We’ve heard of some pretty crazy long-term side effects happening to people after getting the coronavirus, from loss of taste to psychosis. People who have recovered but are still experiencing lingering effects are called “long-haulers.” A major one of these side effects is post-COVID hair loss. Hair loss is common when you’ve gone through a stressful event, including contracting COVID-19.
Many people headed to social media and posted about the hair loss they experienced after recovering from the disease. There are many reasons you could be dealing with Post-COVID hair loss. Over 20% of people who were hospitalized with the disease lost hair in the months after being released.
Beyond the emotional and physical stress, people are asking the question: is hair loss a COVID-19 symptom, or is it simply a stress response? Ultimately, it’s both. And stressing about that hair loss will only make it worse!
Rather than permanent loss, doctors instead see this instance as hair shedding, which is scientifically known as telogen effluvium. When someone suffers from an illness, specifically a fever, they can shed months after the illness. It’s not uncommon for handfuls to come out three to six months.
A dermatologist told Healthline.com, “When there’s a shock to the system, the body goes into lockdown mode and only focuses on essential functions. Hair growth is not as essential as other functions, so you end up with hair shedding.”
First off, you can focus on proper nutrition. These important minerals and vitamins include:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B12
- Folic acid
- Biotin (Vitamin B7)
Here are some other things you can do to prevent and treat post-COVID hair loss.
- Coconut oil
Many of us suffer hair loss for a range of reasons — after all, stress isn’t at all uncommon. Coconut oil can be a topical treatment and can also be integrated in your diet. When applied topically, it’s filled with lauric acid and medium-chain triglycerides, nourishing strands from the inside out. Apply at the scalp to promote growth.
2. Take more iron
Many women are naturally iron-deficient anyway, so consider adding iron-rich foods or an iron supplement to your daily diet. Healthy iron levels allow the body to build red blood cells, which is essential to retaining hair fullness. You can try amla butter, or add red grapes and black raisins to your diet.
3. Add ghee to your diet
White butter, or ghee, is filled with vitamin A and healthy fatty acids that can keep hair healthy. It also contains vitamin D which helps prevent post-COVID hair loss and encourages your mane to grow out even more.
4. Get enough sleep
In the post-COVID phase, sleep is a major part of recovering from that stressful period. It also produces Melatonin, which has been linked to the growth of healthy locks. However, not getting sleep can cause hair to fall out and thin even further, so get those eight hours!
5. Treat your hair better
Don’t use hairstyles that require tightly pulling back the hair into a ponytail or braid. Keep things loose, and also try to avoid applying unnecessary heat to the hair such as hot oil treatments, or straightening and curling irons. Additionally, try to brush your hair as gently as possible.
6. Lose the stress
Ultimately, losing hair is stressful, but the fact that you made it through the ordeal is what’s important. Your hair most likely will regrow — it just requires some patience. Doctors claim that the stress of losing hair can actually create a cyclical problem again, so try to keep your stress levels as low as possible and reassure yourself that you’re not going bald.
7. Use gentle and moisturizing products
Too-harsh shampoos and conditioners are a no-no if you’re looking to regrow your hair. Instead, choose products that won’t traumatize your scalp. Look for a gentle, calming shampoo and a moisturizing conditioner that’ll protect strands from split ends and breakage.
8. Make an appointment with a dermatologist
Yes, these skin specialists can help you treat your hair loss. They’ll help you pinpoint the true source of your hair loss better, which will increase the chances of you getting the results you’re looking for.
9. Talk to your doctor about PRP treatments
This treatment, otherwise known as Platelet-rich treatments, requires taking blood from the patient, spinning it, and then injecting it back into the scalp. This comes with a hefty price tag — upwards of $700, but apparently, after just a couple of months, hair can grow back up to 40% faster.