Malaika Speaks About Hair Loss After COVID: What’s the Connection?

Dermatologists share tips to keep your scalp healthy and prevent hair loss.

4 min read
Malaika Speaks About Hair Loss After COVID: What’s the Connection?

Days after recovering from COVID-19, Bollywood actress Malaika Arora has opened up on social media about experiencing intense hair fall post her recovery.

“Post my COVID-19 recovery, even I have been experiencing an intense hair fall than usual, so apart from my daily dose of good ol’ vitamins, I have also restarted my one ingredient DIY hair fall therapy.”
Malaika Arora

Apart from diet and exercise, Arora believes simple DIY tips can go a long way in controlling the hair fall. In her post, she shares a one-ingredient therapy for the scalp that could be used twice a week to see a difference.

"Grate one fresh onion and extract its juice. Apply the juice to your scalp with the help of a cotton ball. Keep it for some time and then wash it off with a paraben-free shampoo,” she suggests.

Back in August, American actress Alyssa Milano also reported experiencing a similar issue and posted a video brushing her wet hair while huge clumps fell off. In fact, many long-haulers, part of various online support groups, have shared their own hair fall stories.


COVID-19 and Hair-Loss: Explaining the Link

Speaking to FIT, Dr B L Jangid, Dermatologist and Hair Transplant Surgeon, SkinQure Clinic, New Delhi, explained that hair loss as a consequence is not restricted to COVID, but can be a result of any illness that affects the body.

“Reportedly, hair loss to date has no direct link with COVID-19. However, medically, it is believed that any kind of illness, from major to minor one in the body can cause hair loss, though the rate of losing strands depends upon the condition, and can be treated by consulting a professional dermatologist,” he said.

“A human body goes through massive changes internally while dealing with coronavirus, making a person weak and unhealthy. The body, hence, turns unhealthy, ill, and weak where the occurrence of hair loss is assumed to be a very common phenomenon.”
Dr B L Jangid

Certain medications for treating the disorder can further act as an add-on, becoming a surging factor behind your hair loss. In some other viral illnesses, he adds, the viral gene is assumed to increase the production of the 5-alpha-reductase and the androgen receptor in the scalp of the infected person, which could lead to hair loss and balding.

Dr Simal Soin, founder, AAYNA Clinic, also reiterated that any illness can cause the hair to go into a state of shock and lead to eventual fall, but this is a reversible consequence.

“The immune system is busy battling the illness and as hair is a non – essential part of our body it is the first part to experience lack of nutrition. 6-12 weeks post the illness, hair fall is experienced.”
Dr Simal Soin

According to a Healthline article, the condition when physical and emotional stress that accompanies a case of COVID-19 causes reversible hair loss is called ‘telogen effluvium’.

Telogen effluvium is known occur a few months after a stressful event, which could include a surgery, high fever, or even emotional distress.

In conversation with FIT, Dr Simal Soin explained,

“Stress can lead the hair to go into a resting phase from its growth phase and result in hairfall. Stress makes our immune system vulnerable which causes it to weaken the hair and also results in a lack of adequate nutritional uptake by the hair follicle. This form of hair loss is called Telogen Effluvium and usually is reversed once we are relieved of stress.”
Dr Simal Soin

COVID-19 Stress, Lockdown and Hair Loss

Stress and hair loss, on most occasions, go hand in hand.
Stress and hair loss, on most occasions, go hand in hand.
(Photo: iStock)

Hair fall issues haven’t remained exclusive to COVID survivors, but have also affected the general population which has found itself locked down and quarantined inside their homes. The stress that comes with the pertaining uncertainties, the lack of socialisation and the sedentary lifestyle, have all contributed to hair woes among people.

Dr Soin explains that stress and hair loss, on most occasions, go hand in hand. The lockdown has been stressful for various reasons and hair loss will be a common complaint experienced by most, but hair loss due to stress is environmentally-driven and can be easily controlled by managing the source of distress.

Commenting on the same, Dr B L Jangid said, “Stress can easily be a prime reason behind your rapid hair loss. Hair loss in an emphasized manner can be stress-induced along with the occurrence of some deficiencies. Not only these, but certain environmental factors and the hot, humid climate also can further take a toll on your healthy hair, causing you to lose strands rapidly, leading to drastic hair loss.”

Moreover, he adds that the lack of sun exposure could also worsen hair outcomes.

“Hair loss due to lack of sun exposure is a common phenomenon that can occur with individuals. Vitamin D is an important nutrient that’s very essential for human health, boosting immunity along with creating new hair follicles. Furthermore, Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to alopecia which is also considered as spot baldness.”
Dr B L Jangid

Managing Hair Loss: Tips by Experts

Hair loss is one of the most common problems to occur worldwide, affecting one-third of the population. Dr Jangid shares that based on scientific estimates, everyone loses about 100 hair strands each day. Therefore, taking care of your hair turns mandatory in order to prevent hair loss. Try adhering to these tips for preventing hair loss in an effective manner.

  • Consider washing your hair with mild shampoo on a regular basis.
  • Increase the consumption of Vitamin E that is good for your hair.
  • Opt for an enriched protein-based diet.
  • Try rubbing garlic, onion, or ginger juice on your scalp for a healthy noticeable result.
  • Keep yourself hydrated.
  • Dr Soin talks about the importance of multivitamins and biotin supplements to ensure adequate nutritional supply for hair follicles.
  • If possible, massage your head once a week to keep the blood circulation intact and to invigorate the follicles.

Experiencing hair loss after stressful experiences is reversible, and these easy tips, along with proper diet, nutrition and exercise could help avoid or mitigate the damages caused to your hair.

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