If you’ve been tested positive for COVID-19, you’ve probably noticed a symptom everyone is talking about: hair loss. While most people don’t experience hair loss during their isolation period, according to CDC, extreme hair loss after COVID-19 is one of the long-term effects.
Why does COVID-19 cause hair loss?
Telogen Effluvium (TE)
If your hair has been falling in large clumps, then you could be facing a condition known as telogen effluvium (TE). This condition is usually triggered 2-3 months after an acute illness, fever, or stress. With COVID-19, not only is high fever one of the common symptoms but the stress of catching a virus – with no cure, no long-term vaccine, and is part of why the entire world is on lockdown – is quite stressful.
While studies are still being conducted constantly to get more accurate information on COVID-19 and its consequences on health, there have been numerous studies conducted that indicate coronavirus could be causing severe hair loss.
Why does TE cause hair loss?
It is normal for hair to fall regularly. In fact, most people shed 50-100 hairs a day. That’s because hair has different growth phases where new hair grows while other hair enters the telogen (resting phase) before it sheds 2-3 months later to allow the new hair to grow.
The reason women face hair loss after coronavirus is that a large chunk of the hair enters the telogen phase and stops growing due to a stress factor such as COVID-19. During the telogen phase, the hair stops growing for 2-3 months before shedding from the scalp causing extreme hair loss after COVID-19 recovery.
Telogen effluvium can cause around 300 strands of hair to fall out daily over a period of 6 months. This can not only cause your hair to thin immensely but also can lead to stress and anxiety that could even make the problem worse.
However, the good news is that this condition is temporary and your hair loss after COVID-19 will eventually grow back. Just keep in mind that it could take some time for your hair to regain its full length and growth.
How to stop hair loss after COVID-19
While there are treatments for hair loss and medication that can be taken, they might not be efficient for hair loss due to COVID-19. Instead, there are a few lifestyle changes that could help hair loss after COVID-19 recovery:
One of the reasons you could be losing more hair than usual after COVID-19 recovery is deficiencies in essential vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin D, zinc, and iron. Eating a well-balanced diet and focusing on your nutrition allows you to get the dosage your body needs and reduces the risk of hair loss.
Be gentle with your hair
If you’re already losing hair as a result of TE and COVID-19, you don’t want to make it worse by pulling or tugging at your hair. You should also avoid blow-drying and curling, or any other damaging hair habits you do such as dyeing.
Ask your doctor for advice
In some cases, dermatologists might approve medication that contains 5% minoxidil. When applied to the scalp once a day, it helps with regrowth by prolonging the active growth phase of the hair follicle.
Reduce your stress
Since stress is the leading cause of losing hair and causing TE, it is essential to reduce your stress and anxiety levels. This could be through meditation, exercise, or any other preferred habits that reduce stress.
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Sources used in this article:
- Can Coronavirus Cause Hair Loss – Healthline
- Long-term effects of COVID-19 – CDC
- Telogen Effluvium- A Review– NCBI
- Telogen Effluvium: What Is It and What Can I do? – Healthline
- COVID-19 Survivors Are Losing Their Hair Here’s Why – Healthline
- Do you have hair loss or hair shedding? – AADA
- Androgenetic alopecia present in the majority of patients hospitalized with COVID-19: The “Gabrin sign” – NCBI
- Telogen effluvium related to post severe Sars‐Cov‐2 infection: Clinical aspects and our management experience – Wiley Online Library