Author: Laura Blott
The Belgravia Centre Sees Surge in COVID-19 Related Hair Loss Conditions
Hair loss specialists at The Belgravia Centre’s London clinics have seen a correlation between COVID-19 related symptoms and hair loss three months later, particularly the diagnosis of Telogen Effluvium (TE). The clinic formally recorded findings over a six week period across June and July, and found a significant number of cases occurred eight to sixteen weeks after COVID-19 symptoms.
What is Telogen Effluvium?
TE is a disturbance in the hair growth cycle where a high percentage of anagen follicles (follicles which are actively growing hair), go into their resting phase prematurely, typically following a stressful event. This results in increased hair shedding all over the scalp around two to four months after the triggering event, which can be alarming to many. TE is often temporary and recoverable, lasting in the most part up to six months. Any longer than six months and the condition is considered chronic.
The Belgravia Centre’s findings in detail
Over the six week period across June and July, the most commonly reported diagnosis remained androgenic alopecia, (or patterned hair loss) however a higher percentage of TE cases were seen. Nearly two thirds (64%) of male patients and over a third of women (38%) diagnosed with TE reported having experienced COVID-19 related symptoms, the majority of times having fallen ill in March, suggesting a correlation between COVID-19 related symptoms and hair loss approximately three months later.
TE alone can present concerning shedding, but when co-existing with patterned hair loss, which was seen in a number of cases, can aggravate existing or underlying conditions.
Rali Bozhinova, Superintendent Trichologist at the Belgravia Centre comments:
“It’s quite common for TE-related hair loss to present around three months after a period of severe trauma, illness or stress, which fits with our findings. The spike in diagnoses shows the extent of stress that the virus places on the body, not only causing temporary TE, but also potentially exacerbating other hair loss conditions which can have long lasting effects if left untreated. Only recently have we begun treating cases from March, therefore I would expect to see this trend continuing for some time in the wake of the virus.”
Whether each patient’s case of TE is due to COVID-19, other illness, medication, dietary deficiencies, severe stress, a recent pregnancy or bereavement is not definitively known, however TE is often multi-aetiological and it is difficult to pinpoint a single reason.
COVID-19 and hair loss in the media
In recent months there have been multiple case studies in the press about hair loss and COVID-19. Actress Alyssa Milano notably revealed her hair loss as a ‘long-haul’ COVID-19 symptom. Several members of the Survivor Corps Facebook support group also reported hair loss.
As the UK’s leading hair loss clinic, The Belgravia Centre was consulted by international media outlets for comment on its findings. Amongst others, Belgravia’s Superintendent Trichologist, Rali Bozhinova, spoke with the Daily Mail, Dazed and news network CGTN. Watch Rali’s interview with CGTN below.
What is it like to experience TE after COVID-19?
A member of Belgravia’s Patient Care team, Roisin O’Connell is currently experiencing TE following a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 in March. She explains:
“In July my hair loss was really bad. It wasn’t just a strand here and there, I started to realise my hair was everywhere – all over the bed sheets and shower. I began questioning why and brushed it a couple of times. The clumps that fell out were unbelievable and my pony tail quickly halved in size. It’s strange to think I’m still seeing the effects of the virus months later, but having discussed my diagnosis with Rali, at least I can get on top of the problem.”
Is COVID-19 related TE recoverable?
Acute TE does not always require treatment and can improve on its own if the trigger factor has been removed. For example, if COVID-19 has indeed been the main cause for the condition and the patient has recovered, the hair is likely to improve of its own accord within 3-6 months. If short tapered hairs of similar length can be seen across the entire scalp, this is a sign of regrowth. However, if the patient has another type of hair loss, now exacerbated by the TE (such as patterned hair loss) or if the patient has chronic TE, then The Belgravia Centre would offer highly successful non-invasive treatment including targeted pharmaceuticals and hair growth supporting products that can help to stimulate quick and healthy hair growth.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.