COVID-19 has turned the world upside down and changed the way we work, play, and socialize with those around us. Medical doctors and researchers are working as fast as they can to learn as much as they can about the Coronavirus; including its side effects. Many individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 have reported experiencing hair thinning and/or hair loss. Does COVID-19 cause hair loss? Here is what you need to know.
Does COVID-19 Cause Hair Loss?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hair loss is not on the list of COVID-19 symptoms. The reason is that doctors do not believe that the virus directly causes hair loss. It is more thought to be an indirect side effect of the tremendous amount of stress the virus can put the body under. The extreme emotional and physical stress can lead to a temporary hair loss condition called telogen effluvium.
What is Telogen Effluvium?
This is a common hair loss condition that typically happens 2-3 months after the body has endured a stressful event such as major surgery, having a baby, traumatic incident, etc. When the body experiences extremely high levels of physical or emotional stress, the body enters survival mode. This means it redirects all of its resources to essential functions. Hair growth is not essential to survival, so the nutrients needed to maintain a normal hair growth cycle are redirected elsewhere. This results in hair shedding because the majority of hair follicles enter the resting phase much sooner than they would under normal circumstances.
Hair Follicle Growth Cycle
There are three phases to the hair follicle growth cycle:
- Growth (anagen) - During this phase, hair follicles are growing new strands of hair. The majority of hair strands at any given time are in the growth phase.
- Resting (catagen) - During this phase, the strands of hair are neither growing nor falling out. They are simply 'resting'.
- Shedding (telogen) - During this phase, strands of hair fall out in preparation for new growth.
Temporary hair loss can last anywhere from 6-9 months before normal hair growth resumes.
How is Hair Loss From COVID-19 Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of telogen effluvium resulting from stress caused by COVID-19 is usually done so through the process of elimination. A thorough examination and blood work is usually conducted to rule out any underlying medical conditions such as a nutritional deficiency or thyroid issue. This also includes looking at whether the individual was treated and/or hospitalized after a positive COVID-19 test result. For many, COVID-19 is severe and can place tremendous stress on the body as it fights off the virus.
Risk Factors Hair Loss Caused by COVID-19
The way each person reacts to COVID-19 is different. While some who tested positive barely showed any symptoms at all, other fight the virus off with the aid of modern medicine. There are thought to be 3 risk factors associated with COVID-19 hair loss
- Genetic predisposition - The way your body reacts to illnesses, stress, and traumatic events has a lot to do with your genetic make-up. It is very likely that genetics play a large part in whether you are at risk for experiencing temporary hair loss after battling COVID-19.
- Nutrition - Those who are eating a well-balanced diet are at less of a risk of developing prolonged malnutrition that results in temporary hair loss due to COVID-19.
- Stress level - Those with higher stress levels are at a higher risk of experiencing hair loss after battling the Coronavirus.
Let New Look Institute Help
It can take months for your full head of hair to grow back after experiencing temporary hair loss from COVID-19. No worries! The good news is that New Look Institute can help you enjoy a full head of hair while promoting natural hair growth. As the leading hair restoration studio in San Jose, our hair stylists will conduct a thorough analysis and provide you with viable solutions such as laser hair growth therapy, topical thickening and regrowth products and even high-quality custom wigs while you wait for your natural hair to grow back in. Schedule your free hair analysis today!
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