Hair Loss, An Unexpected Consequence of COVID-19 Infection

As we enter the third year of COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve become aware of the various short and long term effects of the disease. 

Yet, you might be surprised to learn that one of them is hair loss. In one study that looked at the long-term consequences of a COVID-19 infection, 22 percent of people who were hospitalized experienced hair loss six months after their infection. 

This symptom has been largely attributed to an unprecedented level of stress and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Read on to learn more.

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How Do Emotional and Physical Stress Affect Hair Loss?

Hair loss can be caused by various factors: genetics, age, certain medical conditions, or even poor nutrition. However, one that is often cited is stress. Indeed, science supports the notion that significant emotional stress may be directly linked to hair loss.

Recently, researchers from the National Institute of Health were able to demonstrate how a stress hormone impairs stem cells necessary for hair growth in mice.

COVID-19 induced stress and hair loss

Any physical stressor or trauma that disrupts hormone levels in the body can trigger hair loss. Some, like pregnancy, are self-limiting, and hair will generally re-grow at normal rates within a matter of months after childbirth. However, continual stress and anxiety such as the one caused by the prolonged pandemic of COVID-19 can have a major impact on the entire body, including the hair follicles.

Hair loss after fever and illness

Temporary hair loss is also common after a fever or illness, and fever is indeed a prevalent symptom of COVID-19. A few months after experiencing high fever or after recovering from the illness caused by COVID-19 infection, many people reported seeing noticeable hair loss. Interestingly, while many people think of this as hair loss, it’s actually hair shedding. The medical name for this type of hair shedding is telogen effluvium.

What is Telogen Effluvium?

Telogen effluvium is a non-scarring hair loss that usually emerges 3 months after the stressful event that causes hair shedding and may last up to 6 months. It occurs when there’s a change to the number of hair follicles that are actually growing hair. If this change takes place during the telogen — or resting — phase of hair growth, it can result in shedding. Large amounts of a person’s hair might fall out, but it is often temporary, and the hair usually grows back.

What causes telogen effluvium?

Telogen effluvium can be triggered by a number of factors, including:

  • Severe stress. Prolonged periods after a stressful event such as COVID-19 pandemic can result in telogen effluvium.
  • Poor diet or sudden weight loss. Hair requires key nutrients including protein, iron, B-vitamins, and zinc to grow. A shortage of these nutrients may affect the quality and quantity of a person’s hair.
  • Pregnancy and childbirth or menopause. During pregnancy, more hair is in the growth phase for longer. Hormonal changes after childbirth and during menopause can cause hair to shed.
  • Underlying health conditions and certain drugs. These can include autoimmune disease, conditions that affect the thyroid gland, and alopecia areata. Certain medications and recreational drugs can also cause hair loss.
  • Surgery. Depending on the type of procedure, length of stay in hospital, medications, and overall nutritional status.

How do you treat telogen effluvium?

Treatment for telogen effluvium (TE) depends on what is triggering the hair loss. Once the trigger has been established and addressed, the hair cycle should normalize and hair will begin to grow back. However, if the hair does not restore itself, expert help may be needed.

Solutions to Restore Your Hair Growth After a COVID-19 Infection

It hasn’t been scientifically proven that hair loss after COVID-19 is caused by the virus attacking hair follicles. Instead, it’s most likely a reaction to the physiological and emotional stress brought on by the disease. Therefore, solutions that target both the emotional and physical causes of hair loss are required.

Since COVID-19 related hair loss seems to be caused more by stress and anxiety and not the disease itself, it is extremely important to find ways to reduce them to begin with. Remember that while no one can avoid all stress,there are ways to increase your potential to recover by following these tips:

  1. Focus on good nutrition. Consuming a healthy, balanced diet can help to combat stress. Avoid nicotine and alcohol.
  2. Exercise regularly. In addition to its physical health benefits, exercise has been shown to be a powerful stress reliever.
  3. Study and practice relaxation techniques. Taking the time to relax every day helps to manage stress and to protect the body from the effects of stress.
  4. Reduce stress triggers and assert yourself. Asking for help when it’s appropriate, setting priorities, pacing yourself, and saying “NO” to demands that may place too much stress on you.
  5. Set realistic goals and expectations. Be mindful of the things you can control and work on accepting the things that you can’t control.

Consider getting medical help if hair loss caused by COVID-19 or other trauma still occurs after 6 months. One widely recommended non-surgical medical solution is PRP (platelet-rich plasma). 

PRP Therapy is an innovative hair restoration treatment that works by injecting concentrated platelets from the patient’s own blood into areas of the scalp. Platelet Rich Plasma injections nourish, stimulate and revive active and dormant hair follicles. The procedure is meant to recruit new hairs to grow, and invigorate and revitalize existing hair.


Most studies have attributed hair loss after COVID-19 infection to the high level of stress and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s no clear evidence yet that the COVID-19 virus directly causes this hair loss.
Hair loss due to telogen effluvium usually occurs 3 months after the stressful event such as COVID-19 that causes hair shedding.
Most people lose up to 100 hairs per day. In telogen effluvium, the loss may be closer to 300 hairs per day, and this can continue for several months. More hair may fall out while brushing or when washing in the shower. There could also be a visible thinning of the hair.
If you’re experiencing a stressful event, such as COVID-19 infection, there may be some steps you can take to prevent hair loss. This includes having good nutrition, managing stress, and taking the time to exercise.
It’s a good idea to see an expert if your hair loss lasts more than 6 months. There may also be some treatments available while you wait for the hair to regrow.
One often recommended non-surgical treatment that’s proven safe and effective to reverse hair loss is PRP (platelet-rich plasma).

PRP is a groundbreaking medical treatment that improves hair thickness, stimulates hair regrowth and naturally reverses thinning hair.

When PRP is injected into the skin, the injection causes minor inflammation that activates the platelets and allows them to do what they do best: generate growth.

Platelets do this by releasing healing proteins called growth factors.

When concentrated platelets are injected their impact is greatly magnified, (which is what happens during the PRP treatment), boosting natural processes and rejuvenating and restoring your hair.

PRP Injections are highly effective for both women and men

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