How Does COVID 19 Causes Hair Loss?

 

 

  • Many people reported hair loss after recovering from COVID-19, but the cause is yet to be determined.
  • Doctors and dermatologists believe telogen effluvium, a reversible condition associated with physical and emotional stress, may be to blame.
  • Learn the different methods in dealing with hair loss.

Foreword

Have you noticed the amount of hair on your pillow, brush or shower drain?

Hair loss is a common problem for men and women.

According to PMC studies done in Turkey, about 67.1% of males will have noticeable hair loss by the age of 50.

For women, it is 23.9%, but they usually go through different stages when this occurs.

Although there are many causes for hair loss, the most common is genetics.

Other possible causes are hormonal imbalance, emotional stress, and ageing.

COVID-19 may be an overlooked cause of hair shedding, and is worth investigating further.

Countless people think it’s, but there’s no clear answer to this question.

COVID-19 may be difficult to treat because its symptoms are so diverse.

Long term effect

You are familiar with the COVID-19 virus. You have seen it on the news or heard what it does from family members.

The symptoms include high fevers, feeling exhausted, body ache and sore throats.

But what various people don’t realise is its lasting effect can linger on.

Many people increased the risk of exhaustion, emotional stress, depression and hair disorders.

This can happen within a few weeks, or 1-3 months, after recovery from the disease.

This group of survivors many identified as “long-haulers”.

On the Survivor Corps.on Facebook, there are many posts about recovery from COVID-19.

They reported about hair shedding or Telogien effluvium, and sharing their experiences with other members.

You may want to learn from the experiences of long-haulers.

Is hair loss a COVID-19 Symptom?

To answer this question, we need to understand what is happening and why it happens the way it does.

Let’s look at the relationship and effects of COVID-19 on the hair growth cycle.

Human hair growth and shedding are random, like other mammals.

Unlike them though, there are four stages in humans:

  1. Anagen – the stage where new hair grows.
  2. Catagen – a transitional phase between the beginning phases.
  3. Telogen – when existing hairs fall out or become dormant in its resting phase.
  4. Exogen – is a shedding phase and part of the Telogen phase.

Anagen phase

The anagen phase is the active part of your hair growth cycle.

During this time, cells in our roots resolve and start growing at a fast pace to form new hairs.

Subsequently, it pushes up through follicles until they’re released from it altogether!

It takes about 1 cm per 28 days for scalp hairs to stay within their most vulnerable “growing” stage.

So if you want long flowing locks, try taking good care of your hair at this stage.

Catagen phase

When a hair follicle is in the catagen phase, it has no functions and can be considered dead.

This means that about three out of every one hundred hairs will not grow during this time.

Telogen phase

The Telogen phase accounts for 6% to 8%, of all hair and can survive 100 days on the scalp.

All other hair follicles stay put during this period.

When there is no occurring growth, you may find hard white roots that look like remnants. This looks like leftover after shedding 25-100 new hair per day.

As it happens, it’s also known as Telogen effluvium when you lose your hair during this period.

For other hairs, such as eyebrows or eyelashes, it stays from 125-150 days.

It emerges from their resting phase into an active growing cycle again.

Exogen

The exogen or shedding phase is part of the Telogen stage, and your hair falls about 50 to 100 per day.

This is normal, and during the exogen phase, new hair growth in follicles as old hair falls away.

Three causes of shock

According to Dr. Michael Kanaskie, one cause is “rapid shock.”

That is when someone has trauma and undergoes some physical problem that may only last an hour or so.

He further added another reason, which is “accumulated shock”.

A sick person can go for weeks without feeling well. This appears to be the case with COVID-19 victims.

The last is “truncated growth” or slow growth problem.

When the hair’s growth rate decreased for a time, this is known as Telogen effluvium.

Of the three phases, this is the most dangerous.

The hair gradually slows down and goes into the Telogen effluvium phase.

Is this like normal hair fall?

When people lose hair, it is usually part of a natural process and can happen to anyone.

Generally, you lose about 100 hairs in one day without noticing this.

All sorts of things can make this happen, like stress, poor diet and water quality.

It might also be because of your age.

Yet, what COVID suffers from is different and more intense than this kind of hair loss.

Why does COVID-19 stimulate hair loss?

After recovering from COVID-19, you may have experienced receding hair.

Dr. Kanaskie says there are three reasons for this.

One is that the immune system becomes hyperactive and overworked.

It attacks the hair cells, and as they’re sensitive to changes in the immune system, your hair shedding will increase.

Nutritional deficiencies

Another reason hair shedding has increased is because people don’t have enough nutrients.

Especially, young people or middle-aged women might be iron deficient.

Certain people, especially if they are vegetarians, may not get enough iron in their diet. Iron can cause anemia.

Based on the CDC report, 80% of people recovering from COVID-19 in Spain lack vitamin D.

One can conclude that a lack of vitamins and minerals, while being sick for a long time can contribute and speed up hair loss.

High fever damages

An article from AAD says people with certain health conditions may have long-term effects.

Such patients might have fevers and high temperatures that last for a long time.

This is true for most patients with COVID-19 symptoms.

The high temperature may cause hair follicle cell damage. As a result, the cell shuts down to defend itself.

Nowadays, the general community is more stressed than ever.

Many of us have never experienced this level of stress before.

The pandemic and its aftereffects are to blame for this stress.

We are all worried about getting sick, employment, deaths, lock-downs, and the list goes on.

While recovering from the pandemic, this stress endures to another level. Thus triggering an increase in hair shedding cases.

Major changes can cause stress

Today, we are all stressed in ways we haven’t been before.

This pandemic virus by itself imposed more stress on everyone.

Many families are out of work and worried about their next paycheck.

Others have also had changes in school and work.

All these changes can cause major stress. This may lead to hair loss.

Another hair problem linked to stress

Trichotillomania is another hair problem linked to stress or tension.

When the body is highly stressed, due to events that are happening in this time, people with this condition react.

Individuals with this condition pull more of their hair out of their head. They can even end up with bald patches.

How to stop hair fall after COVID-19?

I am aware that stress is a frequent cause of hair loss.

So, the first thing I recommend is some strategies to reduce stress and anxiety.

Certain people may need anxiety medicine. This is to release their stress or lower their emotional stress, at least for a short time.

Even if you don’t take medicine for your stress level, it is still a good idea to consider alternatives.

There are exercises, meditation, and even yoga to consider as a replacement for medication.

Many people aren’t getting the iron, the vitamin D, or other nutrients they need.

The lack of nutrients can make them feel more stressed all the time.

Hormonal imbalance

When your hormone levels are out of balance, you can have problems.

Such hormonal imbalance affects thyroid, estrogen, and testosterone.

If they’re not monitored, seek medical advice or consult your doctors.

There are natural ways to balance your hormones. For example, eating enough protein is important.

You should also exercise often and avoid sugar and refined carbs, like breads and sugars.

Eat healthy fats like avocado or nuts, instead of unhealthy fats like butter or cream cheese.

Drink green tea too!

Avoid overeating or undereating food all the time, because that will affect how you feel too. And eat fatty fish!

Healthy lifestyle

Have a nutritious meal plan and healthy lifestyle to get rid of hair shedding.

The more vitamin D you have, the more your immune system will work.

Other vitamins needed for healthy skin and hair regrowth are biotin, zinc, B vitamins and iron.

Massaging the scalp with oils is good for your health, and fighting hair loss.

Coconut oil or almond oil are light enough to use on your hair and scalp. It will not make it greasy or heavy after it dries off.

There are many foods that can help in hair growth.

Here are 10 nutrient-rich foods to incorporate into your diet, necessary for hair regrowth.

  1. Spinach – This leafy green has high levels of iron and protein, which helps promote growth in both the body and scalp;
  2. Eggs – A great source of protein that promotes healthy nails, skin tissue, and collagen production;
  3. Salmon – When combined with other essential fatty acids like Omega 3s, it can help even out dry patches on the scalp and prevent dandruff;
  4. Walnuts – These little guys are packed with biotin, vitamin E, and omega fatty acids, which promote healthy hair growth;
  5. Greek Yogurt – A great source of protein and calcium to help keep your locks strong;
  6. Carrots – Full of beta-carotene, vitamin A, and other antioxidants which promote healthy hair growth;
  7. Blueberries – Packed with B vitamins (especially biotin) as well as antioxidants that help keep your scalp healthy;
  8. Pumpkin Seeds – Another great source of zinc, magnesium, and fatty acids, which are all essential for keeping hair healthy;
  9. Almonds – These nuts are high in vitamin E, biotin, and magnesium – all great for hair growth.
  10. Biotin is from egg yolk , milk, bananas, cauliflower, liver, yeast, pork, salmon.

You can also find biotin in supplements from most pharmacies and health food stores.

So make sure to add some of these hair-healthy foods into your diet to keep your locks looking their best!

Hair loss after Covid 19 recovery

Psychological stress is a critical pandemic challenge that must be addressed.

You can’t manage what other people do, but you can control yourself.

You can do this with meditation or by doing something else that calms you down.

Taking care of yourself starts with a positive mindset, and activities that make you feel good

Try doing yoga, Tai Chi, or meditation if exercise isn’t your thing.

Can medication help hair loss?

There are two proven medicines for hair loss that work.

Finasteride and Minoxidil both work in different ways.

Finasteride may stop or reduce the number of hairs that fall out.

While Minoxidil might increase blood flow to keep your follicles healthy.

Side effects.

For example, Minoxidil can lead to itching, dryness or scaling.

But, Finasteride can lead to sexual problems like decreased libido, and erectile dysfunction.

You can use different treatments for hair loss. One is low-level laser treatment.

Another one to consider is hair transplant surgery.

Alternative treatments

Can alternative treatments help hair growth after recovering from COVID-19?

There is research done on peppermint oil, showing a promising result.

Rosemary oil is also known to stop balding, but the research about it is not as concrete.

Onion juice and saw palmetto are two natural treatments that seem popular with the public.

But, there is no scientific evidence to support their claims of reversing hair loss.

How can a Trichologist help you?

Many people claimed the coronavirus outbreak was a stressful event.

Is this enough to cause noticeable hair loss?

Diagnosis of the hair is an important step. This allows your doctor to rule out other certain causes of hair shedding.

There are many examination tests to find the causes of your hair loss.

The important ones include your hormone level, thyroid level, and blood test.

Examination techniques

There are many techniques used to examine hair and scalp.

Classified into non-invasive, semi-invasive, and invasive.

Noninvasive methods are clinical history, general examination, photography and hair count.

Other noninvasive are weighing, shed hair, pull test, global hair counts, and dermoscopy.

It allows magnification of the hair and scalp skin.

Semi-invasive methods include the Trichogramma and unit areatrichogram.

Invasive methods include biopsies in cicatricial alopecia.

Trichogram is when your doctor examines 50-100 hairs under a microscope.

The doctor looks at them for genetic causes and telogen effluvium.

This test also determines if any health risk or deficiencies need treatment.

How long does COVID-19 hair loss long last?

AAD reported “hair shedding can last six to nine months before it stops.”

When you have a fever or illness, your hair can go into shedding mode.

This happens when people suffer from a fever or long illness.

You will notice hair loss in two to three months after their illness stops.

When you shower or brush your hair, handfuls of hair might come out.

Can my hair recover after Covid?

Hair usually grows back on its own.

If the cause for your hair loss is an illness or fever, it will grow back quickly.

Just give it some time; you will see short hairs of the same length all around your hairline.

Most people see their hair return to normal within six months to nine months.

If you do not have telogen effluvium from stress or a fever, you need to see a doctor or dermatologist.

My take

I hope that after reading this, you no longer have anxiety, because you are not alone.

Hair loss can happen to anyone after recovering from COVID-19 or general life changes.

There are many products for sale that claim to help hair growth for people recovering from COVID-19.

Don’t get sucked in by all advertisements.

It is best to get a second opinion on the matter before buying them.

Hair will grow back

If you are recovering from COVID-19 and experiencing hair loss, it is important to stay informed.

Talk to your doctor or dermatologist. They provide medical advice.

The positive note is your hair will return to normal after six to nine months.

If you find this article informative, please share.

You can also follow me on social media.

Resources

COVID-19 infection is a major cause of acute telogen effluvium – ncbi research

COVID-19 Can Exacerbate Pattern Hair Loss and Trigger Telogen Effluvium – medical journal 

COVID-19 – theguardian.com/au

Covid-19 – medium.com

Covid-19 – en.wikipedia.org

Disclosure: Just a heads up: My articles may include affiliate links! If you buy something after clicking one of those links, you will not pay any extra money, but I will get a small commission. Many thanks for your support!

Disclaimer: We do not recommend or encourage you to use any of these statements as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. They are for educational purposes only. The FDA has not conducted any studies on them. If you have a medical concern, see your doctor immediately.

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