Covid Hair Loss

Patients recovering from COVID-19 infections are now seeking answers and treatment for their hair loss that may be related to a previous infection with the SARS virus, referred to as covid hair loss. The 2020-2021 pandemic has had a negative effect worldwide with loss of human life and the tragedy of loss of human life. Physiologic effects on the body range from serious to the other end of the spectrum with more benign clinical manifestations.

In late 2019, a novel coronavirus, subsequently named SARS‐CoV‐2 (COVID‐19), was first reported in Hubei province in China. Since it has been reported, this virus has caused a pandemic that is equivalent to the Spanish flu of the early 20th century. There has been the possible implication of androgens in the severity of the clinical manifestations of Covid-19.

In our office and the clinical experience of Dr. Williams, hair loss or hair shedding is being observed in a greater number of patients three to five months after experiencing an infection caused by the Covid-19 virus. This fact is validated in the medical literature by an increase in other reports of hair shedding after being exposed to the coronavirus.

Dr. Williams can help you better understand your Covid hair loss and guide you on your way to recovery and suggest treatments. You can book your consultation with Orange County Hair Restoration by filling out our appointment request form.


What causes post Covid Hair Loss

It is important to note that the mechanism of hair shedding is most likely not because the coronavirus is attacking the hair follicles. The mechanism is essentially a shock to the body, as described before called Telogen effluvium. Fever is a very common symptom of the SARS-CoV-2 .

A few months after having a high fever or recovering from an illness, patients may see noticeable hair loss in general. In addition the coronavirus has been associated with a lot of stress and returning back to normalcy isn’t easy even after the pandemic is over or even surviving the infection. This brings an additional factor into the post covid hair loss.

Another potentially more somber correlation with the coronavirus, is the theoretical association with male pattern baldness and the androgen receptor responsible for androgenetic alopecia.

In the Journal American Academy of Dermatology, Dr. Wambier notes the association of higher rates of androgenetic alopecia in the majority of patients hospitalized with Covid-19. In another study from Spain, Dr. Goren hypothesized his evolving clinical suspicions of androgen expression by noting the higher rates of COVID -19 infections in balding men.

Although the mechanism is complicated and still evolving, basically a protein called the transmembrane protease, serine 2 (TMPRSS2) activates the spike proteins on the virus and splits another protein called the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The hypothesis of androgen-mediated COVID-19 severity and male pattern baldness requires further epidemiologic validation in larger studies. Antiandrogen treatments may be indicated and are theoretically may also provide prophylaxis of severe COVID-19.



balding related to covid-19

From the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology Volume 83(2): 680-682 August 2020, DOI: 10.1016/j.jaad.2020.05.079


Although not conclusive, these early published studies are few, the observations of the high incidence of male pattern baldness in male patients that were infected by COVID-19 may suggest COVID-19 may indeed be the trigger for male pattern baldness.

Is Hair Loss a Side Effect of Covid?

The answer is not so simple and an evaluation by a hair loss specialist may be needed. There is a difference between hair loss and hair shedding. The good news is the loss of hair associated with short and long term side effects of a Covid infection is more likely to be classified as hair shedding, formally known as telogen effluvium. This condition is a temporary condition and hair regrowth should occur once the hair enters the growth anagen phase.


Middle-aged man concerned with hair loss. Baldness


Shedding hair is part of our hair follicles normal life cycle. Every person sheds between 50-100 hairs every day.

Telogen effluvium or excessive hair shedding is caused by many factors and is a common condition seen and treated by primary care physicians, dermatologists, and hair restoration physicians. It also occurs as a result of severe infection, fever, physical or emotional trauma or shock, hospitalization, sepsis, pneumonia, or just about any severe health condition that negatively impacts human beings.

For patients there is good news is this type of hair shedding is temporary and usually reversible. Once properly diagnosed, patients can expect hair to grow back within 6-12 months after treating and managing their triggers or underlying conditions.


How stop Hair Loss from Covid

The diagnosis for Telogen effluvium is typically made by a historic and physical examination. When the diagnosis is uncertain or other coexisting hair loss disorders exist, a punch biopsy, dermatoscopy, hair pull test, and hair mass index should be considered and performed by a physician.

The current recommended treatment for Telogen effluvium is primarily a “wait-and-see” approach. For a much more aggressive and more expensive approach, Plasma Rich Platelet (PRP) therapy, and Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT) are other medical management options may have a therapeutic impact on aesthetic improvement. The prognosis of getting your hair back is generally very good. The condition usually resolves typically in 6-9 months after the hair shedding occurs. The most important knowledge is that full recovery will require several months and keeping stress at a minimum is the key to success. In addition, consuming a nutrition rich and balanced diet supporting hair growth is equally important.

You will want to include foods rich in protein, vitamin D and iron. Tofu, soy beans, almonds, spinach are all good sources of protein and further the growth of hair. Vitamin D is in foods such as salmon, eggs and cheese and is important in maintaining a healthy immune system post COVID-19. Iron is found in many foods such as beans, lentils, spinach and almonds and is closely related to hair growth. In addition to food, there are many supplements that can help promote hair growth like biotin and zinc. Additionally your trusted physician might also recommend using a topical product such as minoxidil which can further increase hair growth. When you see short “baby” hairs poking out you’ll know you’re on the right track.

The same eventual resolution of with patients Telogen effluvium commonly experience, can’t be said of the potential association of male pattern baldness and the androgen receptor. If the theory is proven, the male hyperandrogenic genes might be associated with greater incidence of COVID-19 infections in male patients with hair loss. This may lead to an increased viral load and viral dissemination in the blood, and additional lung involvement and other complications. The curse of male pattern baldness may be worse than what we thought it was.