Does COVID-19 trigger hair loss?

Little is thought about the potential of hair loss in sufferers recovering from coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19). Although it is a minor loss, it feels devastating to many people and has been studied by a number of researchers.

A brand new paper printed within the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology sums up what is thought about this doubtlessly distressing situation.

Study: Characteristics of Hair Loss after COVID-19: Systematic Scoping Review. Image Credit: BLACKDAY/Shutterstock
Research: Characteristics of Hair Loss after COVID-19: Systematic Scoping Review. Picture Credit score: BLACKDAY/Shutterstock


COVID-19 is marked by its plethora of manifestations, various extensively between people. Hair loss is pretty frequent after acute infections or autoimmune illnesses. Earlier illnesses brought on by coronaviruses, such because the outbreaks of extreme acute respiratory syndrome and the Center East respiratory syndrome (SARS and MERS, respectively), have additionally been related to alopecia.

In COVID-19, it’s reported to have an effect on about one in 5 folks, masking a variety of classes – telogen effluvium (TE), worsening of male sample baldness, and alopecia areata (AA), to say a number of.

The authors of this paper explored the reversibility, period, affiliation with severity, and doable causes of COVID-19-associated hair loss. They checked out all eligible papers printed on the topic, together with randomized managed trials (RCTs), case-control research, and potential or retrospective cohort research.


The search introduced up 26 articles, 17 of which had been case stories and the remaining observational research. Of the latter, most lacked a comparability group. 5 of six observational research checked out TE, when giant numbers of hair follicles enter the resting section in response to emphasize or different problems.

These researchers typically discovered that TE started at 45-50 days after the onset of the an infection, and resolved spontaneously within the majority of instances. Eight of those research instructed that TE was correlated with COVID-19.

One giant examine from Korea retrospectively examined AA in COVID-19, discovering no correlation between the 2. Most of those had been small research.

Coming to the case stories, most sufferers with hair loss had been feminine, and TE was the predominant kind, reported in three-quarters of the instances. AA was present in 5%. Most sufferers had hair loss inside three months of analysis.

Amongst 20 sufferers whose consequence was described, nearly all stated they recovered from the hair loss at a median of 5 months. Nearly 40 sufferers described their therapy, largely with topical lotions containing clobetasol or minoxidil, and one with low-dose systemic corticosteroids.

Two sufferers had hydroxychloroquine or oral minoxidil. About one in 5 weren’t medically handled, aside from reassurance.


This primary scoping assessment reveals that hair loss does happen in a proportion of COVID-19 instances, and is generally reversible. Most sufferers take a number of weeks to months to recuperate hair development. No clear associations had been made with COVID-19 severity, however feminine sufferers appeared extra in danger for alopecia with this situation.

Since hair loss was largely self-reported and confirmed clinically, these research should be adopted up with extra detailed and validated analysis.

The incidence of hair loss in lengthy Covid sufferers stays unknown, since long-term follow-up was missing. Theories of the trigger embody the extreme irritation in some COVID-19 sufferers, with excessive ranges of cytokines like interleukin- (IL) 6, which suppresses the elongation of the hair shaft and the proliferation of the hair follicle. Nevertheless, most sufferers with hair loss appear to have had solely delicate illness.

Estrogen and progesterone, the feminine hormones, might play a job in hair loss throughout COVID-19, as most such sufferers had been feminine. These have anti-inflammatory results, with estradiol performing on the hair follicles to boost their development and enhance the hair cycle. Progesterone might scale back the conversion of testosterone to its energetic kind, which is linked to alopecia.

Each these hormones have immunomodulatory results. They’re being studied for his or her potential use in COVID-19 therapy.

Acute COVID-19 might alter the steadiness of those hormones or trigger a discount of their ranges, resulting in female-dominance hair loss. Additional research might be required to validate this speculation, and to grasp different pathophysiologic mechanisms.

A small variety of sufferers had long-term alopecia with none clear underlying illness course of being identifiable. Medical consciousness of this symptom in all probability must rise, particularly since solely essentially the most extreme instances might have introduced to the clinician.

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