Hair Loss After Covid: Everything You Need to Know

Amisha Jain
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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clump of hair falling

Covid came with many symptoms like loss of taste and smell, fever, cough, etc. But we did not know that covid and hair loss came hand in hand.

Hair loss has been reported as one of the major side effects of Covid.

Patients have observed clumps of hair falling off while combing or washing their hair.

A study in the Lancet journal stated that 22% of patients who were hospitalized with Covid experienced hair loss post-illness.

But the good news is that this side effect is short lived and can be handled with slight effort.

Post Covid hair loss

Temporary hair loss is common after fever or an illness.

Many people experience noticeable hair fall around two to three months after their recovery.

They often confuse this with hair loss. But, in fact, this is hair shedding.

Medically, such temporary hair shedding is called acute Telogen Effluvium (TE).

It happens when more hair than normal enters the telogen phase of the hair cycle.

4 stages of hair growthSource: WowRxPharmacy
stages_of_hair_growth

Stress, both mental and physical, disrupts the growth-rest cycle of the hair.

For people who suffered Covid, fever or respiratory complications could be such stressors.

It is one of the major reasons that forces hair to prematurely enter the Telogen phase.

What happens in the Telogen phase?
Telogen is the resting phase of the hair when the new hair grows while the old hair rests on the head.
The hair sheds after this phase.
Early entrance in the Telogen phase hence leads to early shedding of the hair.

Dermatologist Powell Perng says that, normally, 5 to 10 percent of your hair follicles are in the telogen phase.

Post covid, this number increases to as much as 30 to 50 percent.

This could be a stressful thing to read, but don’t worry. (Or it will cause more hair fall!) 

There is always a solution. Keep reading to know about it.

Hair loss after Covid treatment

In most cases, Telogen Effluvium lasts for about three to six months.

But in long Covid patients, this condition might extend over six months and be called chronic TE.

It happens in less than 10 percent of Covid cases because of the increased stress that the body has experienced.

It was observed in a study compiled by PubMed and Google Scholar that micronutrients are essential in the development of the hair follicle.

The loss of taste and smell during Covid accounts for decreased appetite and hence nutritional deficiency.

Optimal nutrition, including hair growth supplements, can help reverse the effects of TE to a large extent.

They help to maintain the proper functioning of the immune system.

Following are some of the ways you can ensure that you are doing your bit to treat hair loss after Covid.

Nutrition

Consuming healthy foods rich in micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals (Iron, Zinc) should be your foremost priority.

You can include the following in your diet:

  • Fresh citric fruits and Vegetables
  • Healthy fats (seeds and nuts, olive oil, fish oil)
  • Whole grains (Oats, brown rice)
  • Lean meat, fish
  • Low-fat dairy products

Avoid products that contain refined carbohydrates (white bread), sugar, and saturated fats.

Warning
Consult your nutritionist before taking any supplements.

Oral supplements

Sometimes, just a good diet is not sufficient. Your body might need a little extra push if it has been stressed for a long time.

At times like these, taking oral supplements of vital nutrients is a smart way to move.

Multivitamins

supplements for treating hair loss after covidSource: ronstik from Getty Images
Multivitamins_for_hairfall_reduction

Biotin, also called Vitamin B7, helps in keratin production.

Keratin is a protein that makes up hair, nails, and skin’s outer layer.

Biotin is, therefore, one of the most popular nutrients in hair growth supplements.

Apart from it, Vitamin D and Vitamin E also contribute to hair growth.

Supplements of these vitamins might help fasten your hair growth journey post Covid.

Minerals

Minerals like Iron and Zinc have proven beneficial for hair growth for a long time now.

Zinc has qualities for hair follicle recovery. Hence, a deficiency of Zinc below baseline concentration might cause hair loss.

Also, Iron deficiency is the most commonly observed mineral deficiency worldwide and it causes hair loss.

Hence, incorporating zinc and iron supplements in your daily routine might help with your hair fall.

Marine-derived proteins

For those looking for a complementary treatment to reduce hair loss after Covid, marine proteins can be an excellent option.

The exact mechanism of how it works is still not explained. But, the available evidence supports their use.

Topical Minoxidil

Originally introduced as a hypertensive medication, Minoxidil is now a US FDA-approved medication for hair growth.

It is primarily used to treat Androgenic Alopecia, but some doctors also recommend it for TE.

It comes as foam and solution in different concentrations.

Products containing MinoxidilApprox cost
Hair 4u 5%$21.61
Tugain 5% $20.54

Post Covid hair loss remedy

home remedies for treating post-covid hair lossSource: areeya ann from Getty Images
Home_remedies_to_reduce_hairfall

Apart from treatment and medications, there are some home remedies for hair loss after covid that could help control your hair fall.

  • Since stress is one of the major causes of TE, de-stressing is the key. Engage in activities that bring you happiness
  • Massage your hair regularly with coconut oil. The oil nourishes your hair and massaging improves blood circulation
  • Using aloe vera gel as a hair mask might also improve hair growth
  • Since iron deficiency may cause hair fall, taking iron-rich food might also reduce hair loss like nuts, lentils, and vegetables, etc
  • Fenugreek is rich in protein. Hence, applying fenugreek paste to the hair might repair hair damage and promote hair growth
  • Indian gooseberry (Amla) is also a good source of nutrients. You can eat it whole, as powder or syrup to help hair shedding
  • A paste of beetroot and henna is also one of the hair loss remedies
  • A balanced diet, regular exercise, proper sleep, and meditation often go unnoticed as ways to attain overall wellness, including healthy hair

Takeaway

Covid and hair loss are closely related.

It is one of the most common post-Covid symptoms.

It is temporary and is medically called acute Telogen Effluvium (TE).

Hair loss appears about 3 months after you have recovered and takes another 6 to 9 months to subside.

Some lifestyle modifications, treatments, nutrition, and supplements can help combat the effects of TE.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my hair falling out after Covid?

The major cause of hair fall is stress, both physical and mental. The stressors that Covid creates, shock your body. This disrupts the growth-rest cycle of the hair follicle and causes hair fall.

Does Covid cause hair loss?

Yes, temporary hair loss (Telogen Effluvium) is a major side effect of Covid. It is caused due to the stress it puts on the body which disrupts the growth-rest cycle of the hair follicle.

How long does covid hair loss last?

Usually, hair loss after covid lasts for 6 to 9 months. Most people notice that the hair fall stops after it.

Citations:
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