If having to live through a pandemic and deal with the symptoms of COVID with a toddler in tow weren’t enough, a few months down the line, one persistent symptom has begun to drive me crazy. And I know I’m not the only one!
I’m losing hair by the bunch- a day’s sweep from my bedroom would be enough to make two wigs for medium-sized dolls. Bad hair day-everyday!
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always had Rapunzel-like hair and finding little hairballs all over my room wasn’t an uncommon sight. However, post-COVID, the hairballs were bigger and scarier than ever before.
It was hair-raising; raising what was left of it to raise, at least.
So, in the essence of research and personal validation, I reached out to Dermatologist, Dr Rahul Pillai to answer all of my doubts on post-COVID Hairfall. Dr Rahul Pillai- MD Dermatology, MD Physician, MRCPS (Glasgow), IFAAD (USA)- is currently practicing as a Specialist Dermatologist at HYF Medical Center, La Mer in Dubai. Here’s what he had to say.
#1: Is Post-COVID hair-loss ACTUALLY a thing? I’d love your expert opinion!
Post-COVID Hair Loss is very commonly prevalent post COVID infection. It is usually seen a few months after the infection.
For example, if you get COVID in January, most of the time the patients begin experiencing it somewhere around March or April. It is a very relevant thing.
It is one of the most commonly seen dermatological complications. Many organs are affected by COVID- as far as skin is concerned, this is the most common problem that people come to a skin specialist for.
#2: Have many patients complained of this happening?
Lots of patients! It’s one of the most common things. Almost 20-30% of patients experience hair loss post COVID. Every dermatologist sees a huge number of patients for post-COVID hairloss.
#3: Is this type of hairfall directly linked to COVID infection or indirect factors?
There is no indirect factor. It is a direct link actually to the viral infection. Any infection you have causes hair loss. It’s called Telogen effluvium. That is because, at that time, the body concentrates more on other parts and hair is neglected. It comes back to normal- sort of like a system rebooting. At a stretch, the cycle of the hair is accelerated and the hair which is about to fall will fall. It is divided into three phases- anagen, catagen and telogen phase. The telogen phase sheds more hair. You could look up more details, if interested.
#4: Is this a permanent thing to expect? How long does post-COVID hairfall last, if not permanent?
It is not a permanent thing. Even if the patient doesn’t seek treatment, the patient comes back to normal within 6 to 8 months. Telogen effluvium, the body tends to correct by itself. However, if you take medical assistance, the hair loss can be supported to a very large extent and its intensity can be controlled.
#5: How to prevent hair-loss post-COVID?
Post-COVID, the only way to prevent hair loss is to meet a dermatologist. A dermatologist is the main person who is qualified to treat any kind of hair loss, actually.
They may check blood levels, haemoglobin levels, serum ferritin levels or for any other endocrinological issues which may be related. S/he will prescribe nutrients or deficient vitamins, which may be sufficient in certain cases. Sometimes, along with this, hair solutions or hair serums may be prescribed which will support the hair growth as well as make it stronger and longer. The miniaturisation of hair loss to a very large extent can be reversed. That way, supportive therapy is recommended with hair serums.
Depending on the intensity, the doctor will take a call on what’s required. Either way, the treatment is around 6 to 8 months. So, if you are experiencing hair loss post-COVID, be prepared to treat yourself for about 6 months with a dermatologist. Only then will you get optimal results.
Have you experienced hair loss post-COVID?
Tell us in the comments below.