By Sam Villa
“When hair sheds too much, the first thing someone tends to do is stress out, but that just contributes to the hair loss. Be as gentle and kind with your hair as possible. Your hair is a fabric, and when that fabric is going through excessive shedding, and/or loss, we must be very gentle and give it all the love we can,” says Ashley Brown, Sam Villa Ambassador and Mizani Artist @ash_hairbarbie, who shares four reasons your clients may be experiencing unexpected hair loss.
Having COVID can stress the body physically and emotionally, which can put your client’s hair in what physicians call acute telogen effluvium. As a result, upwards of 30–50 percent of hair follicles are in the telogen stage (the stage of growth when hair falls out and regenerates) instead of the average 5–10 percent of hair follicles. This is quite a difference in the amount of shedding. Unfortunately, the increase of hair loss is not necessarily directly tied to how severe the COVID symptoms are.
Solution: Unfortunately, COVID is not the only viral infection that can cause this type of hair loss/increased hair shedding. The good news is the hair loss/ increased shedding is generally short lived, so patience is needed. It can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months for hair to completely fill back in. During this time, it's important for clients to be very gentle with the new hairs, so they should avoid hairstyles that create tension and chemical services such as high-lift blonding.
2. Drastic Change in Diet:
Simply put, hair is made up of proteins. If there is a drastic change in a client’s diet that reduces nutritional intake, their body will pull proteins and nutrition that would usually support hair and begin to use them for organs and muscle tissue. This can cause hair to grow weak and brittle and skin to be dry. After an extended period, shedding will occur.
Solution: Advise the client to make a plan. But make sure it’s gradual to give the body more time to adapt to the change. They may want to plan meals to ensure their body is getting a good balance of nutrients. In addition, high doses of vitamins and supplements can sometimes help replace what the body is lacking.
3. Low Iron:
When the body does not have enough iron, it can’t produce hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin carries oxygen for the growth and repair of cells, including those that stimulate hair growth. Many things can cause low iron levels, such as pregnancy, an iron deficient diet, anemia, loss of blood, and vigorous exercise.
Solution: Tell your client to consult a physician to determine the root of their iron deficiency. It can sometimes be as simple as adjusting their diet to include more iron rich foods such as leafy greens and meat. In other instances, a supplement or even infusions may be recommended to improve iron levels.
4. Change in Hormones:
Anyone can experience an imbalance of hormones that can lead to hair thinning and/or hair loss. Common causes include menopause, thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, and stress.
Solution: Tell your client to consult a physician to determine the root of their hormonal issues. Treatments range vastly depending on what the issue is.
Sam Villa is co-founder and chief creative officer of the Sam Villa Company (Allvus, LLC), a leading education and styling tool company for the professional hair industry. He is also Global Artistic Ambassador for Redken 5th Avenue, a L’Oreal brand. Villa is the 2021 NAHA Educator of the Year, Hair Awards USA Hall of Fame Inductee, 2021 AHP Icon Stylist Influencer of the Year, 2020 International Hairdressing Awards ‘International Hair Influencer of the Year,’ the 2017 NAHA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Intercoiffure America/Canada Member, Behind the Chair Stylist Choice Award Winner for Favorite Platform Artist and Educator (2012, 2011 and 2007) and Favorite Overall Educator of the Year (2015). His inspiring education and innovative ergonomic styling tools can be experienced at samvilla.com. The Sam Villa brand brings free digital education to everyone including hot tips and techniques, as well as access to livestreamed educational events. The company also offers professional tools for consumers so they can achieve salon-quality results at home with minimal effort.