In early 2020, the pandemic of Covid-19 first began to cause global panic. While the number of cases has decreased in recent months, experts warn that the virus may still have long-term effects on our health including post covid hair loss. Recently, scientists have discovered another long-term side effect of Covid-19; temporary hair shedding.
Does COVID-19 Cause Hair Loss?
New evidence has suggested that Covid-19 does in fact cause a type of hair loss. There is evidence to suggest that the virus may play a role in telogen effluvium. In a study of 100 post-Covid-19 patients, nearly half of them reported experiencing hair shedding within three months of contracting the virus. Additionally, the majority of those who reported hair shedding also had other symptoms of Covid-19, such as fever, fatigue, and loss of smell or taste.
While more research is needed to determine the exact relationship between Covid-19 and telogen effluvium, scientists and the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) believe that the virus may trigger an immune response that triggers temporary hair shedding also known as Telogen Effluvium.
What is Telogen effluvium?
Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss that is characterized by a large number of hairs entering the resting stage at the same time. This can happen in response to a major stressor, such as illness, surgery, or childbirth. Telogen effluvium is different from other types of hair loss because it is not caused by a genetic or hormonal factor.
How is Telogen effluvium diagnosed?
Telogen effluvium is often diagnosed through a physical examination and medical history. Your doctor will ask about your health history and any recent stressors you may have experienced. They will also examine your scalp for signs of hair loss. In some cases, your doctor may order a blood test to rule out other causes of hair loss.
Telogen Effluviem: A symptom of long COVID-19
While the exact relationship between Covid-19 and telogen effluvium is still unknown, scientists believe that the virus may trigger an immune response that causes the hair follicles to enter the resting stage. This theory is supported by the fact that many of those who experience hair shedding also have other symptoms of Covid-19, such as fever, fatigue, and loss of smell or taste.
The reports of telogen effluvium have increased 400% since the Covid 19 pandemic began and about 20% of hospitalized patients report hair loss (which is really hair shedding). The good news is that over 90% of these people will recover their hair without any intervention, but people who suffer from “Long Covid” are more susceptible to “chronic telogen effluvium”. This is because they are experiencing continued stress which prolongs the time required to regrow their hair. Only rarely will the hair loss exceed 50% but the chronic form can require treatment if severe enough.
To further understand this let us take a look at the stages of hair growth.
Stages of Hair Growth
There are three main stages of hair growth: the anagen phase, the catagen phase, and the telogen phase.
The anagen phase is the active growth phase of the hair follicle. This phase can last for several years and is responsible for producing new hair.
The catagen phase is a transitional stage that lasts for about two weeks. This phase is when the hair follicle shrinks and the hair shaft begins to detach from the follicle.
The telogen phase is the resting stage of the hair growth cycle. This phase can last for several months and is when the hair follicle remains dormant. After this phase, The last phase when the hair sheds is called the exogen phase. Illness, fever, and other stressful events accelerate the end of an anagen phase, and 2 to 3 months later hair can begin to shed.
It is believed that Covid-19 may cause the hair follicles to enter the telogen phase prematurely. This would explain why many of those who experience hair shedding also have other symptoms of Covid-19.
Losing Hair After Covid-19? There is Good News in treating Covid Hair Loss!
While there is no cure for telogen effluvium, there are treatments that can help lessen its effects. One option is a our Triple Combination Hair Loss Therapy containing 3 different drugs (minoxidil, finasteride, and latanoprost) known to increase hair growth. Putting the drugs directly on the scalp reduces the risk of systemic side effects since absorption into the body is minimized.
How long does hair shedding last?
The good news is that in most cases, hair shedding will resolve on its own within a few months. However, if you are experiencing chronic telogen effluvium, you may need treatment for several months to years.
If you are concerned about hair loss after Covid-19, be sure to speak with your doctor. They can help you determine if your hair loss is due to telogen effluvium or another condition. They can also help you find the best treatment option for you.
While there is no cure for telogen effluvium, there are treatments that can help lessen its effects. One such treatment is the use of minoxidil, finasteride, and latanoprost. One option is a topical therapy containing three different drugs (minoxidil, finasteride, and latanoprost) known to increase hair growth. Putting the drugs directly on the scalp reduces the risk of systemic side effects since absorption into the body is minimized.
At Pharmacy Solutions we have specifically balanced two leading products (PLENTY & RIZN) in treating covid hair loss. If you are experiencing covid hair loss, be sure to share these products with your doctor to see if they are right for you.