Are COVID-19 Patients Experiencing Hair Loss?

With each passing month that the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, doctors and scientists continue to learn more about the devastating toll the virus takes on those who become infected. New symptoms and consequences of the coronavirus keep being discovered, including, it now seems, hair loss.

Hair loss is currently not listed on the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) official list of COVID-19 symptoms. However, recent surveys, along with substantial anecdotal evidence from physicians treating COVID patients, reveals that significant hair loss is not uncommon. For example, more than 27% of at least 1,100 poll respondents in the COVID-19 Survivor Corps Facebook group reported experiencing hair loss.

Experts believe that the stress, shock, and disruption caused by the virus, if not the virus itself, is causing many patients to experience a hair loss condition called telogen effluvium.

Telogen Effluvium Caused By COVID-19

Telogen effluvium is a temporary hair loss condition in which hair follicles are shocked into a resting state. Since the follicles stop actively producing more hair to replace normal shedding, the thinning tends to happen in a diffuse pattern throughout the scalp. If the factors causing the shedding can be addressed and resolved, the follicles often return to their normal healthy state and fully regrow without treatment or surgical intervention.

Many of the physical and psychological impacts of COVID-19, such as high fever, severe infection, illness, significant weight loss, physical trauma, and emotional stress, are precisely the kinds of disruptions that lead to telogen effluvium. Quarantines, worries about jobs and finances, juggling the responsibilities of parenting and career  – these common pandemic-related stressors alone are more than enough to cause hair loss, even for those who aren’t otherwise sick.

Spring Hair Shedding Makes Matters Worse

The timing of the pandemic’s arrival in the U.S. also may have made matters worse for those who may experience telogen effluvium. On average, we shed about 50 to 100 strands per day. However, spring brings with it a natural increase in hair loss, meaning that most folks will likely see closer to the high-end of 100 strands fall out per day. When combined with the shock loss brought about by COVID-19, this seasonal increase can further contribute to significant shedding.

As noted, hair loss caused by telogen effluvium is a temporary condition. As COVID-19 patients recover, those who lost hair while enduring the worst of the illness should ultimately see their hair return to normal.

The Miami Hair Institute Remains Committed To Helping Our Patients Through These Difficult Times

These are challenging and unprecedented times for all of us. At the Miami Hair Institute, we know how difficult and stressful things can be as we cope with the uncertainties and disruptions caused by COVID-19. If you are experiencing hair loss, that can make matters even more stressful. During this time, we remain committed to helping our clients address their hair loss issues safely and effectively through our advanced hair restoration surgical techniques, technology, and alternative non-invasive treatments.

To receive your personalized evaluation and treatment plan, contact us online or call our office directly at 305-925-0222.