Alyssa Milano Says These 3 Products 'Helped Tremendously' with Her Post-COVID Hair Loss
That is, at least, the case for Alyssa Milano, who's been open about her experiences as a COVID "long hauler" since first getting diagnosed with the virus back in March 2020. And while she's spoken about her post-COVID hair loss in the past, Milano just got candid about it yet again — this time, sharing the products that, in her words, "helped tremendously" to slow her hair loss.
On Wednesday, the Brazen star responded to a tweet from fellow actress, Kiersten Warren, asking if Milano's come "across a therapeutic remedy" for post-COVID hair loss. "I did. I found that Nutrafol supplements and Nioxin shampoo and conditioner helped tremendously," she tweeted.
Unfortunately, Milano didn't offer any more details on her strand savers but both brands — Nutrafol and Nioxin — are known for creating some pretty powerful products. Let's start with Nutrafol, which offers three different hair-focused supplements: Nutrafol for Women (Buy It, $88, amazon.com), Nutrafol Postpartum (Buy It, $176 for two-month supply, amazon.com), and a menopause-specific formulation called Nutrafol Women's Balance (Buy It, $88, amazon.com).
While Milano didn't specify which variety she uses, all three are made with clinically effective, medical-grade plant extracts, according to Nutrafol's website. Take, for example, Nutrafol for Women: These swallowable capsules contain a blend of ingredients, including (but not limited to!) ashwagandha — an adaptogenic herb that can decrease the stress hormone cortisol — saw palmetto — a botanical extract that can reduce an enzyme that converts the hormone testosterone to DHT — and curcumin — an antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation. High levels of cortisol, DHT, and inflammation can all contribute to hair loss and/or thinning due to their effects on the hair growth cycle, Bridgette Hill, a trichologist and stylist at the Paul Labrecque Salon and Skincare Spa, previously gave Shape. (BTW, Ashley Tisdale is also a fan of Nutrafol after trying it for postpartum hair thinning.)
As for the other components of Milano's treatment trifecta? Nioxin shampoo and conditioner — both of which are also clinically proven to combat hair loss. More specifically, the Charmed alum uses Nioxin System Kit 5 (Buy It, $45, amazon.com) for chemically treated hair with light thinning, according to a brand rep.
Nioxin's three-part system reduces hair loss due to breakage and strengthens both new and existing strands. It helps stimulate hair growth thanks to peppermint oil, which helps boost blood flow to the scalp, promoting circulation and, in turn, new growth. While more research is needed on the benefits of peppermint oil, it can help keep the scalp nourished and hydrated while getting rid of any product buildup or residue, Craig Ziering, D.O., F.A.A.D., board-certified dermatologist and founder of Ziering Medical, previously told Shape. And this is an important factor given that product build-up can inhibit hair growth. (Related: What You Need to Know About Microneedling for Hair Loss)
All that said, noticing clumps of hair in your brush after running it through your tresses or collecting around the shower drain can feel low-key traumatic. There are many causes of hair loss, including underlying health circumstances, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, anemia, postpartum hormone changes, certain vitamin deficiencies, among many others. It can also be the result of stress, a change in medication or diet, and even the way you style your hair (think: super tight braids).
In Milano's case, hair loss triggered by a COVID-19 infection is one that doctors and health experts are continuing to learn more about. So far, it seems patients report hair loss three months after their diagnosis, and it typically lasts up to six months, according to multiple studies published in 2020 and 2021. It's believed that the virus triggers an inflammatory response that impacts the scalp, leading to an unnerving post-viral shed after recovery, according to The New York Times. (Read more: This Is Why You're Losing Your Hair During Quarantine)
If you think you're shedding more than the average 50 to 100 strands per day, check in with your dermatologist, who can help determine the cause and suggest treatment, be it the same as Milano or otherwise. Either way, know that you're not alone — plenty of people experience hair loss and/or thinning at some point in their lives, and there are ways to stop the shedding in its tracks and get the bounce back in your blowout. Just take it from Milano.