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COVID-19 related hair loss - best treatments

Increased hair shedding is common after recovering from COVID-19. While it may not be one of the most severe side effects of COVID-19, this sudden excessive hair loss can be quite stressful and should be treated.

What causes COVID-19 related hair loss?

Sudden diffuse hair shedding (Telogen effluvium, TE), defined as sudden hair shedding of more than 100 hair per day. It is caused by an abrupt shift of hair follicles from the anagen (growth phase) to the telogen (hair resting phase) that can happen after a severe febrile disease, stressful events, and postpartum. Telogen effluvium will usually start three months after the triggering event and last for 3-6 months.

It is believed that post-COVID hair loss is caused by the reduced oxygen flow to the scalp, inflammation, and stress associated with the disease. Skin cells in the epidermis and dermis were shown to respond to stress within minutes by releasing such factors as IL-1, reactive oxygen spices (ROS), prostaglandins, and histamine. Overproduction of inflammatory cytokines triggers oxidative stress and promotes premature death (apoptosis) in hair follicle cells. One study showed that people with post covid hair lose a higher level of inflammatory molecules (interleukins).

COVID related hair loss vs. regular telogen effluvium

The sudden hair shedding after COVID seems to appear after 45-60 after the end of the disease: earlier than other types of telogen effluvium. A large study on 526 patients with COVID-19 related hair loss shows that COVID-related hair loss onset was more significant in the younger age group, females, and people with more severe coronavirus infection. It was also found that 78.2% of the study subjects showed signs of genetic-related hair loss (androgenetic alopecia).

Is hair loss from COVID-19 permanent?

Hair shedding from COVID-19 can continue for around 6 - 9 months for the average person. For those with a hereditary tendency for thin hair, it can be permanent if left untreated.

What are the best treatments for hair loss from COVID-19?

There are several effective ways to promote faster hair growth and speed up its return to baseline:

Use Minoxidil

COVID-19 related hair loss can, unfortunately, continue for an extended period and cause in susceptible women (and men) permanent female (or male) pattern hair thinning. Minoxidil is the best medicated topical treatment for androgenetic hair loss. It stimulates the blood flow in the scalp and helps move the hair follicle from its resting phase to active growth. It is also beneficial in treating other types of hair loss like alopecia areata and prolonged telogen effluvium. Using minoxidil can reduce the risk of chronic telogen effluvium and the resulting permanent hair loss. For optimal results, women should use minoxidil 2% solution and men the minoxidil 5% solution.

Use a hair regrowth treatment serum.

Hair growth serums can boost regrowth after COVID-19. Here are some ingredients to keep an eye out for when choosing the right one:

  • Rosemary leaf oil: Strengthens circulation to stimulate hair growth.
  • Panax ginseng root Decreases the miniaturization of hair follicles which can lead to hair loss.
  • Saw palmetto berry extract: Prevents the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgen that causes hair follicles to shrink until they no longer grow hair.
  • Biotin: Strengthens hair follicles and improves circulation.
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Strengthens and nourishes hair follicles.
  • Caffeine: Encourages circulation.
  • Biomimetic copper peptides: Increase hair follicle size.

A great topical serum to consider is the MDhair Restore Serum. This serum includes the ingredients highlighted above and additional nourishing and strengthening ingredients that can help your hair get back on track.

Take targeted supplements

In addition to a topical approach, hair growth supplements such as the MDhair Restore Supplements contain vitamins and minerals to promote hair growth from within. These include:

  • Iron: Boosts circulation and promotes growth. Iron deficiencies have also been linked to hair loss.
  • Calcium: Prevents the scalp from dryness and reduces hair breakage.
  • Biotin: Strengthens hair follicles and improves circulation.
  • Vitamins B9 (folic acid) and B12: Boost circulation to promote hair growth and increase keratin production to strengthen hair.
  • Vitamin K2: Stimulates blood flow to the scalp to promote regrowth.
  • Additional vitamins and minerals: Vitamins C, D, and E and the minerals iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, manganese, and chromium play essential roles in maintaining scalp health and boosting hair growth.

Take a gentle approach to hair care and hairstyling

Taking a gentle approach to your styling routine is crucial as your hair regains strength. Try to limit products and tools that can cause damage, such as hair dye, hot tools, and any hairstyles that pull on the hair. Focus on giving your hair some extra love and support as it grows back in!


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