As if contracting COVID-19 wasn’t bad enough, it turns out that pandemic is making hair loss more common too. It’s not just hair loss as a side effect of the virus; hair loss has become a problem even for those who are healthy.
COVID-Related Hair Loss
One symptom of COVID-19 infection is a form of hair loss called “telogen effluvium” (TE). This is a gradual form of increased hair loss. In this case, that happens two to three months after the infection, which is sooner than for normal TE.
It’s still being studied, so we don’t know exactly why the virus causes hair loss. One explanation is that the stress from dealing with being sick might be enough to trigger it. That’s both stress to the mind because of the risks involved, and stress to the body because of the damage the virus does, and how hard the immune system has to work to deal with it. In fact, people who were in a hospital, people with hypertension, people with respiratory symptoms, and people with severe cases of COVID-19 all had more severe hair loss. Women also seem to be more prone to develop TE because of COVID.
What if I Don’t Get COVID?
There are plenty of people who have noticed increased hair loss during the pandemic, even if they never got COVID. This has a much easier explanation: psychological stress. Quarantine, pandemic closures, and just general changes to everyday life are more than enough to cause temporary hair loss. You would notice this after about two months after significant stress, but since the pandemic is ongoing, it might be hard to distinguish it from persistent hair loss.
What’s worse is that finding out you’re losing hair just adds to the stress, making the problem worse. That’s why it’s important to learn to deal with stress, in whichever way works best for you.
Do Vaccinations Cause Hair Loss?
There is a myth that COVID vaccinations can cause hair loss, but thankfully there’s no evidence to suggest that it’s the vaccine that causes it. There is one type of hair loss called alopecia areata that causes your immune system to attack your hair cells. Vaccines boost your immune system’s activity, so for people with this rare condition, they might lose a bit more hair than usual. For everyone else, the vaccines are safe for you. If you find you’re losing hair after taking a vaccine, it’s probably just stress, but contact a medical professional if it gets really bad.
If you’ve noticed more hair loss than normal, don’t panic. There are ways to deal with hair loss, including non-surgical options, and the best way to figure out what’s best for your particular situation is to consult a hair loss expert. The sooner you deal with it, the more hair you can save. You can schedule a free consultation with Dr. Imami below to get started with your hair loss plan.