Can COVID Cause Excessive Hair Loss?

Covid-19

Hair loss can happen for so many reasons. Trauma, medication, and stress are just a few external factors. Genetics and age also impact our hair and are, of course, out of our control. But could the recent coronavirus pandemic have caused hair loss for some people? It may surprise you to learn that the answer is “yes”. Catching COVID-19 is awful and can affect people in very different ways, with many ending up in the hospital or needing long-term treatment. New research suggests that hair loss could be a distressing post-COVID symptom.

Understanding the Link Between COVID and Hair Loss

Although COVID affects patients in different ways, one of the overriding commonalities is inflammation. Inflammation, which is often the body’s response to invasion by microorganisms, can spread throughout the entire body. This inflammation disrupts the natural hair cycle. Hackensack University Medical Center specialists suggest that this is similar to how hair loss can occur after childbirth, an injury, or some types of surgery[1].

A Growing Concern

Various studies indicate that hair loss caused by COVID-19 could be quite widespread. In the United Kingdom, the Institute of Trichologists reported that 79% of their members had noticed COVID patients suffering from hair loss[2]. A study on the longer-term consequences of the virus found that 22% of patients suffered from hair loss up to 6 months after being discharged from the hospital[3].

The Good News

For many people, hair loss after COVID should be temporary. Because the hair loss is primarily caused by inflammation, as the body returns to normal, the standard hair cycle of growth, rest, and shedding should resume.

Of course, knowing it will end in a few months doesn’t stop hair loss from being distressing. Sudden loss of hair can lead to a dip in self-esteem, lack of confidence which can lead to changed habits and routines, and even more severe mental health conditions like anxiety or depression. Add to that the stress of recovering from the illness, and it can be a tough time indeed. Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss caused by stress or trauma, so repeated distress can lead to longer term hair loss if not treated correctly.

Post-COVID patients should always reach out if they need someone to talk to, to avoid feelings of isolation. Experts can recommend ways to deal with hair loss, to improve confidence, and improve the quality of life. If you’ve experienced post-COVID hair loss, or have any questions about hair thinning or other issues, please contact Custom Hair today by clicking here.

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[1] https://www.newswise.com/coronavirus/covid-causing-excessive-hair-loss

[2] https://www.trinitypr.co.uk/tag/institute-of-trichologists/

[3] https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2820%2932656-8/fulltext