Dermatologists Seeing High Rates of Hair Loss after COVID-19

January 13, 2022
Dermatologists Seeing High Rates of Hair Loss after COVID19 image

One study found that 22 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were dealing with hair loss months after being discharged.

When Paula Diaz contracted COVID, she expected to lose her sense of smell and taste but not her hair. 

“I spent six days in the hospital being treated for the virus and several weeks after I came home, my hair started falling out in clumps,” says Paula, who added that she’s always had a beautiful, thick head of hair. “It was devastating.” 

She is just one of many to experience excessive hair loss as a post-COVID symptom, according specialists at Hackensack University Medical Center. 

“The hair loss that occurs after COVID-19 infection occurs because of overactive inflammation in the body," explains dermatologist Alexis Young, MD in a news release. “The inflammation can cause a shift in the hair cycle.”

Hair loss after a COVID-19 infection typically begins anywhere from several weeks to 3 months post infection. How long it lasts can vary from patient to patient but usually 6 to 9 months. “Hair loss after a stressful situation is not unusual,” says Dr. Young. “People can experience hair loss after childbirth or a major surgery, and we’re now seeing the same results after COVID-19 infection in some people.”

One study found that among patients who had been hospitalized with COVID, 22 percent were dealing with hair loss months after being discharged. Last summer, the Institute of Trichologists (IoT) in the United Kingdom surveyed its members and found that 79 percent said they’d seen cases of “post-COVD hair loss” in their clinics.

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