There has been an influx of hair loss after testing positive for Covid. We help answer the big question…
November through January, the United States had an incredible resurgence of Covid cases. Since then, there has been an increased awareness of individuals claiming that after testing positive for Covid, they see thinner hair, increased shedding, and a change in hair texture or feel. So is there a direct correlation between testing positive for Covid and experiencing hair loss?
The answer is not an easy one.
The direct answer is no. Hair loss has not been directly linked as a side effect of having Covid, nor has it been listed as a symptom of Covid. That said, experiencing hair loss after testing positive for Covid is happening, but not the way we think. It is not Covid that is causing hair loss, but rather the stress that Covid places on the body, in combination with the already increased levels of daily stress that everyone is currently facing. This is known as Telogen Effluvium.
Stress affects the body in many ways – One way is hair loss.
Our hairs grow in a constant growth cycle, rest, shedding, and regrowth. We shed around 80 to 100 hairs daily in a healthy hair growth cycle. However, this cycle can be disrupted by stress or stressors such as Covid, causing hair roots to be pushed prematurely into the resting state. This is known as Telogen Effluvium. The more common name for this is stress-related hair loss, recognized when the body sheds significantly more than 80 to 100 hairs daily. Stress can ultimately be one of hairs’ greatest enemies.
Telogen Effluvium has one main symptom: excessive hair shedding, usually triggered by stress. Of course, we all have some degree of stress in our daily lives; however, the stress outside the norm of the everyday stressors can cause excess hair loss. Some examples of stressors that may trigger excessive shedding can include the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, undergoing surgery with anesthesia, giving birth to a new child, and Covid.
Stress can be a constant factor in some people’s lives, turning stress-related hair loss from an isolated incident into a chronic condition. Some, like firefighters, may experience continuous stress from their occupation, while others experience constant stress from a loss of a job, a family member, anxiety, depression, or insomnia. In addition, excessive hair shedding can be very stressful, and while it usually is temporary, if not properly detected and treated, it can create a perpetual cycle of hair loss.
Three to Six Months After Covid
The influx of positive cases of Covid during November through January aligns with when individuals begin to see excessive shedding caused by stress. Excessive hair shedding caused by the stress that Covid places on the body occurs three to six months after testing positive.
In some cases, hair can recover and return to its normal growth cycle. In other cases, hair can begin to diffuse, grow thinner, become dormant, or be lost permanently if stress levels remain elevated.
Here’s What NOT to do…
If you have begun to notice increased shedding, especially when brushing hair or washing hair, it is essential not to stop shampooing and brushing hair.
Shampooing hair daily is recommended – the key is with the right type of shampoo. A shampoo that has a mild detergent in it is what’s recommended for shampooing hair daily. Most people have a concern that “if I shampoo my hair, more hair will fall out.” This statement is just not true.
When hairs are released from the scalp, whether from the typical growth cycle or stress-related loss from Coivd-19, the hairs do not just fall from the head to the floor. The other hair strands hold onto them – think velcro. When we wash and brush our hair, the hairs that have already been released from the scalp are removed from the other hair strands – which, although it can seem stressful, is good!
For example, balanced shedding (daily non-stress-related shedding) is 80-100 hairs a day. So if you go 3-4 days without shampooing your hair, you could be seeing 300-400 hairs a day – NOT including the shedding caused by stress-related hair loss. This can only add stress and continue the stress-related hair loss cycle (Telogen Effluvium).
Discover the Health of Your Hair & Scalp
Unfortunately, the stress that Covid has placed on everyone’s lives affects our hair and our scalps. Not only is hair shedding and loss a problem, increased oiliness, itch, and dandruff have also picked up.
Now is the time to begin making changes to your hair and scalp health to help combat stress-related hair loss and other scalp concerns before they lead to bigger hair and scalp problems. The more you do today, the better your hair and scalp will be for years to come.
Don’t be like most people who think there must be a shampoo that will prevent the problems you are experiencing. Our exclusive ScalpCheck gives you an in-depth analysis designed to help determine the health of your hair and scalp. This allows us to customize a hair and scalp care protocol based on your specific needs. Ultimately, treating Covid related hair scalp problems and helping you have beautiful, healthy hair and scalp for years to come.