What does Coronavirus have to do with hair loss?

November 9th, 2020

Coming down with a cough and think it might be COVID-19? You might be watching out for other symptoms of coronavirus, such as fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue. But, you might have also heard that coronavirus can actually cause hair loss. Is this true?

Yes and no. There are recent reports that coronavirus is associated with hair loss. This means that the virus is probably not a direct cause of hair loss. Hair loss also seems to be a symptom of recovery in COVID-19 survivors. In other words, it’s not exactly a direct symptom of illness with the coronavirus. 

Let’s dig deeper into what coronavirus has to do with hair loss.

Is COVID-19 causing hair loss?

According to a recent U.S. News world health report, around 32% of respondents in a COVID-19 survival survey said they experienced hair loss. Hair loss was reported to be ranked 21 on a list of 101 COVID-19 symptoms reported by survivors. Compared to symptoms like nausea and vomiting, hair loss was reported to occur more frequently. 

Another study conducted in Wuhan, China found that around 30% of COVID-19 survivors experienced hair loss either during active infection or shortly afterward. Most of those experiencing hair loss were female, according to the study. 

There seems to be good evidence of COVID-19 causing hair loss. But it’s mostly likely not a direct cause of hair loss. Instead, hair loss during or after coronavirus symptoms is actually believed to be caused by telogen effluvium. This type of hair loss is caused by physical or mental stress. 

What happens is that the hair follicles rapidly turn to the telogen, or resting, phase of the hair follicle life cycle. This, in turn, causes the hair follicles to fall out too soon. However, this condition is considered to be a sign of recovery in people with COVID-19. That’s because the body is dedicating more energy to fighting off the virus than promoting hair growth. 

Is hair loss from COVID-19 permanent?

The good news is that telogen effluvium is temporary. Often caused by stressful events, it’s no wonder many people with coronavirus are experiencing telogen effluvium. Some people who don’t even have coronavirus may experience hair loss from the stress of possibly contracting it. 

Increased shedding and hair loss could also be caused by other conditions or medications. It’s important to rule out coronavirus as a cause of hair loss, especially if you have a genetic predisposition to hair loss. Hair loss could be caused by androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness. It might even be caused by a vitamin deficiency, certain medications, or other illnesses. 

Treating hair loss from COVID-19

As mentioned before, telogen effluvium is temporary. The treatment for hair loss caused by COVID-19 is to just wait. Otherwise, if you’re experiencing temporary hair loss from stress, you can try relaxation techniques or other methods to manage the root cause of it. Typically, telogen effluvium lasts for approximately six months. However, a complete return to your previous hair growth may not be noticed for another several months. 

The best way to prevent temporary hair loss is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet. You should keep a balanced, nutritionally dense diet with adequate protein and other nutrients. This will ensure that your body is able to handle extra stress and prevent hair loss. 

If the hair loss is caused by other conditions such as male pattern baldness, you can try other proven methods. Medications like minoxidil are FDA-approved for treating male pattern baldness.

Sometimes hair loss is inevitable whether you have coronavirus or not. For men who are going bald or are already bald,  scalp micropigmentation may be an attractive treatment option. Experts at Scalp Micro USA are trained to deliver long-lasting results from scalp micropigmentation. 

Bottom line

So, while COVID-19 is associated with hair loss, it’s not a direct cause. Instead, hair loss is more apparent in those recovering from the virus. Regardless of the cause, there are effective treatment options for hair loss

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