Is the virus making your hair fall out?
We are seeing an uptick in the numbers of mostly women noticing sudden hair loss in the last year…is it related to Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel new coronavirus that is terrorizing the globe? The answer is YES!
How is possible that Covid-19 can cause hair loss? I explain to my hair loss patients, while everyone loses some hair daily, excessive hair loss can be due to a variety of factors, including, age, heredity, specific medical conditions, hormonal imbalances and medications. We can now add Covid-19 to that list! (Read article, “You’re Not Imagining It: The Pandemic Is Making Your Hair Fall Out”)
Covid-19 infection can cause a massive strain on the body, similar to the stress of any severe illness, operation, hospitalization, etc. When the body is under tremendous stress, “telogen effluvium1”, or massive sudden hair loss, can be a result. Also, many people are tragically losing family members to this terrible disease, and the stress of that loss, even if you yourself do not get physically sick, can also cause telogen effluvium and hair loss.
The sudden hair loss typically happens around 3-4 months after the severe stressor, so just when you thought you were getting better, boom, your hair falls out. Now, the good news is, this type of hair loss gets better on its own! But it is still terrifying when it happens.
AVOIDING HAIR LOSS DURING THE PANDEMIC
So what can you do about this? The following are some simple and easy lifestyle tips:
- 1. Try to avoid getting Covid-19 by all the usual methods we all know by now such as mask wearing, hand washing, social distancing, and getting vaccinated when you can.
2. Take good care of yourself to reduce stress on your body and mind, so self-care such as sleeping well, eating well, getting regular exercise helps reduce stress on the body.
3. Take a multivitamin if you are concerned your diet is not great to make sure you get the vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy hair.
4. Wash your hair as much as you need to. Do not be afraid of washing, washing does not cause hair loss. If you wash once a week or every day, the same amount will come out and it is normal to lose up to 130-140 hairs a day.
5. Rogaine can stimulate hair growth so if you can tolerate it on your scalp, try it, it is easily purchased over the counter.
If you are concerned about your hair loss, see a board-certified dermatologist who is a trained expert in skin and hair to find out what is causing your hair loss and how to treat it. There are a number of solutions to restore hair loss but it begins with an accurate diagnosis.
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Many of my hair loss patients are treated at my practice with PRP or platelet-rich plasma injections which can help, but are often not necessary for treating telogen effluvium which remember, gets better on its own!
1Telogen effluvium is the name for a cause of temporary hair loss due to the excessive shedding of resting or telogen hair after some shock to the system.