There’s a new kind of hair loss in town. As the COVID pandemic refuses to go away, I am hearing from more and more women who have lost their hair after recovering from COVID-19.
Hair loss from COVID usually starts 2 to 3 months after recovering. It can be anywhere from mild to extreme, from 10% of your hair up to 80%.
So, just when you start feeling better and your life is getting back to normal, boom! Your hair begins to fall out.
As most of us know, with any serious illness, stressful life events, surgery or even having a baby, you will likely experience hair loss to some degree. How much and for how long varies depending on the illness or prolonged stress level.
There is a lot of technical information online about COVID hair loss but the gist of it is, when you are seriously ill your body goes into survival mode and all your “juice” goes to your major organs to keep you alive. There is very little left over for the hair.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association the hair shedding can last 6 to 9 months. From the searches I’ve done, there isn’t enough data yet to know if hair loss persists if you have Long COVID.
So, what can you do about COVID hair loss?
First of all, it’s highly personal. There is no right or wrong way to deal with COVID hair loss, especially when it comes on fast and hard and unexpectedly. You have no idea if or when it will stop. The unknown is always the hardest place to be.
It’s not easy for any woman to lose her hair. But for some it’s harder than others, especially if you’ve always been known as “the woman with beautiful hair.” It can feel as if you have lost a part of your identity.
It’s temporary and will most likely grow back as your body heals. For the interim, you can wear some cute hats or headscarves. Depending on the length of your hair and how much has fallen out, you may want to cut it short. What is left will lack body and shine anyway.
If I lost 50% of my hair and my scalp was showing through, that’s exactly what I would do: Cut it short and wear hats and headscarves. If you cut it 3-4 inches long you will have some hair to peek out from beneath a hat or headscarf. If it looks too straggly take the plunge and cut it down to an inch or two.
If you have long hair and cutting it short feels too drastic, consider cutting it mid-neck, one length –no layers or razor cuts, so that your hair will look fuller beneath your hat or headscarf.
Please avoid internet hacks and scams. Since COVID related hair loss is now becoming more well known, scams are sure to follow. Don’t waste your money or your hope.
When searching “COVID hair loss” on the internet I came across an article that was titled “5 Natural Ways to Encourage New Growth.” It was complete bull. Putting an egg on your head will not increase the protein in your hair and make it grow faster. And really, who wants to go to bed with red onion juice on their head? Of course, there were a plethora of ads for “miracle hair growth” vitamins. Please pass.
I do, however, highly recommend that you see a naturopath. COVID-19 is a devastating virus. They can recommend protocols, foods and supplements that will help restore your body and with that, encourage new hair growth. Restoring your health will come from the inside, from giving your body the nutrition it needs to heal.
You should start to see new growth in 3 to 4 months after the hair loss stops. Don’t be surprised if it comes in wavy. At first it will be light and wispy, just like baby hair. No worries. After those first couple of inches are trimmed off, your hair will most likely be the same as before, with maybe a few more grey hairs to commemorate your recovery.
As a hairdresser, my advice is, when you have enough new growth to cover your head and have a cute, short haircut, say goodbye to the old hair and start fresh with a new look.
And above all, be grateful you survived and recovered.
By Nicki Serquinia Owner/ Designer / CEO Hats, Scarves & More
Nicki Serquinia was recently interviewed on KXLY New Now, an ABC affiliate, about COVID hair loss and what Hats, Scarves & More is doing to help women experiencing medical hair loss. You can watch the interview here.