Hair loss can be extremely demoralizing irrespective of your gender. But it’s even more frustrating when you can’t pinpoint the exact reasons behind the hair loss.
With the onset of Covid-19, many people have reported extreme and long-lasting hair loss post-infection. And if you’re one of those many people, don’t worry, you’re not imagining it.
Post-Covid hair loss is a very real thing and it’s affecting people across the world. Before you panic though, do note that the condition is not serious and it is ultimately reversible.
What you need is patience and some expert-backed treatments. In the following sections, we will discuss Covid hair loss and the treatment options in greater detail. Read on to learn more.
Table of Contents:
- Can Covid-19 cause hair loss? What’s the connection?
- Stress may be to blame for hair loss after Covid
- Covid Infection might also cause hair loss
- Can you re-grow your hair after Covid?
- Nutritional Changes
- Adequate Sleep
- Vitamins and Supplements
- Stress Management
- At-home Treatments
Can Covid-19 cause hair loss? What’s the connection?
Before we dive into treatment options, let’s first discuss this phenomenon. We’ll also cover the disease in detail so it’s easier for you to get the most targeted treatment option.
It’s important to know the exact cause behind Covid-related hair loss so you can get the most effective treatment option.
You wouldn’t treat stomach issues caused by indigestion the same as you would stomach issues caused by gallbladder stones right?
In much the same way, you need to know the exact cause and severity of hair loss to have the best chance of treatment success. This will also help you determine if you need medical assistance at all.
In most cases, at-home treatments, over-the-counter products, and self-care will work just as well to cure hair loss after Covid-19.
Stress may be to blame for hair loss after Covid
Some doctors believe that it is not the Covid infection that is causing hair loss. Hair loss post covid is in fact connected to the stress that usually accompanies Covid. In many cases, the conditions of the pandemic and the seemingly unending nature of it can result in hair loss.
If you’re wondering how exactly stress and hair loss are connected, you need to first know about the hair growth cycle.
Human hair growth is divided into three main cycles – the antigen (or growth phase), the catagen (or resting phase), and the telogen (or shedding phase).
In patients who have recovered from Covid, the resultant stress interrupts the normal hair growth cycle. Patients prematurely enter the telogen phase and then remain there.
This phenomenon is called telogen effluvium (TE). Telogen effluvium is a condition where hair loss is caused because of stressful events in a person’s life. These events can include, childbirth, surgery, extreme and unexpected stressors, and, in this case, prolonged illness.
Covid Infection might also cause hair loss
According to the experts, in some cases, the Covid-19 infection might also directly cause hair loss. Stress from lack of oxygen to the hair follicles, fever conditions, and disease pressure on the body can push hair follicles into the resting phase.
This is because the body shifts into survival mode during extreme illness, like Covid, to conserve energy for the most important functions. The doctors believe this may be one reason why hair growth is put on the backburner by the body.
The long length of a normal hair cycle means that hair loss after Covid can often go undetected. In many cases, hair loss might occur almost three months after infection.
This is also why doctors recommend that patients maintain a journal documenting the hair loss and severity. The dates can help pinpoint Covid-related hair loss, which would help patients in seeking the best treatment.
Can you re-grow your hair after Covid?
According to experts, hair loss after Covid is completely reversible. However, it can take around 3 to 6 months for the hair growth to return to normal.
In case the hair loss problem persists for more than 6 months, it is advisable to get medical assistance to rule out any other underlying factors.
Aside from the natural passage of time, there are some actionable things you can do to speed up hair growth and reduce hair loss. Let’s discuss these in detail below.
According to experts, not everyone experiences hair loss post-Covid-19 the same way. In fact, certain risk factors might make you more susceptible to hair loss after Covid.
One of them is your genetic disposition. While you obviously cannot fight genetics, nutrition plays a huge role in regrowing hair and recovery post-Covid.
Iron, biotin, and Vitamin D are three nutrients that the body needs to grow hair. Eating foods rich in these nutrients can help in overturning hair loss after Covid.
Some foods that can help you with hair growth are eggs, spinach, avocados, whole grains, and meat. Egg yolks are an excellent source of protein and also contain biotin which helps in promoting hair growth and improving scalp health.
The deficiency of biotin can cause hair to become brittle. Therefore, including more biotin through different foods is essential for people experiencing Covid-related hair loss.
Tofu, chicken, fish, and dairy products are good alternatives for eggs to improve protein content in the body and promote hair growth. The consumption of spinach and other green leafy vegetables should also be increased as they contain essential vitamins like A, K, E, C, and B along with zinc, iron, and omega 3 fatty acids. These vitamins are great for improving collagen and keratin levels in the hair, which helps in promoting hair growth. Besides spinach, you can try kale, or collard greens.
Fish, on the other hand, is a great source of protein, selenium, and B vitamins, all of which help in promoting healthy hair. Some great choices for fish that provide these
nutrients are tuna, mackerel, salmon, and herring. As for your Vitamin C fix, consume more berries, cherries, apricots, grapes, and oranges, which are all foods rich in nutrients. Nuts and seeds like raisins, Brazil nuts, almonds, flax seeds, chia seeds are excellent sources of Vitamin E, Zinc, Selenium, and omega 3 fatty acids. All these nutrients help with hair growth.
Sleep and stress and inextricably linked. Since lack of sleep is related to stress, you need to work on getting more sleep. Lack of sleep exacerbates stress and can also cause other health conditions like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and depression, among others. Experts suggest that improving sleep is an important strategy in tackling hair loss after Covid.
One way to ensure you get better sleep is by incorporating exercise into your routine. Exercise helps with building muscles which are essential for tackling muscle loss post-Covid. It helps improves blood circulation and increases endorphin levels in the blood. This happy hormone can have a direct effect on hair re-growth.
Another way to get a good night’s sleep is by using aromatherapy essential oils. You can consider using the Lavender Essential Oil from WOW Skin Science which helps in promoting relaxation. The Jasmine Essential Oil is also great for relieving stress, so that you can drift off to sleep with ease.
Vitamins and Supplements
Biotin or Vitamin B-7 is an essential supplement needed to tackle hair loss. Low levels of biotin can cause hair loss or lead to brittle hair. Certain antibiotics taken during treatment of Covid may lead to the reduction of biotin levels in the body. To tackle this deficiency, it is important to take some biotin supplements besides eating biotin-rich foods.
Iron is a nutrient that is needed to carry oxygen. Low levels of iron can result in anemia which causes fatigue and hair loss. Incorporate iron supplements to increase the levels of iron in your blood. This is especially important if you are a vegetarian or vegan. Adding Vitamin C into your iron diet and supplements will also help increase iron levels because Vitamin C is needed for the gut to absorb iron.
Vitamin D deficiency also results in hair loss. If you are already suffering from hair loss post-Covid, you can promote hair growth by taking Vitamin D supplements. Sunshine is the best source of Vitamin D in addition to foods like fatty fish or Vitamin D fortified milk. Vitamin D supplements can be a great support if you are a vegetarian or vegan, as the foods you eat generally cannot provide the required amount of Vitamin D to the body.
Zinc is a nutrient that helps in the growth and repair of hair tissue. This makes it important to take zinc supplements to tackle hair loss after Covid. The added bonus is that zinc also helps with other Covid conditions like the weak sense of taste or smell.
As we already mentioned, stress is the main cause behind Telogen effluvium. Therefore, it is important to actively work on stress management if you want to reduce stress-related hair loss.
This can be done in a few different ways. Yoga is an excellent therapeutic practice that can help in tackling stress. Practice yoga daily or thrice weekly to see results. Yoga includes many deep breathing and relaxing practices that can help tackle disease-related stress.
Experts also recommend taking time off to heal and recuperate and taking out time for self-care.
Meditation along with deep breathing is also useful for managing stress. When you breathe deeply, you expand your lung capacity and help more oxygen to reach your brain. It also strengthens lung function and reduces shortness of breath. If you are suffering from stress-related panic attacks, deep breathing can prove useful in restoring a calmer condition. Counseling or therapy may not be accessible to everyone. But if do have access to expert mental health practitioners, it can help tremendously in resolving the root cause of stress.
If you are already suffering from Covid related hair loss, it only makes sense that you treat your hair with special care. This includes:
- Use gentle sulfate-free shampoos made from plant-based formulas. Some great options for this are Wow Skin Science Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Green Tea and Tea Tree Shampoo.
- Frequent massaging with hair oils to stimulate hair growth. The Wow Skin Science Onion Black Seed Hair Oil and the Wow Skin Science Castor Oil are both power-packed with great ingredients for increasing hair growth.
- Refrain from pulling hair through intensive brushing or putting it through extensive hair treatments.
- Avoid making the condition worse by blow-drying, excessive washing, aggressive combing, elaborate hairdressing or heat treatments. If you are using heat treatment, don’t forget to use a heat protectant along with. If at-home treatments are unsuccessful in treating hair loss, you can consider medications, however, these should only be taken under the supervision of a physician.
- Minoxidil is a hair loss remedy that is in the form of foam that is applied to the scalp. It is normally used in patients with female or male pattern baldness, and it is known to help people in the early stages of hair loss too.
- Finasteride is an oral medication that stops alopecia and is a useful treatment option for men with hair loss. Other, more intensive treatment options include low-level laser therapy.
If none of these at-home treatments help, consult a doctor to rule out other conditions that could cause hair loss. For example, hormone imbalances, overactive thyroid, diabetes, extreme nutrient deficiency, etc. Treatment for these conditions will help tackle hair loss more effectively.
As with other kinds of hair loss, Covid related hair loss takes its own sweet time to get resolved. While at-home treatments help in many cases, it is important that you seek immediate help if hair loss becomes extreme.
Chronic hair loss can take longer to heal and needs medical attention. If hair does not regrow on its own or after at-home treatments, there might be underlying causes at play. To avoid regret later and delay in recovering from the condition, consult an expert to rule out serious causes or diseases.
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