarring hair loss, which is more common among the population and, in some cases, can be reversed once the follicle alteration ends, with hair growing again in the affected area.

Non-scarring hair loss is the most common. This type includes telogen effluvium, which is an increase in the daily loss of hair strands, as a result of a diffuse and abrupt migration of the strands to the resting (telogen) phase of the hair cycle. Restrictive diets, procedures such as bariatric surgery, and childbirth are among its possible causes. Hair loss can also be a result of a poor diet, significant emotional stress, and some medications.

According to the dermatologist, certain nutrients are connected to the proper functioning of the hair cycle. This is the case of iron, zinc, and vitamins D and B12. Hair strands are formed by keratin. The elements that act as the raw materials for the production of this component, such as cystine, are also important.

This explains why treatments are often linked to supplementation of nutrients and elements that are the building blocks of hair strands. This is important for the health of the body as a whole. "For instance, a woman who loses a lot of iron during menstruation and has some comorbidity or associated medical history that can lead to anemia needs specific supplementation, different from someone else who loses another nutrient. Therefore, before using any medication, it's necessary to seek a doctor's advice, specifically one who is a member of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology and has experience with hair issues."

Another important factor for people with this condition is patience. "In general, hair treatments will only show clinically visible results after three to four months. However, it may take even more time, depending on the patient's clinical condition. Treatment interruptions directly affect the outcome. It's also worth remembering that we need to care for our emotional well-being, whether during the quarantine or not, so that other areas of our bodies are not affected. We're living in atypical times, but this too shall pass, like all difficult phases that we face throughout our lives," the dermatologist points out.
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