Covid-19 long term hair side effects
Here I am in the lockdown no.2 and thought this was the perfect opportunity to write about the long term effects of Covid-19 on hair. We hear so much about the recovery for many people on their long term health, but not so much the effects it can have on your hair. I am by no means a specialist in anything Covid related, but I am pretty clued up on your hair.
Naturally we release on average between 80-100 hairs per day (it may be a few more or less depending your hair density). Anything more than your average is not a natural and you can may notice this when washing and brushing your hair. If you have noticed excess hair loss it could be that you have contracted covid during this crazy year, with or without your knowledge. A few months after having covid you can experience excess hair loss. This can be a little more or a lot. Don’t panic, THIS IS NOT PERMANENT!!!!!!
So a little behind the science of why this is happening. Our hair has 4 stages of growth:
- Phase 1, Anagen: the growth phase, where the hair is getting full nourishment from a good blood supply enabling hair growth. This can last between 3-7 years, and determines how long your hair can grow.
- Phase 2, Catagen: this transitional phase is the end of the hairs growth cycle where the nourishment and blood supply is finishing. On average only 3% of hair is in this phase at any one time.
- Phase 3, Telogen: is a resting period when the hair dies as it has no nourishment. The hair remains in the follicles but will not actively grow for around 3 months.
- Phase 4, Exogen: is the final phase and this is where the follicle falls out from the scalp and a new cycle of hair begins.
Keeping up so far? Hopefully this is where this all starts to make sense…. when the body is trying to fight off infection the blood supply and nourishments that are active in the Anagen phase, may stop working for your hair and nails. Your hair and nails are not essential, so your body is clever and diverts to naturally heal and look after your body and help fight off any infections. When this happens your hair skips the Catagen (stage 2), in your cycle and goes straight to Telogen (stage 3).
Your body is pretty amazing really and this hair loss may be one of the things that helped keep you healthy when you needed it most.
This disruption in the hair cycle is why we may experience excess hair loss and also why is can take several months for hair loss to be noticeable, as the dead hair can sit in this stage for 3 months. The hair will start a new cycle all over again and will recover. The best thing to do is not panic, as stress can also cause this to happen but if you have any concerns see your GP.
All this sounds really scary! What can we do to prevent this from happening? Well we cannot completely prevent it, but we can certainly help prevent it from being too drastic by taking multi vitamins, and eating foods high in iron, such as red meats, green vegetable and fish. Keeping ourselves physically healthy can also help when fighting off infections and prevent long term effects Covid may have.
This hair loss is not unique to Covid, stress, shock, operation, illness, having a baby and crash diets have a massive impact on your hair also (crash diets being the worst). It’s our bodies way of prioritising what it needs to keep you healthy. As awful as it may sound and feel at the time, try and see the positives in this. Your body is pretty amazing really and this hair loss may be one of the things that helped keep you healthy when you needed it most. Do not forget THIS IS TEMPORARY!