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Walk-in Dermatology > Blog > Medical Dermatology > Covid-19 Hair Loss May Be Side Effect of Viral Infection

Covid-19 Hair Loss May Be Side Effect of Viral Infection

October 2, 2020
Covid-19 and Hair Loss

Hair loss appears to be another misery associated with Covid-19. While not caused directly by the coronavirus, dermatologists suspect the hair loss is most likely the result of stress caused by the devastating impact of the illness on the body and mind.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not include hair loss on its list of Covid-19 symptoms, dermatologists and other doctors say there’s strong evidence that it can still be a long-term effect from the illness.

What causes this hair loss?

In Covid-19 patients, the condition is known as telogen effluvium, according to the Cleveland Clinic. This non-scarring hair loss is the result of an abnormal shift in follicular cycling. During the telogen phase, the hair growth cycle is at rest. This delay in the growth of new hair is what triggers hair loss.

Scientists are not certain what causes this condition, although physical and emotional stress is believed to be the most likely culprit, not the virus itself. Hair loss can also be caused by high fever, illness or weight loss of more than 20 pounds – all of which are common Covid-19 symptoms. Dermatologists say that hair loss can occur 2 to 3 months after a patient becomes infected with the coronavirus – even weeks after recovery.

The scalp will look completely normal, with no signs of rash or other symptoms like itching, burning, or dandruff flaking.

Facebook groups for people who’ve recovered from Covid-19 show dozens of posts about hair loss and other lingering effects that may last for months. An informal survey conducted by the group found that more than a third of the 1,700 respondents claimed they’ve experienced hair loss after fighting off Covid-19.

Although it may be alarming, fortunately the condition is not permanent. Patients can expect to see a return to normal hair growth when the telogen effluvium cycle returns to normal.

What you can do

If you’re concerned about hair loss, especially after recovering from a Covid-19 infection, a board-certified dermatologist can help.

Stress-induced hair loss is typically diagnosed through the process of elimination of other potential causes. Your dermatologist may order a blood test to rule out any thyroid issue, nutritional deficiency and other factors that can cause hair loss. Nutritional supplements including iron, biotin and vitamin D may be recommended to slow the hair loss and encourage new growth. You may also need a short-term prescription for medications that can reduce stress.

Getting the best treatment

The good news is, we’ve taken the stress out of seeing a dermatologist. You don’t have to look far for excellent dermatology care. And there’s no waiting.

In many parts of New York and throughout the country, patients often wait weeks before they can see a board-certified dermatologist and receive a diagnosis, much less actual treatment. That can add to stress.

At Walk-in Dermatology, patients can see a board-certified dermatologist today. Our dermatologists will evaluate your condition and answer all your questions. We will work with you to set up a treatment plan to address your condition – all convenient to your schedule.

No more waiting days or even weeks to see a dermatologist. Walk-in Dermatology is here for you today.