Hair loss seen in some people recovering from COVID-19

COVID-19 and hair loss
Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 8:05 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As new COVID-19 infections pop up around the country, health officials are learning more about the lingering side effects of the virus and its new variants.

Dermatologist and pediatric dermatologist Christine Moussa, D.O., said about 20% of people recovering from COVID experience hair loss about three months after getting infected.

She said stress is causing telogen effluvium in people who had COVID-19 and others who experienced emotional distress from the pandemic as well.

“A lot of the patients I’ve seen, it’s been related to stress, psychological stress during COVID. Maybe they lost a loved one, maybe they lost their job, all of those things are very stressful,” Moussa said.

On average, healthy people shed about 100 to 150 hairs a day.

Even though that sounds like a lot, Moussa said people who are experiencing hair loss from COVID-19 are losing about three times more than that every day.

About 90% of hairs on our scalp are in a growth phase and about 10% are in a resting phase. When someone experiences a stressful event like COVID-19, our bodies can prematurely shift a majority of our hair from a growing state into a resting state.

The good news is, Moussa said it’s not permanent.

“For most people, it recovers in a year. There’s a period of time, usually three to six months of shedding,” Moussa said. “The stop of shedding is noticed where it goes back to normal shedding then the hair grows. A year is when they notice the density is back and it feels like that volume.”

In the meantime, you can talk to your doctor. You should get a blood test just to make sure what you’re experiencing really is just a side effect from COVID-19 and stress.

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