Can COVID-19 cause hair loss?

COVID19 is a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is highly infectious and is accompanied by a very specific sets of symptoms. Among its most distinctive symptoms we have fever, cough and shortness of breath among others.

However, for people who already suffer from hair loss or who are concerned about the issue is a bigger problem. It does not mean that these people are superficial or vain, hair loss, although it is not a life-threatening issue, it is really an adversely life-changing problem for those who suffer it.

Woman losing hair on hairbrush

Answering the question if COVID-19 can cause hair loss, the answer is yes. Anyone experiencing a high fever episode, as with COVID-19 patients, it is highly likely to experience premature hair loss of the Telogen Effluvium type. Telogen Effluvium is a temporary nature type of hair loss, which can be caused by various alterations that can affect the natural life cycle of hair.

Studies reveal that by experiencing a fever greater than 101 ° F (38.3 ° C) it is possible to interrupt the hair’s natural life cycle, resulting in the thinning of hair that grows again after having a hair shedding episode. This process is known as the miniaturization of the hair follicles.

Our follicles generally remain active in their anagen phase or growth phase for a period of approximately 3-7 years, producing an average length of ¼ to ½ inch per month. Any interruption to this cycle culminates in the replacement of terminal (healthy) hair by intermediate (fine) or vellus type of hair (very short and colorless). When the situation recurs in the same affected follicle and does not stop, the next stage after miniaturization is called follicular scarring or cicatricial. Follicular scarring (hair follicle death) means that the follicle can never again produce any form of hair or vellus.

The possibility of permanent damage increases as corrective actions are not taken. Various studies show that most people who suffer from hair loss take around 3-5 years before deciding to do something about it. At this point the cosmetic effects can be devastating. The ability to hide or conceal baldness by various styles or even apply color to hair becomes very difficult. Many people, out of ignorance or despair, decide to address their situation by using hair fiber (similar to colored talc), products to color their scalp, micropigmentation (a type of tattoo technique that simulates the appearance of active follicles) or even the use of hair extensions and / or prosthetic pieces. Hair extensions can further damage the follicles by means of unnecessary traction which ends up pulling the hair even further, causing it to break or to shed. The use of prosthetic (wig type) or hair systems attached to the scalp should only be considered when the patient can no longer even be a candidate for hair transplant.

It is imperative to recognize the signs of hair loss and hair shedding to take timely action. In the case of infections that cause high fevers, it is important to reduce body temperature with medications such as acetaminophen, use ice packs under the armpits, baths with cold water, among other measures. In addition, your physician can treat and recommend other alternatives to reduce fever. Generally, premature hair loss manifests itself after 2 to 6 weeks after the first episode of high fever. In some cases, depending on the severity of the infection and / or the side effects of their medications, it is possible to observe significant hair loss for a longer period.

HairMax LaserBand 82

The recommendations in these cases are generally to stimulate and try to extend the anagen phase of the hair follicle. There are different methods and techniques that can help prolong the anagen phase of the follicle. Options range from improving nutrition to the follicle through food intake, improving food absorption, nutritional supplements, as well as direct application of nutrients to the scalp, facilitating the energy processes of the follicle, improving blood vascularity through various stimulation devices and / or topical solutions, low level laser therapy, galvanic current and / or high frequency therapies, specialized massages, among other types of therapies and / or treatments.

As Certified Trichologists, after a due process of evaluation of the client / patient, we identify the different types of treatment and service protocols to attend the hair loss and / or hair shedding. When we combine different stimulation strategies at the same time, we achieve greater benefits and faster results. Although results per client / patient vary, it is important to recognize that preventing hair loss and / or hair shedding and maintaining healthy hair follicles is the best alternative when identifying early signs.

However, when the patient is already experiencing permanent visible hair loss, it is possible to maintain and even recover part of the lost hair (but only for the existing follicles). For areas on the scalp that cannot recover hair due to scarred follicles, there are surgical alternatives such as hair transplant in its various forms. It is important that prior to any surgery, the factors that caused the hair loss be corrected. Although the follicles relocated during the transplant remain solid, if the surrounding follicles are affected over time, it causes us to lose the cosmetic benefits of the surgery.

For more information about our trichology services, you can contact our offices at (787)740-8596 or write to our email info@trikhos.net You can also follow us on the social media on Facebook @Trikhos by Sergio Cardona or Instagram @SERGIOCARDONA.WTS