Every new day brings news of some additional features of the coronavirus. Every day, scientists learn more about it. It has been more than a year and a half since the arrival of the virus. As a result, by the research done so far, scientists have come up with a long list of clinical symptoms caused by COVID-19. Still, that list isn’t complete yet. It gets updated with the arrival of new features. This time, it’s COVID-19 and hair loss.
We are living through a once-a-century pandemic. COVID-19 has crippled every aspect of our daily life. It has caused millions of infections around the world and thousands of people have succumbed to it. This disease has is caused by a novel type of coronavirus called SARS-COV-2. Research is going on to understand all the aspects of this virus and the disease caused by it.
What does the research say about COVID-19 hair loss?
We all know that COVID-19 is a debilitating disease. It can cause severe shortness of breath. It can even put many patients on ventilators in ICU. With rigorous treatment and high care by healthcare professionals, many of these patients survive, get sifted back to COVID-19 wards, and ultimately get discharged after getting better. However, many of these patients are reporting a disappointing problem.
That’s right, it’s hair loss.
Hair loss has become one of the most debated subjects among the novel coronavirus survivors. However, it is not one of the established clinical features of the COVID-19. The World health organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have not yet included it in their lists of features of COVID-19.
Social media has played a huge part in the discovery and rectification of this problem. Just recently, someone had posted: “I have been seeing my hair fall for the last few weeks. My hairline has receded. Whenever I touch my hair during the shower, they just come out in my hands. I can’t properly comb my hair now.”
After a rush of posts in which people were complaining of hair loss, a survey was conducted in the Facebook group Survivors Corps. More than a quarter of patients, who survived the virus, reported hair loss among many other symptoms that they were suffering. More than 1400 people participated in this survey.
What is the scientific explanation for this hair loss?
Doctors are coming up with explanations for hair loss in survivors. They believe that Telogen Effluvium is the mechanism of hair loss in COVID-19 patients. According to them, telogen effluvium is a temporary condition causing hair loss after suffering from a disease, undergoing a surgical procedure, or any stressful event.
There has been an increase in the reporting of cases of hair loss around the globe. Researchers are now analyzing the data pouring in to understand the prevalence of hair loss in such patients and the mechanism of such hair loss. Persons suffering from telogen effluvium start experiencing hair loss about two to three months after getting sick or facing major stress in their life.
There are reports of telogen effluvium even in people who never contracted coronavirus. This is intriguing and self-explanatory at the same time. Overall stress, sadness, sense of helplessness, ramped up unemployment, worrying about catching coronavirus, or adjusting to life in quarantine have all contributed to it.
The death of a loved one due to pandemic is another major stress that is debilitating many families. Many doctors, hair loss experts particularly, have confirmed an overall increase in cases of hair loss at their clinics.
What is Telogen Effluvium?
Telogen effluvium is the temporary loss or thinning of air that can happen all around the scalp. Its mechanism is attributed to different growth phases of hair with about 90% of hairs in the growth phase at any given time. But when your body is under stress, it moves into a “conservation type mode,” altering the hair cycle.
This changed hair cycle causes more hair strands to enter into the resting phase, leading to more shedding. No one can deny the importance of hair in maintaining the normal contour and beauty of a person. However, when you’re under stress, your body focuses on functions more important than cosmetics: such as supplying blood to the brain and keeping the lungs breathing.
So, while it is normal for people to shred 100-150 hairs a day, telogen effluvium is when the numbers exceed that exponentially. Even hundreds of hairs might fall out.
Shredding of this hair is all around the scalp. It is the reason why survivors don’t notice any bald patches in the area of his scalp and face.
Does coronavirus directly cause hair loss?
It’s hard to answer this question. Hair loss in coronavirus patients is a widespread reality. Stress associated with this disease is also a reality. But is there something new about this coronavirus that may specifically and directly cause hair loss? Well, this has not been proven yet, though the possibility of any such direct link can’t be ruled out.
Will your hair grow back?
Most of the time, hair loss due to telogen effluvium is not permanent. Your hair will grow back in around two months. You would see it starting with the appearance of short hair strands at the front hairline. So yes, your lovely hair will grow back.
How can you grow back your hair faster?
- The accurate answer to this question is to consult your doctor. Doctor, dermatologist-to be precise, can assess the extent and nature of your hair fall. They may advise you on some blood tests to make sure that you’re not suffering from any other medical condition that may exacerbate your hair loss.
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and giving special care to your hair while washing them or combing them may speed up the regrowth of your hair.
- Certain essential oils might help according to this research.
- You should take optimum rest and sleep well.
- Use safe and effective personal care products.
Which diet should you use?
Consume a balanced and healthy diet containing all the important contents of food such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, etc. Double up the intake of fresh fruits and their juices. Consider taking multivitamin supplements after consultation with your doctor.
The bottom line
Don’t be panic; your hair will regrow and will go back to its normal pattern. Just give it some time and stay healthy!