Coronavirus hair loss: how to support growth, regeneration and health
Helping you to look and feel your best is our main priority here at Paul Edmonds London. As recovered coronavirus patients begin to share their experiences, hair loss and hair thinning has emerged as one of the heart-breaking side effects of the illness. To help support you on the road to recovery, we’ve written this guide to cover the causes of post-Covid hair loss and how to get stronger hair with real, evidence-based solutions. Let’s get you back to looking and feeling amazing!
What causes coronavirus hair loss after recovery?
Mounting evidence* suggests that the body’s immune system experiences an inflammatory response or an autoimmune-type response when it’s attacking the virus. Your body’s immune system unwittingly attacks healthy cells as it tries to fight the infection.
It’s this same immune response that causes the cells in your skin and hair to become weaker, so they can’t regenerate as quickly or effectively. Your hair will feel thinner, weaker and might be more likely to shed. Your skin might feel more sensitive (including your scalp), and you may find that you suffer from rashes or discolouration.
The good news is, there are some evidence-based solutions for COVID-19 cell damage, which could help you get your skin and hair cells back to full strength again. For example, learning how to take advantage of your natural hair and skin cycles might help you jumpstart your recovery.
Understanding hair and skin growth cycles
Let’s start with your hair. There are three main phases of growth: anagen, catagen and telogen. Each phase can be seen in the hair follicle — it elongates in the anagen phase, shrinks in the catagen phase, and rests in the telogen phase before shedding.
As you can probably tell, a healthy anagen phase is essential for thick, full, long hair. This hair growth cycle chart is a good way to see each phase in action…
Your skin regenerates in an ‘Epidermal Cycle’. It takes place on the layer of the epidermis that grows new cells and sheds old ones. On average, it takes five to six weeks for your skin to go through the full cycle.
When you experience an autoimmune inflammatory response (like the one triggered by COVID-19), the epidermal cycle might slow down. This can cause hyper ageing, an increased risk of infection, skin discolouration and breakouts.
The growth cycle isn’t the only important factor in hair and skin regeneration — vitamins can help, too.
Vitamins for hair health
A diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help support the body’s cellular function, which provides the building blocks for growth and metabolism. By using supplements and eating the right foods, you can help to support your skin and hair as they rebuild, as well as improving how quickly your body recovers from the after-effects of the virus. Here are some tasty ways to support your body’s recovery…
When your body experiences infection or stress, the amount of Vitamin C in your plasma rapidly declines†. By supplementing with Vitamin C, you can improve your body’s antimicrobial and natural killer cell activities, as well as improving your cell immunity to infectious agents and chronic diseases. Vitamin C protects your cells against inflammatory responses and keeps them healthy.
Where to find it:
- Citrus fruits
A zinc deficiency can impair your cells’ ability to protect themselves from the negative effects of viruses. Together with Vitamin C, zinc has been shown to boost your body’s resistance to infectious diseases and can reduce the risk, severity and duration of illness†. While this vitamin dream team can’t prevent a potential autoimmune response, they can reduce the impact of post-Covid symptoms.
Where to find it:
- Fortified cereal
- Pumpkin seeds
Methionine, cysteine and arginine are protein building blocks. They’re essential for making keratin — the protein your hair and skin are made of. Amino acids are also important for improving the blood supply to your hair follicles. They also aid in strengthening your hair and in detoxification. Your body can’t make amino acids, so you’ll need to ingest them as part of your diet or via high-quality supplements.
Where to find them:
- Proteins like chicken, pork and turkey
- Dairy products
Vitamin B7 (biotin) helps us metabolise the protein, fat and carbohydrates we eat. Our cells and skin systems also benefit from regular doses of biotin. It’s thought that a deficiency can lead to thinning of hair or hair loss (but this is rare). Scientific evidence has shown that Vitamin B plays an important role within our bodies during times of high stress or infection.
Where to find it:
- Egg yolks
- Legumes (beans)
Iron is an important element of haemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells which moves oxygen from your lungs into your blood. The oxygen in your blood is what helps cells to grow and repair, so an iron deficiency could affect hair growth and may even cause hair loss. If you’ve been affected by rapid hair loss, it’s best to seek advice and get a blood test from your medical practitioner.
Where to find it:
- Red meat
- Dried apricots
- Fortified cereals
Our top product picks for hair loss treatment at home
Kérastase Densifique and Shu Uemura Muroto Volume
To stimulate thick hair growth, you’ll need a product designed to increase the blood supply to the root bulb of your hair follicles. There are two product ranges we’d recommend for this: Kérastase Densifique range and Shu Uemura Muroto Volume (£85).
Kérastase Densifique is a ‘bodifying’ routine that uses hyaluronic acid and ceramides to thicken and strengthen the hair. The range also includes a hair density programme — the Cure Densifique Hair Treatment. It contains active ingredients and Yang Complex to create visible mass.
The precious depsea water in Shu Uemura Muroto Volume is rich in salt and magnesium, which charge your hair follicles and cause them to repel like magnets. The result is increased volume and shine, without frizz or static.
Kérastase Specifique Range
The Kérastase Specifique range is excellent for weak hair that’s prone to breakage and hair fall. The Bain Prévention Shampoo (£19) contains lipids to help encourage a stronger root and Aminexil to increase blood flow to the hair follicle. It’s a great product for extending the anagen phase of your hair cycle, so your hair is more likely to be thicker and stronger.
Viviscal hair supplements
Viviscal Hair Growth tablets (£165) are scientifically formulated to promote hair health from within using all the vital nutrients we’ve talked about here — biotin, zinc, Vitamin C, and Iron — as well as their unique AminoMar C™ marine complex. Viviscal tablets are so effective, they have an all-star cast of Hollywood fans!
Hopefully, you have everything you need to create your own ritual for hair loss treatment at home. If you’d like a virtual consultation with our experts, you can get in touch here and we’ll be happy to help you.
*Information source: Immune Response, Inflammation, and the Clinical Spectrum of COVID-19
† Information source: Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions.