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Is COVID-19 Really Causing Hair Loss?

Being able to identify the coronavirus symptoms is the first step to protecting ourselves. When we feel like we’re experiencing the described symptoms, we distance ourselves from our loved ones to protect them in case we test positive for the virus.

Those affected by the illness claim to have experienced some unexpected side effects. Besides common side-effects such as loss of smell, taste and prolonged fatigue, some patients have reported strange post-COVID symptoms, including hair loss.

People infected with the virus, and the Omicron variant in particular, have blamed it for their hair loss. As the Mirror reports, these symptoms have appeared in several patients, causing everyone to panic about their appearance. But can the virus really cause hair loss?

Is There Proof That Covid Causes Hair Loss?

Hackensack University Medical Center published a paper after researching Covid patients and found out that many people have suffered from increased hair loss after getting the virus. Researchers were led to the conclusion that people faced hair loss for a period of a few weeks to three months after getting infected with the virus.

Paula Diaz, a patient hospitalised for six days after getting the coronavirus, shared her experience: After returning from the hospital, I began seeing my hair fall in clumps, and it was truly devastating.

The UK Institute of Trichology, which carries out research into scalp and hair loss diseases, reported on these claims recently. It has discovered global evidence related to hair loss and Covid-19.

“Nearly one-third (423) of 1,567 surveyed participants reported greater amounts of hair shedding among long-term symptoms of Covid, in research conducted by the School of Medicine at Indiana University.

Also, the School of Medicine at Uşak University (Turkey) reports a significant increase of 33% after the pandemic, in patients diagnosed with alopecia (the medical term for hair loss).”

What Are the Reasons Behind Covid-19 Hair Loss?

Experts identify two reasons why Covid-19 might cause hair loss: inflammation and stress. The former occurs because the body becomes highly overactive while it is fighting the virus.

Covid also causes stress, and stress is a major factor in hair loss. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) mentions hair loss as a normal side effect of getting infected with a virus. The AAD also highlights that Covid-19 is commonly followed by fever.

“While many people think of this as hair loss, it’s actually hair shedding. Most people see noticeable hair shedding two to three months after having a fever or illness. The hair shedding process could last from six to nine months before hair growth returns to normality.”

The coronavirus stimulates two hair loss conditions, according to experts. The first is telogen effluvium (TE). Telogen is a hair shedding phase and forms part of the natural growth cycle.  A healthy person has around 10% of hair in this phase, which accounts for a daily loss of 50-100 strands of hair.

When hair passes into the TE phase, more than 50% of it is shed immediately. This lasts for about six months, but it may extend to longer periods under the effects of stress or other factors.

The second hair loss condition that is stimulated by the illness is known as alopecia areata. Inflammation causes hair follicles to be attacked by the immune system. It’s an autoimmune disease which doesn’t require treatment, although steroid injections might alleviate the symptoms. In rare cases, these symptoms might become permanent.

What Should You Do to Stop Covid-19 Hair Loss?

If you or a relative have contracted the virus, the best solution is to speak with an expert, such as a board-certified dermatologist, who will diagnose the problem.

The method used to identify a hair loss condition prompted by stress is based on eliminating other potential causes. A blood test would be enough for your dermatologist to check whether nutritional deficiency, a thyroid issue or other factors are causing hair loss.

Then, you might be prescribed nutritional supplements that contain biotin, Vitamin D and iron for moderate hair shedding and promoted growth. A controlled diet and a few prescribed medications for a short time can reduce stress and inflammation.

Final Thoughts

Experts have shown that hair loss is one of the consequences of contracting Covid-19. As seen above, increased stress levels play a major role in excess hair loss, but inflammation could be the cause, too. The first step to curing your hair loss starts with the accurate identification of the causes.

Visiting a dermatologist or a hair expert is the fastest way to treat yourself properly. Vinci Hair Clinic offers a free consultation to all our clients, so you could save time and money by booking an appointment with our experts. Contact us today – we have clinics worldwide!