Covid-19 no longer dominates the news bulletins, thankfully, but that doesn’t mean the virus has disappeared completely. It’s still amongst us, even if infection rates and hospitalisations associated with the disease continue to decline around the world. One nasty side effect of the disease still makes the news, however; post-Covid hair loss continues to cause worry and stress to anyone who experiences it. That includes high-profile people like actress Alyssa Milano, reality TV star Khloé Kardashian and singer Drake.
This article will look at the causes of post-Covid shedding and, more importantly, consider what you can do to make sure your locks grow back quickly and strongly. Keep reading for some top tips!
What is Post-Covid Hair Loss?
Post-Covid hair loss refers to the shedding that occurs as a result of the severe stress and illness caused by the Covid-19 virus. This hair loss can be temporary or permanent and is thought to be caused by the immune system attacking hair follicles combined with stress and hormonal changes. It can also be a side effect of certain medications used to treat Covid-19.
A review carried out in 2022 concluded that post-Covid hair loss was, most likely, linked to telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss condition characterised by the sudden, widespread shedding of hair that typically occurs several months after a stressful event or change in the body. The illness caused by Covid-19 fits the description of a stressful event, while the medications and vaccines used to treat the virus could be responsible for changes in the body.
The study also identified that nearly 83% of cases of post-Covid hair loss were reported by women. This could be because women are more likely to come forward to report hair loss or it could be linked to the fact that women are more prone to autoimmune diseases. Reassuringly, the report concluded that most cases were also reversible.
Work published by Romanian researchers last year investigated potential treatments for post-Covid hair loss. Their report found that ‘no single intervention is sufficient’ and went on to advocate for a holistic approach that integrated different treatments. Let’s look at some of those treatments.
Treatments for post-Covid hair loss fall into one of two categories, self-help and formal procedures. The self-help category is mostly centred around good haircare practices. That’s about embracing a gentler regime aimed at avoiding further damage to your strands. That means using the right hairbrushes and combs to ensure that you’re not tugging and tearing at your hair. It’s about cutting down on your use of heat styling tools and harsh haircare products to give your hair every chance of recovering.
Care for your scalp is just as important as looking after your strands. Keeping it clean and free of itchiness, redness and irritation is vital if your hair is to grow back strong. Washing it less often can help with that and massaging it gently rather than scrubbing it is also beneficial. A daily head massage is great for stimulating blood flow to the hair follicles and ensuring that they receive much-needed supplies of oxygen and nutrients. Nutritional supplements can help with this, too. Biotin, iron and other vitamins can help improve hair and scalp health but check with your doctor before you embark on a course of supplements.
Managing your stress levels is important and is something that individuals do in different ways. Therapy, exercise, meditation and mindfulness practices can all contribute to reducing stress. Some people find reading a book or pottering in the garden works for them. Find out what works for you and do it!
Formal procedures are for those who want to speed things along. They can take the form of medications such as finasteride and minoxidil; the latter is a vasodilator that dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow to the scalp. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a non-surgical procedure which uses growth factors from your own blood injected into your scalp to stimulate hair growth. Mesotherapy is another non-surgical treatment that acts in a similar way. It involves injecting vitamins, minerals and enzymes into the scalp to nourish the hair follicles and boost hair growth.
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a form of phototherapy that uses low-power lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to emit light at specific wavelengths to promote healing, enhance tissue regeneration and reduce inflammation. By stimulating cellular processes and increasing blood flow, it can improve the rate of hair growth.
Post-Covid hair loss can be distressing, particularly if you’re someone with no history of hair loss. The only good news is that this condition is usually temporary. Following the tips outlined in this article will help ensure that your hair returns stronger and healthier than before.
If you’re interested in any of the treatments touched on above, contact Vinci Hair Clinic for more information. We are world leaders in hair restoration, and we offer a free, no-obligation consultation to all our new clients. Get in touch and book your appointment today – we have clinics worldwide!