COVID-19 Hair Loss and Thinning. What Can You Do?

COVID-19 Hair Loss and Thinning. What Can You Do?

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all directly through infection or indirectly in so many ways.

For some, the long-term effects after the initial infection can linger for an indefinite period.  For others, the stress of the ongoing pandemic is ongoing. Whether through direct illness or stress of coping, many people also suffer hair loss or hair thinning. 

How COVID-19 Affects Hair Loss

According to The Lancet, over 20% of people hospitalized suffer hair loss within the six months following.  But people with milder symptoms are also suffering hair loss as well.  Telogen effluvium (stress-related hair loss) cases have increased with over a 400% rise in cases reported since the pandemic's start. Even more, is that this reported hair loss is highest in women of color. 

What Can You Do to Help Prevent Stress-Related Hair Loss?

Usually, hair loss due to telogen effluvium will start about 2 to 3 months after having COVID-19 or some other stressful life event. Hair will regrow after telogen effluvium, and there are steps you can take to support hair regrowth.

Ensuring proper nutrition

Nutrition plays a crucial role in hair growth and overall health.  Foods rich in protein like eggs and fish like salmon, berries, nuts, and spinach, to name a few, are all great for hair growth and overall health.

Managing stress

Too much stress affects us all negatively.  Take time to relax; even 5 minutes a day is a great way to manage stress.  Exercise is a great way to relax your mind and body to fight stress.

Take care of your scalp and hair

Healthy hair starts at the scalp. A healthy scalp creates optimal conditions to help prevent hair loss or regrow hair after hair loss. In addition, hair follicles need stimulation to help promote new hair growth.

Other Ways to Help Decrease Hair Loss

How you treat your hair is essential. Along with nutrition, stress management, and scalp care, you will also want to consider:

  • Avoid hairstyles that pull on the hair, such as ponytails or tight braids
  • Avoid excessive heat
  • Avoid chemical treatments to the hair.
  • Use a shampoo and conditioner that is moisturizing and sulfate-free

The Bottom Line

Hair loss is difficult to cope with regardless of the cause.  It is essential to be patient and realize that your hair will grow back — but it may take some time. These steps above will help you care for your hair and promote healthy regrowth.  If you experience an extended period of hair loss (over six months) or have other symptoms, see your healthcare provider.