We are learning more and more about the long-term ramifications of COVID-19 in infected individuals. And one thing we commonly see across the board is some pretty significant hair loss in the months following the infection. While most people do not talk about hair loss, it can be pretty embarrassing and make you feel quite isolated. But thankfully, celebs like Drake have spoken out about how they had COVID and the effect it has had on their hair. Here’s a look at why Drake and countless others have experienced hair loss and how celebrities manage it.
Most people don’t just come out and say they had COVID. Indeed, when you are in the throes of sickness, you often keep it to your close circle until you are better. Such was the case with Drake. According to Self, the public did not know he had succumbed to the virus, but when someone made fun of his hair on a fan Instagram account, he spoke up.
In the photo, he had a heart design along his hairline, and the caption jokingly wrote that the heart looks “stressed.” Drake wrote back, saying, “I had COVID. That shit grew in weird. I had to start again, it’s coming back.” He then followed his comment up by saying, “Don’t diss.”
We don’t know when Drake had COVID, but we do know that he, like many others, likely experience a condition called telogen effluvium. In this condition, people undergo some sort of stressful situation that causes them to lose hair. Sometimes, that stressor is trauma or severe grief, but often it is the result of an illness. The stress your body undergoes to fight an infection, coupled with complex side effects like fever and inflammation, makes hair loss extremely common and expected. Fortunately, however, it is temporary.
More About Telogen Effluvium
Most people will experience telogen effluvium at some point in their lives. Normally, people lose between 50-100 hairs per day. But, when they have telogen effluvium, they can lose around 300 hairs daily. Typically, people won’t notice hair loss until about three months after they were ill. This delay in hair loss is because of how the hair growth cycle works.
The first and longest phase of the hair growth cycle is called anagen. This stage is where the hair shaft is actually growing in length and lasts between 4-7 years. The next phase is catagen, which is a short transitional stage that lasts only about 2 weeks. Finally, the hair transitions to telogen, the final resting phase. Telogen lasts about 3 months and is where the hair begins to detach from the follicle for shedding. As you may guess based on its name, telogen effluvium is where a greater number of your hair follicles are forced into telogen prematurely and then shed all at once a few months after a stressor like COVID.
How Long Does Telogen Effluvium Last?
We know that it can start around 3 months after you get a COVID infection, but when it stops may vary. For example, some people only have excessive shedding for a few weeks, whereas others may experience hair loss for six to nine months. However, most people will notice their hair starting to come back after a year, although its comeback may be slow.
How Can You Get Your Hair Back Quickly?
Being able to predict many of the things that cause hair loss is, well, unpredictable. So, it can be hard to prepare for temporary hair loss from telogen effluvium. But, one of the first things you should always do is make sure you use good shampooing products whenever you wash your hair. Products filled with harsh chemicals can irritate and dry your scalp, causing inflammation. Using shampoos and conditioners laden with harmful compounds can also damage your hair, giving you a poor foundation for those times when you may struggle with temporary hair loss.
Aside from always using the proper cleansing and hydrating products for your hair, you may need to tap into a topical hair regrowth solution if and when your hair does fall out. Some people have more minor losses that are quickly replaced, but many people will struggle with more severe hair loss, so using a product like Nanoxidil can help give you a jumpstart on hair regrowth. Similarly, there are some shampoos like the REVITA shampoo line that stimulate hair regrowth.
Products are a great, reliable way to go, but you will also want to make some changes to your diet and habits to help boost hair growth.
- Add in a hair growth supplement - from the moment you start to notice hair loss, make sure you are getting the right nutrients in your diet to support hair growth. One of the best ways to ensure you meet your daily nutritional needs for hair growth is by taking a supplement. Indeed, there is usually no harm in taking a hair growth supplement, even when you are not experiencing hair loss. As with any supplement, consult your doctor before adding anything new to your regimen.
- Sleep more - Especially if you are recovering from an illness or trauma, your body may require more sleep. So, try to add an extra hour (or two) each night so that your body has ample time to heal your body.
- Stay active - People who had COVID may struggle with physical activity in the weeks and months following infection, but getting daily exercise is important, even if it is just a light walk or gentle yoga.
- Stop harsh hair treatments - If you dye your hair or use a curling iron or blow dryer, now may be the time to put those practices to rest for a bit. If you continue doing these things, it can cause further inflammation on your scalp and potentially worsen hair loss. Be gentle and kind on the hair you do have, as well as the new growth that will eventually come in.
If you had COVID-19 and are currently struggling with hair loss, don’t fear - it is not permanent. As Drake said, “It’s coming back,” and yours will, too.