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Where's the hair? South Florida professionals address hair shedding phenomenon

Posted at 6:36 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 18:36:35-05

As the pandemic carries on, so is business for salons and dermatologists in our area. Professionals say business is good particularly for patients with a certain issue, hair thinning and loss.

Certified Physician’s Assistant at Gardens Dermatology, Nicole Hastaba, has also observed the phenomenon.

"In the last year to year and a half the number of patients suffering from hair loss has really skyrocketed and I think that’s directly correlates to the pandemic and the stress people are experience," Hastaba said.

Dr. Miranda Rosenberg says the body creates a hormonal response to stress that makes it more difficult for the body to grow and regrow hair.

Certain hormones like cortisol, are created in response to stress. In large concentrations it can make it more difficult for the body to grow and regrow hair.

"We’re seeing more and more patients coming in concerned about their hair loss wanting to figure out what’s going on and how they can help fix it," Rosenberg said.

Hair loss can be triggered by physical or emotional trauma caused by but not limited to things like COVID-19, another medical emergency, loss of a loved one, a romantic break up – all which can lead to seeing more hair in the drain.

“It can be any type of stress for some patients it’s something like having a surgery it can even be something like moving apartments,” said Dr. Rosenberg.

For Bonnie Lovett it was getting diagnosed this year with brain cancer.

"It just really, really hurt,” she said.

Lovett underwent radiation just weeks after her diagnosis and also experienced hair loss but the blows brought on by the pandemic kept coming.

Lovett explained, “My company closed my office where I work so now I also didn’t have a place to work on top of everything else so more hair was coming out.”

She says radiation only accounts for part of her hair shedding.

“I had no bangs, and I had no hair from here down so never mind all the hair I lost, now I’m losing more hair and it’s thinning out because economically, financially, socially, emotionally, it was just tearing me apart,” said Lovett.

Stress and shedding, Dr. Rosenberg says there’s a name for it - Telogen Effluvium.

Rosenberg says the signs of it may seem out of the blue for patients.

"One of the most common things especially with regard to hair is a phenomenon called Telogen Effluvium we think about that with the rule of threes it means three months after a very stressful event people will begin to lose approximately one third of their hair over a period of three months," said Dr. Rosenberg.

For people like Lovett going through a tough time amidst a pandemic can make managing stress difficult.

Dr Rosenberg said, “It’s very traumatic to be losing your hair and as you’re going through more and more of that emotional trauma.”

Lovett said she gets by with something more than medicine - her faith in growth and recovery.

"The one thing I do have is my faith in God and that kept me going because I’m a strong warrior woman and that was the only thing I could hold onto because everything else was falling apart," Lovett said.