Since the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, there has been a long list of medical side effects that have occured from COVID. Well known ones include pulmonary, cardiovascular, and clotting disorders. There have been skin related changes as well, including hair loss. Over the past several months, our office has seen a vastly increased number of people who suffered from COVID in the spring of 2020 in the new york area presenting with substantial, diffuse hair loos on their scalp. It is unclear whether this represents a classic telogen effluvium or a direct hair loss due to COVID.
The scalp reveals no inflammation or evidence of scarring or infection, therefore there is hope for the vast majority of patients that their hair can regrow. There are medical options that can help facilitate the regrowth of hair faster, including PRP (platelet rich plasma), low level light laser therapy, and minoxidil.
In addition, while the hair is regrowing, it is vital that minimal physical stress be applied to the hair via heat, chemicals or extensions. In addition I recommend patients see their primary doctor for routing blood tests to make sure there is no underlying thyroid disorder, anemia, or any other active medical condition contributing to their hair loss.
Substantial hair loss following COVID has unfortunately been added to the long list of sequelae from having the illness. Fortunately, due to the presentation there is an expectation that the majority of these patients will see regrowth over the next year through medical therapy.