Hair Loss & the Side Effects of COVID
“Hair loss is one of the top 15 most common side effects COVID patient’s experience.”
What a scary headline, but it gets even scarier when you hear the entire thing.
“Some cases (of hair loss) are because of contracting COVID and others are from an intense level of stress on everyday life the pandemic has brought with it,” says Beverly Hills, CA hair restoration specialist Dr. Craig Ziering. “The most significant is that hair loss is one of the top 15 most common side effects COVID patient’s experience.”
COVID-19 did record certain side effects that affect both survivors and non-survivors alike. However, in recent times, many who have contracted the virus and those who haven’t, have had to face some very disturbing news about the relationship between the pandemic and their sudden hair loss.
The condition itself is more similar to hair shedding, and experts have identified it as telogen effluvium (TE).
As far as hair shedding goes, telogen effluvium (TE) is not a new condition suddenly developed during the pandemic, but an existing condition that appears unexpectedly and after a triggering event. In this case, stress and ill health seem to be the triggers.
The Mechanism of Telogen Effluvium (TE)
TE happens when a stressor triggers the loss of a large amount of hair by forcing it to enter the telogen phase. The telogen phase causes hair to rest and stop growing for 2 to 3 months before it sheds. TE includes triggers like stress and fever that are common with COVID-19 patients and most people who felt stressed during the pandemic.
“This level of physical and emotional stress negatively impacts general health and well-being. This ‘shock’ on the system breaks down the hair growth cycle, causing it to get ‘stuck’ in the telogen or resting phase which ends with the hair shedding or falling out.” Explains Dr. Ziering.
Is it gender-based?
No. Experts like Dr. Ziering, who have had an increasing number of patients with TE confirm that this hair loss due to COVID-19 is not gender-based. It’s been seen to affect both men and women equally.
Can it be cured?
Regardless of if you experience hair loss as a side effect of COVID-19 or not, telogen effluvium is a condition that can return to normal on its own. Yes, regrowth happens slowly and your dermatologist can provide regeneration plans to help.
In Dr. Ziering’s practice, “We have been treating this condition long before COVID. While there are not ‘advances per se,’ we have more treatment options and proven therapeutics than ever before to restart and reset the hair cycle when the hair follicles are ‘shocked’ into the telogen phase at a high rate. Most of our COVID- and stress-related hair-loss patients are on hair-regeneration treatment plans that include a combination of prescription topicals, supplements, laser therapy, and some stem cell injections with Amnio-Z and Exosomes. But it is a waiting game with stabilizing the hair cycle and then giving time for the hair regrowth to begin.”
Read more from I On The Scene: HERE.