People develop noticeable hair loss after recovering from COVID-19

If we’ve learned anything from the coronavirus pandemic, it’s to expect the unexpected during these unprecedented times. The hair loss that many people develop, however, may not be so unexpected. Here’s why.

When we are emotionally stressed, our adrenal glands control the release of a hormone in our body called cortisol. Cortisol signals the hair follicle to prematurely shift from the growth phase (anagen) to the rest phase, where the hair can no longer grow. Normally, the hair growth cycle will start again, but continued stress delays the process back to the growth phase. The hair shedding begins about two to three months after the stress starts. While seeing your hair fall out in clumps can add to your stress, it’s important to try to de-stress. Only when the stress ends will the excessive hair shedding stop.

Many patients being evaluated for hair loss have had noticeable hair loss months after recovering from COVID-19 and find that their hair is falling out in large clumps. Temporary hair loss is normal after any fever, illness, or pregnancy. Fever is a common symptom of COVID-19. A few months after having a high fever or recovering from an illness, many people can see noticeable hair loss.

While many people think of this as hair loss, it’s actually hair shedding. The medical name for this type of hair shedding is telogen effluvium. It happens when more hairs than normal enter the shedding (telogen) phase of the hair growth lifecycle at the same time. A fever or illness can force more hairs into the shedding phase.

Most people see noticeable hair shedding two to three months after having a fever or illness. Handfuls of hair can come out when you shower or brush your hair. This hair shedding can last for six to nine months before it stops. Most people then see their hair start to look normal again and stop shedding.

Telogen effluvium causes noticeable hair shedding, but that’s all you should experience. If you have a rash, itchy scalp, or burning, something other than telogen effluvium is likely causing your hair loss.

When the cause of your hair shedding is due to a fever, illness, or stress, hair tends to return to normal on its own. You just have to give it time. As your hair grows back, you’ll notice short hairs that are all the same length by your hairline. Most people see their hair regain its normal fullness within six to nine months.

What you can do:

Destress: Find ways to get calm, centered, and patient is important. Try breathing exercises, meditation, turning to people who can support you through this time is helpful. When the cause of your hair shedding is due to a fever, illness, or stress, hair tends to return to normal on its own. You just have to give it time. As your hair grows back, you’ll notice short hairs that are all the same length by your hairline. Most people see their hair regain its normal fullness within six to nine months.

Nutrafol Hair Growth Supplement: Improves hair growth with visibly more thickness and strength. Target root causes of thinning hair like stress, environment, and nutrition with medical-grade, natural ingredients that support your whole-body health

Nutrafol was formulated to promote hair growth for all hair types. While the characteristics of hair strands may vary by ethnicity, the underlying root causes that affect hair follicles can affect all people equally. In a recent clinical study, we examined the effectiveness of Nutrafol in African American, Asian, Hispanic, and Non-Hispanic men and women. All ethnicities saw less shedding after 2 months and improved thickness, growth rate, scalp coverage, and shine after 6 months.

Hair loss shampoos: These shampoos tend to do one of the following.

  • Help your hair hold moisture, which makes hair look fuller and thicker
  • Lessen breakage, which can reduce thinning

While hair loss shampoos may do the above, they cannot regrow hair or prevent hair loss from worsening.

Brush or comb your hair gently, and only enough to style it. Tugging on your hair while brushing or combing it can lead to hair loss.

If you smoke, stop. Smoking causes inflammation throughout the body, which can worsen hair loss.

Eat healthy. If you’re not getting enough of some nutrients, such as iron or protein, this can lead to hair loss.

Eating too few calories every day can also cause significant hair loss.

Find out whether you’re getting enough of certain vitamins or minerals. A blood test can tell you whether you’re not getting enough of certain nutrients. It’s important to understand that the supplements you see advertised for hair growth are not regulated. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they are sold. That responsibility lies with the company manufacturing the product. If you decide to try supplements, understand that they can do more harm than good. Getting too much of certain nutrients (including selenium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E) has been linked to hair loss.