One in four people who recover from Covid-19 suffer from severe hair loss in the months following infection with the new coronavirus, according to a recently published study by university researchers in the United States, Mexico and Sweden. The problem is known as acute telogen effluvium (ETA) and can persist for up to six months, leading to the loss of up to 50% of hairs in the most extreme cases.
“It is a type of fall that can occur after several triggering factors, such as infectious diseases. Usually, ETA occurs after three to six months of the causal factor, however, at Covid we have seen symptoms of earlier onset, two or three weeks after the infection”, says the responsible for the area of Dermatology at the Health Department of the Federal District, Ana Carolina Church.
Dermatologist Luanna Portela, a member of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology of the DF (SBD-DF), explains that, during infection, the body prioritizes tissue recovery and general health over less important areas, such as the hair follicle, responsible for the growth of the yarn. The body’s stress to defend itself from the disease is responsible for the hair loss.
“We lost up to 150 hairs a day in a telogen effluvium process. In Covid-19 cases, a drop of up to 300 hairs per day has been observed, with some going from the anagen (growth) phase to the telogen (fall) phase early. It’s as if the wires lasted less. The patient observes the hair loss in voluminous tufts”, explains Luanna.
There is no way to prevent hair loss after becoming infected with the coronavirus, but dermatologists ensure that they grow back spontaneously in patients who had a healthy scalp before the disease. The process, however, can take weeks to months and the threads tend to grow thinner, fragile and brittle.
When loss becomes a nuisance, patients should see a qualified dermatologist for an individual scalp assessment. In the office, exams will help determine if the problem occurred exclusively from Covid-19 or another associated cause.
According to Ana Carolina Igreja, post-infectious telogen effluvium can be triggers for androgenetic alopecia – hair loss, which causes baldness in men and women. In these cases, treatment will need to be continuous.
When the problem is exclusively associated with Covid-19, there is no need for treatment, but there are some options to help hair growth. Luanna Portela lists some:
- Microneedling with skin drug infusion (mmp);
- Photobiotherapy with LED;
- intradermotherapy, an injection treatment for drug applications;
- Microneedling with drug delivery, a robotic needling where substances that accelerate hair growth are injected;
- Low level laser therapy, low power laser treatment that the patient can do at home.
“The fall is temporary, there will be improvement, but if it is intense, bothering the patient, he should look for a specialist doctor, who is a member of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology”, advises Portela.
The dermatologist reminds that the shampoos available on the market improve the texture aspect of the threads, but do not help with growth.
Service by SUS
In the public health network of the Federal District, the assessment of the need for treatment is carried out in the Basic Health Units (UBS). When necessary, the family health strategy team makes the referral to a skin dermatologist.
See the famous people who have already been vaccinated: