“Since we were all at home the whole time, I used to put a lot of oil in my hair. Like almost the whole week I had it in my hair. I used to wash it off and then again apply it. There was hardly any improvement,” she said, adding, “I tried taking a few supplements too, but I started getting a bald patch, like a small one. I started with some treatments, but due to my existing hormonal imbalance, it wasn’t that effective. I am still trying to work out a way to get my hair back.”
But how is Coronavirus linked to hair fall or wrecking your hair quality? Experts explain.
Dr. Manasi Shirolikar, Consultant Dermatologist, says that while hair fall isn’t one of the symptoms of COVID-19, there has been a steady increase in people experiencing excess hair fall since the pandemic hit. There is a lot of physical and emotional stress that accompanies a case of COVID-19.
This stress may lead to a reversible hair loss condition called telogen effluvium (TE). The condition is known to occur a few months after an initial trigger. Triggers include stressful events such as emotional distress, major surgery, high fever, an acute illness (like COVID-19) or even stress related to quarantining,” Dr. Shirolikar explains, adding, “An average person sheds up to 100 hair per day.
In TE, you can experience up to 3 times the amount of hair loss.”
“Along with this one may also notice that
the quality of the hair goes for a toss and they become lusterless,” adds Dr. Neha Dubey, Consultant Medical & Cosmetic Dermatologist, Medical Director at Meraki Skin Clinic, Gurugram.
Can we skip to the good part?
Dr. Sravya C. Tipirneni, Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetologist & Trichologist at Manipal Hospitals in Bangalore shares some good news.
“The majority of telogen effluvium (post COVID-19) cases are over in about three to six months. In less than 10 percent of cases (post COVID-19), chronic telogen effluvium is seen, where the unwarranted hair shedding can last beyond six months,” Dr. Tipirneni explains.
Have any COVID-19 vaccines been linked to hair loss/thinning?
“COVID-19 vaccines are said to cause (a different kind of) hair loss which is known as
alopecia areata which is not a usual type of hair loss. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease in which the natural immune response leads to shedding in a person,” Dr. Tipirneni explains.
How to stop this pandemic-related hair loss/thinning?
“The best way to deal with Telogen effluvium post COVID or any other illness is to
provide nourishment to your body,” says Dr. Dubey.
Here’s what you can do. “Start by having a balanced diet with a good mix of all macro and micro nutrients. Get your Vitamin D, B12 and Haemoglobin levels checked. If there is deficiency of either of these, take the help of your doctor to correct it efficiently,” Dr. Dubey says.
If the hair shedding is not stopping even after six months or if you think that it’s happening at an alarming rate in the initial phase itself, consult a dermatologist, who can help you in choosing the best approach for management of the problem. “Most importantly, do not stress yourself out as it can cause more hair loss,” Dr. Dubey signs off with a word of caution.