COVID-19 causes fever, dry cough, fatigue, body pain, and sometimes shortness of breath. This condition prolongs for about 14 days and then the patient recovers most of the time.
A possible relationship between COVID-19 and Hair Loss
The main cause of hair loss is stress and anxiety. People have been staying in their homes for more than a year due to lockdown. Having COVID-19 can cause stress physiologically to the person because of the situation around the world or while the person is feeling tired during the disease. This hair loss is more related to dermatology and other factors than COVID-19.
Patients might experience hair loss while having COVID either before or after that. This is not due to this deadly virus, but this disease is called Telogen Effluvium. When women give birth there is also extreme hair fall which is due to stress, anxiety, and hormonal changes. Hence, the virus itself does not cause hair fall. No strong data suggests that COVID-19 affects or weakens the hair follicles.
COVID-19 & Cortisol
When a person has experienced an event of a disease or illness the body goes into a temporary shock which takes the many hair follicles off the cycle at the same time. When the body is at stress it releases hormones like adrenaline, cortisol, and non-adrenaline from the HPA pathway which is a connection of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal gland and it leaves an impact on the hair cycle as cortisol is released into the skin as well.
Cortisol pushes the hair follicles into such a phase where they stop growing and naturally shed after few days. More cortisol in the scalp will lead to vasoconstriction on the peripheral blood vessels causing poor blood circulation. More cortisol will lead to more mast cells around the hair follicles which are the type of white blood cells that will fight infection but when there are more of them, they can impact cell division in the hair follicles.
Hence, people after recovering from coronavirus experience hair loss maybe 1 to 2 months as the stress levels are elevated during that condition.
Less oxygenated blood
When a person is diagnosed with coronavirus their blood oxygen can be lower that means less oxygenated blood would go into the hair follicles and also fewer nutrients.
According to the percentage, 64% of them were male and 36% of them were females who reported hair loss after suffering from COVID-19.
COVID-19 patients experience hair loss
During the past year, most people have reported a significant loss of hair after recovering from COVID. It also includes people who never experienced hair loss before. Also, this hair loss is 3 times more than that of normal, so this is why patients are more concerned that what if they got bald. Patients reported that the hair was falling at an alarming rate and it was scary to experience that.
What is Telogen Effluvium?
It is a very common disease of temporary hair loss characterized by diffused thinning of hair but not completely bald spots.
Causes for hair loss
Following are the causes of hair fall:
- Physiological stress
- Nutritional deficiency
- Active Smoking
- Autoimmune Deficiency
How long does it take to grow back?
This condition can take from 6 months to 1 year for recovery which is quite frustrating for the patients. It feels devastating for the person who is experiencing it. The recovery is a slow process with partnered dermatologist plan because this condition cannot be handled alone.
You need to improve your diet, add all kinds of vegetables and fruits to your diet plan. Also, proteins are the building blocks of hair, so it is very necessary to get adequate amounts of proteins according to your body’s needs.
Taking the following supplements would help to regrow the hair and prevent shedding:
- Vitamin B12
- Folic acid
- Multivitamin Supplements
The most effective way to get rid of this hair shedding is PRP treatment. In this treatment, the patient’s blood is taken and then it is allowed to spin to get platelet-rich plasma. After that, this platelet-rich plasma is administered to the affected areas.
Three treatments are required which must be one month apart. This is also not too fast a way of regaining all the hair but this one is the fastest you can get.
But the main treatment is the time which will recycle the hair follicles and remove them from that dormant face. Hair will grow back but it is just a matter of time. So, you need to be kind to yourself as stress would make it worse.
There are also minoxidil and finasteride, both of which have some side effects leading many to find alternatives to minoxidil.
What should you avoid doing to make it worse?
- Constant brushing of your hair
- Over styling your hair
- Unhealthy scalp
What should you do now?
So, if you ever got ill of COVID-19 first thing is to take care of your diet, get the proper nutrition that every nutrient gets to your scalp and hair follicles. This is something that you will get whenever you get sick with viruses that cause fever and put the body under stress misbalancing your hormones.
Whenever you are experiencing hair loss you need to visit a dermatologist which will tell you the actual cause of your hair fall because there could be numerous different reasons for this. All you need is to wait until things with your hair get better as it is a natural response of your body against any illness.
So, hair shedding after COVID-19 is not only limited to coronavirus but other diseases like stomach problems, skin cancer, normal fever, and many more. This is just a reaction of your body against disease and illness.
COVID-19 has been a trauma for all of the people out there and there is no doubt about that. Many people also have genetic hair loss and this genetic hair problem along with hair shedding due to stress can cause problems for your hair and you need to take prolonged treatment for that.