Springfield doctor says some people recovering from COVID-19 may suffer from hair loss months later

Published: Jan. 30, 2021 at 9:24 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Some people may notice hair loss months after recovering from the coronavirus.

Mercy’s Vice President of Primary Care, Dr. David Barbe, says the condition is called Telogen Effluvium.

Telogen Effluvium is hair loss some people experience after a shock to their system, whether that be a serious illness or trauma.

“A lot of hair falls out,” Dr. Barbe says. “Women will complain my brush is just totally full of hair now and it wasn’t before. That cycle goes for three to six months sometimes and then you notice all these little tiny hairs usually coming back in.”

Most commonly, the hair loss will begin about two to three months after that shock to the system. Dermatologist Dr. Michael Swann says COVID-19 is a serious stressor on people’s bodies.

”It can be stressful just like the psychosocial things that are going on,” Dr. Swann says. “It can be actually stressful on your body. It can be hard on your systems itself and all of those things can actually lead to hair loss.”

Dr. Swann says people of all age groups can be impacted by this. He usually sees complaints from younger people because it’s out of the norm for them. Whereas for older people, hair loss can be more common.

“The virus is not going to your hair and causing the hair loss,” Dr. Swann says. “It’s working through your body’s own immune system most likely. There are ways that you can kind of calm that down and turn that off.”

Dr. Swann says your hair should go back to normal on it’s own within a few months when the stress on your body decreases. He recommends a good sleep cycle and if necessary, using a prescription anti-inflammatory on your scalp.

“Stress and cortisol levels can lead to inflammation,” Dr. Swann says. “We can see it on biopsies. We can see it in the skin or in the scalp, and in the end we can treat those things. We can at least temporarily really minimize the inflammation in the areas and try to turn off that hair loss response.”

If you think your hair loss is caused by something other than this condition, Dr. Swann recommends scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist.

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