COVID-19 and Hair Loss: Is There a Connection?
When the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, life for most people had already changed drastically. Many cities had already mandated social distancing, mask wearing, and even self-isolation.
Now, months later, life as we know it continues to evolve into something new. More people than ever are working from home, learning from home, and spending time virtually interacting in place of their old social gatherings. Virtually overnight, routines and schedules have been replaced with trial-and-error approaches in brand new territory.
With all this change has come an increase in stress for people of all backgrounds. With new research on the virus and its side effects being released almost weekly, it’s hard to keep up with the potential signs of COVID-19. If you happen to be experiencing more hair loss than normal, you might even be wondering: Is COVID-19 somehow connected to my hair loss?
COVID-19 and Hair Loss
Let’s get this out of the way first. While existing research has identified a number of symptoms related to COVID-19, from shortness of breath to body aches, hair loss has not been found to be a direct symptom or side effect of COVID-19.
So, if hair loss isn’t one of the symptoms of COVID-19, is there any correlation at all between the two?
There is a hypothesis floating around the medical community that men who carry the hormones that activate androgenetic alopecia (commonly known as male pattern baldness) may be more vulnerable to COVID-19. But while early observations by dermatologists suggest there may be something worth investigating, nothing is close to being confirmed. An alarming statistic that has boosted this hypothesis is that more men have died from COVID-19 than their female counterparts, all over the world.
A less direct, but confirmed, correlation between COVID-19 and hair loss is stress. It’s long been known that high stress levels can lead to accelerated hair loss. With more people battling elevated stress hormones in their bloodstream given the worldwide pandemic, it’s no wonder that more and more people have been experiencing stress-related hair loss.
Stress and Hair Loss
Hair loss due to stress is a real condition, and the correlation between stress and hair loss has been studied for decades.
Hair loss from stress occurs typically through three avenues or conditions. These conditions range from an occurrence at the molecular level to the actual physical act of uncontrollably picking at your own hair follicles. These three types include:
- Alopecia areata – This type of stress-induced hair loss usually occurs when a person is under extreme duress and the body’s immune system begins attacking their hair follicles.
- Telogen effluvium – When stress levels reach a certain point, the stress will throw your follicles into a phase of rest. In a short time, while your follicles are in their resting phase, they will simply fall out by way of contact, such as shampooing or brushing.
- Trichotillomania – The physical act of uncontrollably pulling out your own hair from your body when dealing with a negative situation involving stress or trauma.
Depending on how you manage your stress and mental health, COVID-19 can either pile on top of existing stresses or introduce a new isolated stress instance. Either way there is good news: Most stress-related hair loss is temporary and can be reversed through lifestyle changes.
How Bosley Can Help with Hair Loss During This Pandemic
If you have practiced techniques to manage your stress and are no longer experiencing symptoms of stress, such as aches and pains, but you’re still losing noticeable amounts of hair, it might be time to connect with one of our physicians.
At Bosley we’re doing everything we can to be there for our customers in a way that keeps everyone safe. We’re excited to announce that we now offer contactless video consultations for the first time. We’ve made it easier than ever to speak with a physician to discuss what you’re experiencing and the type of tailored plan we can offer to help you in your battle against hair loss.
Schedule your contactless video consultation here.
Clark, B. (2020, April 08). Hypothesis: Is COVID-19 severity tied to hair loss? Retrieved July 21, 2020
Curley, B. (2020, May 12). Why COVID-19 Is Hitting Men Harder Than Women. Retrieved July 21, 2020
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M. (2019, April 05). Can stress make you lose your hair? Retrieved July 21, 2020