COVID-19 AND HAIR LOSS

@ City Looks | Posted on April 29, 2022

It is currently thought that 20-30% of covid patients can expect to experience hair loss. There is no one determining factor, instead there are many. This type of hair loss being experienced is called Telogen Effluvium. 

Telogen Effluvium (TE) falls into 2 categories, acute and chronic. Acute being a shorter length of time lasting from 2-6 months with chronic lasting longer than 6 months. TE occurs when a disruption takes place in the hair follicles’ regular growth cycle, and this disruption accelerates a greater than normal portion of the anagen growing hairs into its next phase of catagen. The catagen phase is 1-2 weeks in length where the growth cycle essentially stops the cell division stage as it disconnects from the blood supply and gets ready for the resting phase of the hair follicle.  During the resting phase (telogen phase) there are changes taking place in the hair bulb as it is preparing to fall out, but we don’t see or experience these changes until the hair falls, approximately 8 weeks after arriving in this phase. On average 14% of our hair is in this phase at any given time as each follicle has its own timeline, and this is why we see daily hair shedding in our brushes, this is normal. TE is when a more than normal amount begins to shedd due to disruption. It may be hard to pinpoint the specific reason, and there may be several, but hair loss will occur usually 2-3 months after an event. This hair loss can continue for several weeks to several months, it may take an extra 30- 70% of your hair.

Disruptions to the hair follicle growth cycles can be many things and each one of us will respond to each differently. Common things that we know to cause this type of disruption would be stress, trauma, illness and medication changes. With covid it will depend on each individual and how your body copes, the severity of the illness and the treatments needed to help in your recovery. When your body needs to reallocate its resources to other areas it will take them from your hair. This is the cause of the disruption to the follicle. 

With Telogen Effluvium we expect the hair to grow back! Unless there is something else to prevent its return, the hair will regrow. How quickly this occurs is another matter. The health of your body is a factor as hair does take some energy to make. Recovering from stress, trauma and/ or illness may be experienced before the first signs of your hair loss, but keeping your recovery going will help with your hair’s return. 

Finding a certified trichologist to help you in your regrowth journey can be advantageous as we are specialists in the field of hair and its disorders. As a certified  trichologist I help you track your growth progress and I am able to help you find possible reasons for a stall in your hair return, such as a nutrient deficiency. We can guide you along with topical treatments to add nutrients and keep your scalp in the best condition possible to encourage growth and a return to the growing phase of the hair. 

It is never comfortable to lose hair at an accelerated rate, but there are alternative hair specialists to help you in this process as well. The longer in length the hair was to begin with the longer it will take to regrow back the length. Once the follicle is returned to its normal state of growth we hope to see approximately half an inch a month of growth which is six inches of length in a year on average. If your hair was past your shoulders the density at the bottom of your haircut will be 2-3 years away. A great stylist will help you bring all the new hairs together as it grows, a wig specialist can help you find the best alternative hair during this process.