As if making you feel rotten and having to cancel plans aren’t enough, COVID can affect the look and feel of your hair, too. If you’re wondering—Does COVID cause hair loss or am I imagining this?—you aren’t losing your mind. We give you the details on COVID hair loss, why it happens, and how to stop hair loss after COVID-19 from wreaking havoc on your appearance.
Can COVID Cause Hair Loss?
Is COVID hair loss real? Known as telogen effluvium, hair loss after COVID affects about 22 percent of patients who were hospitalized with COVID within approximately six months of being discharged, according to research published in The Lancet in January of 2021.
What causes COVID and hair loss? Telogen effluvium is temporary hair loss caused by stress, which can be emotional or physical. While new hair continues to grow during this process, hairs in the resting phase, or telogen phase, are shed more rapidly than normal. This can cause hair to look and feel thinner.
Shedding hair during the telogen phase is normal. But this usually accounts for about 100 to 150 hairs per day, according to a report by the University of Utah Health Communications. But a shock to the system, like the COVID virus, can send growing hairs into a premature telogen phase, increasing the amount of hair shed. When hair is falling out after COVID you may notice hair loss while washing or brushing your hair or see more loose strands on your clothing or pillowcase.
How Long Does COVID Hair Loss Last?
Excess hair loss can be concerning. No one wants thinner, more fragile hair. But with most cases of telogen effluvium, including COVID hair thinning, it typically resolves in three to six months, as the follicular phases shift back to normal. So, losing your hair after COVID does not mean you’ll have thinner hair permanently.
If you are wondering if your hair loss is due to COVID or something else, COVID hair loss usually occurs a bit sooner than other causes of telogen effluvium. Most of the time, the onset of telogen effluvium is around three months after the inciting incident. But COVID hair loss can occur after just two months of having the virus.
While most cases of COVID-induced telogen effluvium begin to resolve themselves within six months of onset, those who experience long COVID can see longer-term hair loss.
How to Style Hair Loss After COVID
Anyone who experiences hair falling out after COVID wants to reverse the effects of thinning hair immediately. It takes time for hair to grow and it can be months before your hair returns to its normal thickness. Don’t lose hope. There are ways to make your hair look and feel thicker while your strands work on regrowth. A few styling tips and you’ll be on your way to fuller, healthier looking hair. Below are our product picks and hair tricks to add instant visible volume to your locks.
- Use the perfect products to amp up the volume
Our top volumizing hair product picks? Innersense I Create Lift Volumizing Foam, S4e The Hair Cream, and Oway Plant & Mineral Refresh Dry Shampoo create a feeling of fullness for all hair types. Couple Oway Flux Potion and O&M Rootalicious Root Lift + Volume Mousse to create thickening and fullness in the root area for an ultimate look of volume and shine.
- Change your part
If you notice thinning in your recession areas or your normal parting area then change your part to the heavier side or the center. This will make hair look instantly fuller as you change the direction your hair lays.
- Do not add in extensions
The last thing you need while your hair is in a fragile state is the added weight of holding extensions. Refrain from adding in hair extensions while your hair grows back. This includes clip-ins as they’re heavy and can be damaging to the follicle of delicate strands. If you need a boost, go for a halo—extensions that sit on a string and do not pull on your hair like clip-ins or glued, beaded, or tape-in extensions.
- Get a haircut
Seem counter intuitive to cut the hair you have? The opposite! When you remove length, your hair can actually appear fuller. A fresh modern cut may be just what you need to feel like yourself again.
- Wrap it up
Invest in some cute hair accessories or headwear, like a hair wrap scarf, hat, or turban. Headwear is so in right now. Just remember, keep your scarf or turban loose so as not to pull on fragile strands.
- Hang loose
Try to avoid wearing your hair in tightly pulled back looks. You might feel like hiding your hair loss in a top bun or ponytail, but tight styles can put stress on hair follicles with the constant pulling and tugging. Opt to wear your hair down or loosely pulled back in a loose french braid or low bun.
How to Care for Your Hair After COVID Hair Loss
Give thinning and damaged strands some extra TLC when they are returning to normal post COVD hair loss. Here’s how.
- Careful when wet
Your hair is even more fragile when it’s wet, so be sure to use a delicate detangling brush when combing out wet or damp locks. Wrap in an Aquis Towel to absorb excess water from strands before detangling.
- Sleep well
Yes, even in your sleep you can increase the risk of hair pulling or breakage. One sweet way to protect strands while you catch your Zs is to wear an All Natural Glo Jumbo Hair Bonnet. It’s also anti-frizz and can be used to blot moisture from hair after shampooing.
How to Visibly Stop Hair Loss After COVID-19 From Continuing
Easy. Maintain a healthy hair care routine and treat your strands gently. This is a good idea when dealing with COVID hair loss and all the time. You should always have a healthy hair care routine in place to keep your mane looking and feeling its best. Dry or damaged strands can lead to the appearance of breakage and hair loss. Not what you need when you’re growing hair back after COVID hair loss. Follow these tips to get your strands back to beautiful.
- Infuse with moisture
Use a moisturizing hair mask, like Evolvh Ultra Repair Reconstructing Masque or Innersense Hydrating Hair Masque, to keep strands feeling strong and healthy.
- Use products made for hair growth
Apply Hair Fuel Hair Growth Mask once weekly and allow to sit on hair and scalp for 45 minutes. Davines Energizing Superactive is a serum that can be applied to hair and scalp daily to improve the look of hair growth. When washing hair, try Davines Energizing Shampoo and 100% Pure Grow More Shampoo and Conditioner to revive thin, limp locks. Oway Vivifying Remedy is a revitalizing treatment that moisturizes and gently stimulates the scalp to promote the appearance of hair growth. Cult & King Tonik Scalp and Hair Purifier is a multi-use leave in that can be applied to the scalp daily to reinvigorate follicles and restore pH balance. Finally, employ the help of Viviscal Pro Supplements, a daily vitamin that visibly improves hair growth.