COVID-19 & Hair fall – Here’s what you need to know

Telogen Effluvium is the reason why your hair has been shedding post Covid-19 recovery.

Were you infected with the Covid-19 virus and a few weeks post-recovery found heaps of hair on the floor, in your comb, in the shower, and between your fingers? Many of those who recovered from Covid-19 experienced unusual hair fall, along with residual effects such as fatigue, muscle ache, and cough. Why do you think that happened? According to the researchers and medical practitioners, the reasons for excessive hair fall after any major illness like Covid-19, jaundice, typhoid or malaria are nutritional deficiencies, and emotional and physical stress of the disease. While it seems like hair fall, it is actually hair shedding and is usually temporary.

This kind of hair shedding is known as ‘Telogen Effluvium’.

Telogen effluvium (TE) can affect anyone. However, Covid-19 triggered this kind of hair fall in women more. Telogen effluvium is generally manageable and reversible with proper nutritional care and a healthy lifestyle. To understand this problem and combat it, it is important to first understand how your hair cycle works.

The basics of the hair lifecycle:

The human hair lifecycle falls under three categories. They are -

  1. Anagen or growing phase: 85-90% of your hair in this actively growing phase, and it lasts for as long as 2-8 years
  2. Catagen or transition phase: Up to 5% of your hair is in this phase where hair follicles shrink for as long as 2-3 weeks
  3. Telogen or shedding phase: This is the resting phase for your hair which lasts for 2-4 months long, post which the hair starts to shed

On an average day, women may lose 50-100 hair strands. However, in the case of telogen effluvium, the numbers more than double up. New hair grows in the same follicle, which repeats the cycle back to the anagen or growing phase. Telogen effluvium is characterised by massive hair shedding 2-3 months after a stressor. COVID-19 is one such potential stressor.

Telogen Effluvium is a temporary phase.

Telogen effluvium post Covid-19 is usually acute, self-limiting, and may resolve within six months of onset. While everyday stressors like an inconsistent or unhealthy diet, harsh environment & stress can cause your hair to go into this phase directly from the growth phase, other physiological or psychological factors like pregnancy, trauma, hospitalizations, strong medication, and surgery can lead to Telogen effluvium. Covid-19 is associated with stress such as multiple medication, fever, hospitalizations, psychological and physiological trauma.

How to control hair fall?

Hair loss may affect your self-image and self-confidence. However, experts recommend not to be embarrassed or affected by this temporary condition and not to self-medicate. Instead of finding a hair fall solution at home, the best way to deal with this condition is to reach out to a healthcare practitioner such as your primary care doctor or a dermatologist. They can rule out other reasons such as hormonal imbalance and nutritional deficiencies as possible factors for Telogen effluvium.

It may also be beneficial to track your daily exercise, sleep, and eating habits to check if improving these areas help with hair loss. Check with your doctor if a nutritional supplement that boosts hair growth and eating foods that have a healthy amount of protein and Vitamin D will help.

It is, essential to remember that Telogen effluvium is not a permanent disorder and usually reverses on its own. However, ensuring a healthy active lifestyle and a nutritionally balanced diet will not only help you get through this phase but maintain good hair health everyday.

Disclaimer: This publication/editorial/article is for information and awareness purpose and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any Products. Please consult your doctor/healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.