In our clinics, we are seeing an increasing number of patients experiencing hair loss after COVID-19. For this reason, we wanted to share information about this type of hair loss. The best dermatologists know that hair loss can be very stressful for those troubled with it. We hope this information reduces some of your stress during these trying times.
Hair Loss After COVID-19
Hair loss, otherwise known as alopecia, is not common after COVID-19 infection. However, it is something that we are seeing more often because of the sheer volume of people who have had this virus. On the upside, it’s generally good news about the prognosis for this type of alopecia.
Telogen Effluvium (Hair Shedding)
The specific type of hair loss associated with COVID-19 is called telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium is quite common and usually occurs when there has been a shock to your system. It develops because of a major stressful event in someone’s life, including both medical and psychological stresses. In most cases, about 2 to 3 months after the stressful event happens, we will start to shed hair in abnormally high amounts. People will notice increasing amounts of hair in their brush, shower, towel, or on their pillow. Some people even have large clumps of hair that are lost.
What to expect
There is good news and bad news about what to expect. However, the bad news really isn’t all that bad. The good news is that hair loss after COVID-19 is usually self-limited. In other words, it will generally stop on its own without treatment. The bad news, it may take 3 to 6 months to stop shedding hair. On top of that, it may take 6-12 months for the hair to regrow. Most people will regrow all their hair. However, if you have a predisposition towards hair thinning, you may not regrow all of the lost hair.
Though COVID-19 is a relatively new virus, telogen effluvium has been with humankind throughout the entirety of our existence. This condition can be a side effect of physical or emotional stress. Common circumstances that we see in our clinics include other extremely stressful events such as major illnesses, major surgery, pregnancy, rapid weight loss, and certain medications.
Hair Restoration Tips
We do have a few important tips to share to ease this process for you and accelerate the hair growth cycle. Before trying any of these, keep in mind that in most cases the best approach is to just give it time and let things take their natural course. Any effect that these treatments may have on your hair loss will be slight at best.
Biotin is a vitamin (B7) that is readily available over the counter. At doses of 5,000-10,000 MCG daily, studies show this vitamin aids in hair growth. Note Biotin treatment should be stopped at least a few days before getting your thyroid tested as it may artificially alter the results of thyroid blood testing. For this reason, tell the doctor if you have taken vitamin B7 supplements recently.
Rogaine 5% foam is indicated for male and female pattern hair loss. However, we find that it can speed recovery for those suffering from telogen effluvium. Unlike with its use for pattern hair loss, where it is to be used indefinitely to maintain hair, with telogen effluvium, we generally recommend stopping it once you have recovered.
Hairstyling practices can help reduce the visibility of hair loss. In most cases, wigs are generally never needed. However, curly hair tends to look fuller and limits signs of hair loss. Think about how changing the styling of your hair may help. Also, you might consider using a shampoo that adds body to hair.
Stress is the leading cause of telogen effluvium. If you are stressed about hair loss, that is totally normal. However, keep in mind that this stress can invade your life to the point of becoming an obsession. We encourage patients to make a considerable effort to not even think about the hair they are losing more than once a month. Make a short journal note on a predetermined day about the overall amount of hair you lose that day with grooming. The rest of the month, try to avoid thinking about it. This serves two purposes. First, it helps you reduce your stress about hair loss. In fact, stress may worsen hair loss! Also, it helps you get a better perspective over a longer period of time about everything going on with the alopecia.
We hope you find this information helpful in your journey. Keep in mind that there are numerous other causes of telogen effluvium. Therefore, if the problem is persistent or seems excessive, consider seeing one of our dermatology providers in consultation. At Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands, we have vast experience diagnosing and treating disorders of the hair.
Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands | Best Dermatologist Omaha & Council Bluffs, IA | Board Certified Dermatologists
At Advanced Dermatology the Midlands Our vision is to deliver the highest level of dermatological care, using the most advanced technology and evidence-based medicine in a personalized and compassionate environment. Contact us to schedule a consultation. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]