Well, everyone has heard about COVID-19 and almost every person on this planet is familiar with this devastating virus, the common symptoms of which are dry cough, fever, difficulty in breathing, and tiredness.

 

This virus has affected mankind in every way possible, either directly or indirectly. Let us discuss the relationship of this virus with humans and how it affected the hair of people and what are the reasons that people are experiencing hair shedding.

 

How are COVID-19 and hair loss related?

Normally in the scalp, there are 5% of the resting hair follicles, 10% of shedding hair follicles, and 90% of growing hair follicles but in case of hair loss due to COVID-19 signified by Telogen Effluvium, the shedding hair follicles become abundant between 40-50%.

 

This is a very alarming situation and leads to a very distressing hair fall. Some of the COVID-19 survivors with hair shedding problems tell that the hair loss is massive in form of clusters eventually there was the formation of thinning areas on the scalp. So, fighting COVID-19 is not an easy situation.

 

Hair shedding was mainly seen in the COVID-19 patients that were above the age of 30.

 

What’s the effect of COVID-19 on your hair?

So, the direct effect on COVID-19 can be observed in a way that people who had COVID-19 acquired a disease named Telogen Effluvium which condition occurs after a stressful event of illness. This disease is mainly concerned with hair shedding. Within 90-120 days after recovery from coronavirus people experienced massive hair loss which was in some cases in form of clumps or some cases from 50-100 hairs per day.

 

This condition became very common after few months of the novel coronavirus as more patients reported at the dermatologist clinic claiming they have hair loss at a very high rate and losing hair in form of chunks. They would find clumps of hair in their shower or pillow or in the hairbrush they were using. Also, this amount of hair people mostly lose in following conditions other than coronavirus:

 

  • Loss of a job
  • Divorce 
  • Death in a family 
  • Financial issues

 

All of the above-mentioned reasons impose psychological and physiological trauma to the person which in simple words is called stress. Stress is the primary cause of hair shedding among pandemic patients because during an illness body is under stress.

 

As we know, COVID-19 is a very lonely disease as you do not have anyone to pamper you, it is just you. So, including these factors, there is severity in the disease which eventually leads to stress. As many patients are recovered in 2 weeks so in those 14 days every part of the body is in pain for many patients.

 

Some patients reported there was extreme eye pain. High fever also causes extreme stress conditions because fighting a virus is not an easy job for a body itself.

 

A person suffering from the coronavirus experiences shortness of breath means there is no proper physical respiration which doesn’t allow the blood to carry all the nutrients and circulate in all areas of the body.

 

Scalp might also be the area which gains less oxygen and hair follicles are deprived of the nutrients so there is a decreased amount of circulation causing hair shedding.

Who is at more risk?

Men are more at risk of acquiring hair loss than women due to the genetic condition androgenic alopecia.

 

How to treat hair shedding due to COVID-19?

After a year and a half, it gets treated itself without any outside assistance. Hair starts regrowing on its own and everything is shifted to normal. But if you are experiencing inflammation, irritation, redness in your scalp area or your scalp is hot then there is a need to visit the dermatologist and let him/her know what is going on with your scalp.

 

You need to get the blood test first because this will tell you which nutrients, vitamins or supplements are less in your blood. Mainly following nutrients must be checked to diagnose what is that you need to intake. Once you get the test compare the values with normal values and then incorporate the deficient substances through your diet.

 

  • Iron
  • Ferritin 
  • Zinc
  • Folate
  • Vitamin D3

 

You can also get oral prescription medicines. Scalp injections are also a very fine method to treat this condition in which your plasma is injected into the bald areas or the affected areas.

 

This is also known as PRP treatment which is a quite common way of regrowing the hair. We cannot predict how much time will it take as it is variable from person to person.

 

It is also especially important for you to check whether you are suffering from iron deficiency anemia or thyroid disease, as these are also root causes of such kind of hair fall. Another option is minoxidil. However, due to its side effects, many wants to find a natural alternative.

 

Indirect effect of COVID-19 on hair shedding:

Due to the ongoing conditions of COVID-19 people were under stress because it was lockdown, some of the people lost their jobs, some lost their loved ones, and some had trouble with food intake because of unemployment.

 

All of these conditions are a form of emotional stress. These people were not suffering from COVID-19 but it had an impact on their lives and they were stressed due to the situation. This also led them to temporary hair loss. When people are isolated they lose their social life leaving them in anxiety which is also a form of emotional stress and it is a very precarious time for all people.

 

Hence, this pandemic not only proved problematic for patients but also for normal people who did not acquire COVID-19.

 

Takeaway message

So, this can be manifested that massive hair loss might be one of the long-term effects of COVID, but it is not only limited to this infection but also infections like influenza, measles, or even the common cold. 

 

Coronavirus also has other long-term effects like blood vessel problems, lung or liver damage and we can count hair shedding too but it is just a result of stress, not the virus specifically enters the scalp and damages it. All these facts mentioned above will make you get a perfect scenario of the maximum amount of stress leading to the maximum amount of hair shedding.

 

References

https://www.survivorcorps.com/reports

https://www.jpad.com.pk/index.php/jpad/article/view/1636

https://consultqd.clevelandclinic.org/covid-19-related-hair-loss/

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)32656-8/fulltext

https://myhealthguide.org/hair-loss/