Hair Loss After COVID-19 - Thyme Is Honey

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Hair Loss After COVID-19: Why it happens and what to do about it
It was a good run, but we got COVID at the end of July. We were fully vaccinated, and our cases were pretty mild, lasting just a few days. By mid-August, I could tell I was shedding more hair than usual throughout the day. To be honest, I might not have even noticed the increase if the conditions hadn’t been perfect for noticing it:
1. I have 20 inches of dark hair.
2. I have a home with SOLID white flooring.
3. I work from home, so most of my hair is shed in the same small (750 sq foot) space.
All that to say, I might have missed the connection between this increased shedding and having COVID-19, and it might have been a couple of months later that I was suddenly like, “why does my ponytail suck and my hair feel so flat?” and gone into panic mode about what it could be.
I was actually really relieved to do a bit of research and discover that increased shedding of hair is called telogen effluvium, and it is actually our body’s normal reaction to any severe fever, infection, to traumatic event — such as childbirth or surgery.

Normally, 90% of the hair on your head is in a “rest phase,” called “Antagen,” and 10% of your hair is in a shedding phase, called “Telogen.” But after a severe fever, infection, or traumatic experience, it can shift a higher percentage of your hair into the Telogen phase. So instead of 10% of your hair shedding, you might be shedding 20% or more. Telogen effluvium typically results in increased overall shedding, which makes your hair feel thin or limp — but does not typically result in bald spots.

The good news? Your hair will typically return to its natural rest/shed cycle within 3-6 months. However, repeated COVID infections or long COVID could compound or prolong hair loss. Depending on the length of your hair, it can take anywhere from a couple of months to years to feel like the thickness has been regained entirely.

It’s October (about 9 weeks after we had COVID), and although it will be a while before my ponytail is as full as it was, the shedding has finally slowed down. If you’re experiencing this, here are some holistic things you can do to try to support your hair’s return:

1. Focus on nutrition! Eat balanced meals consisting of complex carbs, proteins, and healthy fats. This helps you develop healthy tissues, which leads to healthy hair. (this is my favorite nutrition book of all time).

2. Stay hydrated! Hydration helps both your hair and nails grow strong and healthy and avoid breaking.

3. Shampoo less and style gently. I got very into top-knots the past two months because it felt protective.

4. If you want, you can try supplements such as biotin or borage (I’ve been taking a bit of both).

And if your hair feels boring, cut some fun bangs (that’s what I did!). It’ll give you something fun to play around with while the rest of your hair catches up. While I was at my appointment, my stylist pointed out that she could see tons of new regrowth throughout my hair — which reassured me that my body is doing it’s thing and my hair is returning to its normal cycle.

She told me that as the new hair grows out, my hair might look “split” or frizzy, but to just rest assured that it’s not unhealthy hair —- its just new hair. She said hair oil, up-dos, or layers could help camouflage it a bit during the regrowth stages. You can also try clip-in extensions to add some fullness to your bottom layers, but avoid the semi-permanent extensions that attach directly to your hair (via glue or fusion), as those are dependent on the length of your hair’s antagen cycle, so they won’t last nearly as long (you’ll get way less bang for your $$$, so to speak).

At the end of the day, I know how lucky I am if a bit of excessive shedding is the worst side effect I had from COVID, and I am GRATEFUL. However, the experience has made me extra vigilant to avoid repeated infections in the future.

If you’d appreciate this information in carousel format, you can click through to this Instagram Post that you can bookmark or share.

 

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A post shared by DANI BRUFLODT (@thyme_is_honey)

Hair Loss After COVID-19

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