Covid-19 has a lot of nasty side effects that range from fatigue and nausea to a loss of smell and taste, but can the novel virus also cause sufferers to lose something more obvious? Although it may feel like it’s been here forever, Covid-19 is still relatively uncharted territory for the medical field. Every day, scientists are learning more about the lasting damage the virus causes, including the prevalence of hair loss in sufferers. Here’s the science behind this worrying trend, and how you can help your hair fight back against hair loss.
Does Covid-19 Cause Hair Loss?
The short answer is that Covid-19 can indirectly cause hair loss. The virus itself has not been linked directly to hair falling out. But a common symptom of the virus in many Covid patients is fever. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, fever can lead to temporary hair loss. And even this isn't really hair loss, but rather hair shedding, also known as telogen effluvium.
To understand this, it's important to know about the three stages of hair growth. There's the anagen phase, or growing phase, when your hair begins to grow from the root; the catagen phase, when hair growth slows down and follicles shrink; and finally, the telogen phase, or shedding phase, when old hair falls out and new hair begins to grow from the same hair follicle.
Stressful events like a severe illness or even a high fever can cause telogen effluvium, which is when the body pushes more hair than normal into a resting phase. In fact, new research suggests that people who have suffered from Covid-19 in the past are four times as likely to suffer from hair loss than those who have avoided it. Another study indicates 22% of people hospitalized with Covid suffered from symptoms of hair loss.
Rather than sudden hair loss, most people experience hair shedding two to three months after their fever or illness, and it can be as dramatic as seeing large clumps of hair fall when you shower or brush your hair. What's even more alarming is that this shedding phase can last for up to nine months after the initial infection before it stops. The good news? You're more than likely to recover your hair and stop shedding in the long term.
In other words, Covid-related hair loss is really due to the stress the virus causes on the body.
Other Common Causes of Hair Loss
Covid-19 isn’t the only illness or disease that can make you lose your hair. Here are some of the most common causes of hair loss, and why the body reacts to certain illnesses or events by shedding hair.
Stress and Anxiety
High levels of stress and anxiety over an extended period of time can lead to more hair being shed than grown, or the body extending the resting phase.
In women, menopause can cause hair follicles to shrink, slow down hair growth and sometimes even lead to hair falling out more easily thanks to a decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels.
If somebody’s parents or grandparents suffer from hair loss, it’s much more likely that they will also experience thinning hair or baldness as they age. Also known as androgenic alopecia, this type of hair loss often follows a pattern of thinning along the crown and scalp.
Medicinal Side Effects and Stress
Sadly, medicine that helps us with illness can cause hair loss as a side effect. This is often due to slowing down the anagen phase, or hair growth phase, or increasing androgens that cause alopecia. Unfortunately, these side effects may also occur after vaccination against Covid-19.
Diet and Nutrition
Diets lacking in key nutrients can contribute to hair loss. Just as the right foods contribute to muscle growth, heart health and overall well-being, eating well can give your hair the nutrients it needs to grow.
Traction alopecia, or repeated trauma of hair follicles, can be caused by perms and hot oil treatments.
Alopecia areata, which translates to “patchy baldness,” is when the body mistakenly attacks hair follicles causing hair loss in places around the scalp. One of the causes of this type of hair loss is stress.
Can Lu Help With Hair Loss?
Lu's products are formulated to actually prolong the anagen phase, giving you healthy hair for longer. If you need to repair damaged hair, switch to the gold standard for hair nourishment, Lu’s Rescue Collection. By focusing on the root cause of hair damage from stress-related hair loss, Rescue focuses on recovering your hair and will help fight hair loss. Every Lu product is made with Impossible Keratin™️ ,which strengthens every strand 3x more than other keratin treatments, leaving your hair more resistant and healthy. After hair shedding due to Covid-related illnesses or other viral infections and diseases, Rescue can help you fight back to normal hair health and growth, with the added benefits of looking, feeling, and smelling amazing!