PLAIN THOUGHTS: COVID-19 Related Hair Loss

By Judith Hensley

Ask any woman or man how important their hair is in their overall opinion of their appearance and it will probably rank very high. Men worry about male pattern baldness and a good cut. Women worry about a flattering style, color and hair health.

Who would have guessed that COVID-19 has now been linked to hair loss? I know first hand that it is a very real concern.

I’ve been blessed with a healthy head of hair throughout my life, even though I’ve had bouts of losing hair. Extensive times of being put to sleep for surgery took their toll with hair loss following. Radiation seemed to have an impact on my hair, although I was told in advance that it wouldn’t. Chemo is the culprit for that.

Normal aging changes the texture and volume of hair most people have.

My hair is coming out in fists full like I’ve never experienced before. My mom and one of my cousins who had COVID are experiencing similar hair concerns. I asked my mother’s doctor if it could be COVID related. He said, “yes.”

It is actually scary how much of my hair has come out. It feels to me that if I braid my hair, I have about 1/3-1/4 the amount of hair I once had.

The doctor advised us to take Biotin and pre-natal vitamins. I got to the pharmacy as fast as my little car could get me there to get these to products for my mother and me. Having only taken them a few days, I have no idea how effective they are going to be of how long it will take to feel a difference.

It is a serious enough issue for me that I’ve made it a matter of prayer. A lot of my identity is connected to healthy hair through the years. The Bible speaks of a woman’s hair being her glory. I’m persuaded there will be no glory in it if mine continues to come out by the brush full/fist full.

I got my first COVID-19 vaccination last week. I had heard there’s be no reaction on the first shot. My mother and brother only had a sore arm and a bit of tiredness. I had full blown symptoms like having COVID again. I slept for about twenty hours and got up the following day with only a sore arm and tiredness.

After hearing about the connection to the virus and hair loss, I’m a little concerned about the impact of the vaccine on this problem as well.

The Bible says that God cares about the desires of our hearts. I want to be sure my motives for asking God to stop my hair loss and restore my hair are not a matter of pure vanity. I’m sure there’s some vanity involved, but it goes much deeper than that.

I’ve done internet research on the subject and was shocked to see how many articles popped up on the search engine. There are over 20 MILLION results. According to U.S. News and World Report, in studies about the aftereffects of COVID-19, about 30 percent of people report significant hair loss as one of the lingering outcomes of COVID, but no solid findings connect the two scientifically. It is thought that the stress of the illness may be the leading factor. One odd thing is that even though there may be some immediate hair loss during the virus, the most severe loss may happen 50-60 days after diagnosis. No length of time for it to continue or end was noted.

Hair loss may happen after any of the following other factors: illness with hospitalization, high fever, severe stress, weight loss, major surgery, childbirth, medications, thyroid disease, dietary restrictions, divorce, or death of a loved one.

Recommendations include avoiding any kind of harsh chemical treatments on the hair or scalp like coloring or perms. Avoid hairstyles or hairstyling processes that pull excessively on the hair. U.S. News and World Report also recommends adding more biotin, iron, and vitamin D to the daily diet.

Several of the articles I read say that this hair loss is temporary, and hair will begin to grow back in eventually. I certainly hope they are right and am praying that the clumps of hair in my brush or comb will stop!