Why Does COVID-19 Cause Hair Loss and How to Deal With It?


Quick Summary

The vast majority of hair loss related to COVID is the result of telogen effluvium, a stress-related hair loss.

The good news is that telogen effluvium is reversible, most patients will restore their hair after a period of 6–8 months.


As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, reports for hair loss cases skyrocketed. Patients were experiencing hair loss during the infection or shortly after healing.

This story become viral when the Hollywood star, Alyssa Milano, posted a video talking about how she lost her hair after catching the virus.

Scientifically speaking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not classify hair loss as a primary symptom of COVID-19. With that said, many doctors believe hair loss might be a long-term sequela of this infection. For example, dermatologist, Dendy Engelman, said that the cases of hair loss spiked during the pandemic.

In this article, we will cover the relationship between COVID-19 and hair loss, then see how you can reverse this complication.

Why does COVID-19 cause hair loss?

Currently, there is no real evidence that connects COVID directly to hair loss. However, physicians believe that COVID may precipitate reversible hair loss (i.e., telogen effluvium). This results from the enormous physical and emotional stress that COVID patients endure.

Researchers managed to identify clear risk factors and triggers for telogen effluvium, which include:

  • Severe emotional distress
  • Elevated core temperature for too long
  • Complicated surgeries

To understand telogen effluvium, we need to briefly cover the phases of hair growth.

For hair follicles to grow, they undergo several cycles, including:

  • Anagen – A long growing phase
  • Catagen – A short growing phase
  • Telogen – A resting phase
  • Exogen – A release phase

Once the final phase ends (i.e., the exogen phase), the hair follicles fall, giving chance for new ones to grow and restart the cycle.

Every day, around 40 hairs reach the exogen phase. This translates to losing around 40 hair follicles per day in women – men can actually lose up to 78 hairs.

All of this is normal. However, if you start losing more than 100 hairs per day, you are no longer dealing with physiological processes.


In telogen effluvium, your hair switches from the catagen phase to the telogen phase abruptly. As a result, the hair starts falling without any new follicles to replace it.

The type of stress caused by COVID-19

Psychological stress is part of the human experience. Common triggers for this stress include family disputes, academic exams, and toxic work environments.

This type of stress is necessary to keep us going and achieve our goals.

With that said, for stress to be beneficial, it needs to be moderate and temporary.

Contrast that with the severe or chronic stress caused by COVID-19. This type of emotional state wreaks havoc on every organ system, including your integumentary system (e.g., hair, nails).

Neuroscientists often fascinate us with new discoveries about the brain. Despite the marvels of the central nervous system, it has several limitations. One key limitation is the inability to differentiate between psychological and physical stress.

Why Does COVID-19 Cause Hair Loss and How to Deal With It?

In other words, undergoing major stress caused by COVID-19 will be interpreted by your primitive brain as if you are running for your life from a bear. The same biochemical processes occur in both scenarios.

The typical response to this type of stress includes:

  • Peaked levels of stress hormones (e.g., cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline)
  • Tachycardia (i.e., elevated heart rate)
  • Minor remodeling of the brain structure

The sympathetic nervous system and COVID-19

The part of your brain responsible for these reactions is called the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). Scientists gave the physiological reaction triggered by the SNS a cool name – the ‘fight or flight’ response.

The elevated levels of stress hormones work on many organ systems to prioritize essential functions.

Examples include:

  • Increased blood flow to the brain – Protection for this noble organ
  • Increased blood flow to skeletal muscles – Vital for running away from the bear
  • Dilates pupils – Essential to view the terrain as you run away from the bear
  • Dilates airways – Breathing is important for running

At the same time, the brain puts secondary functions on hold. These include digestion, urine production, reproduction, and hair growth.


It’s for this reason severe stress triggers diarrhea, urine release, and miscarriages. Some of you might think that the brain is stopping secondary functions, such as digesting food and producing urine, so why do stressed people experience diarrhea and urine incontinence?

That’s a very good question. When scientists explored this phenomenon, they found that the SNS exerts potent action on these organs to the point where the antipode system (i.e., the parasympathetic nervous system) reacts abruptly, causing the opposite reactions – diarrhea instead of constipation and urine release instead of anuria.

COVID-19, autoimmune diseases, and hair loss

While the vast majority of hair loss related to COVID is the result of telogen effluvium, there is a subset of patients who experience autoimmune-triggered hair loss.

COVID-19 is caused by a subtype of the coronavirus. As you may know, one of the most common triggers of autoimmune diseases is viral infection.

The name of the autoimmune disease that precipitates hair loss is alopecia areata. Usually, hair loss caused by AA is irreversible. However, early medical intervention may limit the damage.


The issue with AA is that you can’t really tell it apart from other types of hair loss. Therefore, visiting your doctor remains the best course of action in this situation.

Because COVID is such a major disease, it can also impact some organs that cause hair loss. For instance, disrupted thyroid function can easily lead to hair loss.

Speak with your doctor for tailored medical advice.

Tips to prevent stress-related hair loss

The best way to prevent stress-related hair loss is by eating healthy food, exercising more often, and including stress-relieving activities into your routine.

It is also important to get the necessary nutrients that your hair follicles need. If that’s not possible via your diet, opt for supplements.

You should also learn how to control your emotional reactions. Meditation, yoga, and music may help in this area. However, if all fails, you may want to see a therapist who uses cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques.

Treatment – How to regain hair loss from stress

The first thing to do when you experience COVID-related hair loss is to visit your primary care physician or dermatologist. Improving your nutrition and taking supplements can also help.

At some point during your journey, you will get tempted to try the “magical” solutions for telogen effluvium. To save you time and money, we recommend that you don’t try any unusual remedies or products. Instead, focus on eating healthier food, exercising more, and practicing anxiolytic activities (e.g., yoga, meditation). This may help in accelerating your recovery.


Besides that, you can try the following tips:

  • Natural home remedies that you used to do before.
  • Post Covid hair loss treatment at home.
  • Avoid hairstyles that pull on your hair – this may lead to traction alopecia.
  • Heating, bleaching, perming, and dyeing are a big NO!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.      When does COVID-related hair loss typically start?

There is no rule when it comes to COVID-related hair loss.

In general, your hair will start to fall after 2–3 months of the beginning of stress. Therefore, depending on the duration of your illness, hair loss may either occur during or after the infection.

For instance, some patients took over 3 months to completely recover from COVID. These patients may experience hair loss before they completely heal.

For the vast majority of patients who heal from COVID after 2 to 3 weeks, telogen effluvium mostly occurs after healing.

2.      How long does COVID hair loss last?

Most patients restore their hair after a period of 6–8 months. Adopting a healthier lifestyle can help with shortening this duration.

However, if AA is the cause of your hair loss, the damage may be irreversible.

3.      Can you regrow your hair after suffering from telogen effluvium?

Typically, telogen effluvium causes 300 hair follicles to fall per day.

The good news is that this condition is reversible. After a few months, your hair will grow back to normal without any interventions.

4.      What you can also do about hair loss after COVID?

After understanding telogen effluvium and the fact that it takes time to reverse, you may want to consider temporary solutions. For instance, using a comfortable wig or hair system can help in hiding your thinning hair.

Interested in wigs or hair systems? Check out our collection of men’s hair system and women’s wigs below for more information.

Takeaway message

Stress-related hair loss, or telogen effluvium, is an extremely common condition that most people are unaware of. Unfortunately, desperate patients spend thousands of dollars on solutions that use pseudoscience without any evidence of real effectiveness.

We hope that this article helped you understand the relationship between COVID and hair loss, as well as the ways to deal with it.

If you have any questions or concerns about COVID-related hair loss, feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

If you need any help in investing in a wig or hair system to hide the thinning hair temporarily, you can also reach out to us for a conversation via this link.

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June Chen

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June is detail-oriented, excellent at simplifying complex issues, making them understandable to all our clients, particularly those new to our services and products or unfamiliar with China.

Originally from Weifang, China, known as the hometown of kites, June moved to Qingdao in search of a better work-life balance. This has been her first job ever since. Over the years working at Newtimes Hair, she has cultivated a friendly demeanor and a sense of humor. June considers Newtimes Hair her second home, a place where she invests her passion wholeheartedly.

Her role extends beyond just solving problems; June acts as a bridge between our team and our clients, embodying our commitment to impeccable customer service.

● What hobbies and interests do you have?

I enjoy exercising. That’s a very important part of my life. I’m a super active person.

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No, not that I know of. I’m a very realistic person. If you mention outlandish stuff like aliens, monster in the bush, I’d be out of my mind.

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I want to learn how to swim. I know it might sound a bit sarcastic, as I just mentioned that I enjoy doing exercise. Unfortunately, swimming hasn’t been on my list. I think I better catch up on that.

● What wig would you wear if you wore one and why?

I’d give HW1 a try. It looks natural and beautiful. Though we categorize it as a medical wig, almost any female can wear it. It’s got a lace mesh base, breathable, and flexible. You don’t need glue or tape to fix it to your head. Pretty easy, and it gives you all the long hair look a girl could want.


Sherry Sui

Sales representative


Are you new to China or the hair-making industry and feeling a bit lost about where to start? Sherry is your go-to expert. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of our products and services, Sherry will help you identify the perfect product combo aligning with your business needs and client requirements.

Grew up in Yantai, and moved to Qingdao in 2015 with a medical background, Sherry’s thoughts are beyond simply selling hairpieces. She cares about the end user’s health, too. In the process of sourcing the most suitable hairpieces for your clients, it’s worthwhile to pay attention to what Sherry says in terms of scalp health and hairpiece maintenance. You can think of her as a comprehensive, yet concise hairpiece encyclopedia, equipped to offer you top-notch recommendations and ideas for exceptional customer service.

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At our end-of-year conference, my colleagues agreed that I’m a warm hearted, positive, and easy-going teammate. It gives me a sense of reward.

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I don’t like being confined in a very small space. I believe it was due to a childhood experience. When I was six years old, I accidentally tripped and fell into a shallow well. I had to wait for two hours before I was found. Since then, I’ve found I just can’t tolerate the idea of being alone. I guess that makes me an active team player.

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This may sound boastful, but it’s true. It’s just part of my nature to help others. When I actually see that what I did for them has helped them achieve something, it just makes me excited.

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I recomend HS25V. Oftentimes I’d introduce this model to my new clients to start with, so they can introduce this to their new clients see if hair systems are what really suit them, before they carry on with lace or mono hair systems.


Winni Yu

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Born in Weifang, China’s kite capital, and moved to Qingdao in 2013, Winni has never looked back. Since joining Newtimes Hair, Winni has been a dynamo of efficiency and innovation. She is a problem-solver brimming with ideas and has become a vital part of our team.

From your first contact with Winni to the moment your orders are delivered, Winni ensures a smooth and exciting experience. With her at the helm, the business isn’t just easy but exhilarating, and every challenge becomes an opportunity for innovation.

Transitioning from a client developer to a retention specialist, throughout the years, Winni has successfully assisted numerous clients in solving their issues, particularly concerning product details, logistics, or custom hiccups.

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I’m into so many things. All the popular stuff you name: Swimming, badminton, running, all for keeping me in good shape.

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They keep calling me “pretty Winni pretty brainy.” I’d take that as a compliment. I’d say I’m generally pretty fast in term of thinking and figuring out solutions. My teammates often turn to me for help, too. And It turned out that most of the time my ideas worked for them.

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I’m a typical town girl, you know. I’m into cats and dogs. But things like snakes, all sorts of insects, and hamsters; they are not my cup of tea. So, never get them near me.

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Most of my clietns are after Q6. And their clients happened to be guys who are into hair systems that are durable and natural. Q6 is a pretty good pick for them. With proper care, it should easily last 6 months.


Tori Zhang

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Tori or Victoria to be exact, originally from Heze, brought her passion for life to Qingdao in 2016. An avid reader with a Teacher’s Qualification Certificate, Tori is known for her professional yet intriguing persona at the office.

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I’m always fascinated about an exotic lifestyle. I really wish I could travel a lot, go to many different countries, and try their local gourmet food, and get in touch with the locals to actually have a feel of their culture.

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I’m always afaid of heights. With any tall buildings, be it a chimney or TV tower, I look at it, and imagine I’m looking down right from the top, it will give me sweaty palms.

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Not at all. I generally love all pets. Dog, cats, guinea pigs, rabits, etc. I love them.

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When you feel tired,it means you are walking uphill. I believe this quote as a truth that gives me a lift whenever I’m down. I believe there’s no gain without pain. Without trying, we can’t achieve anything.

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With me personally, the best-selling hair system has been HS1. It has what it’s required out of a good quality hair system, in terms of a natural-looking hairline, undetectable scalp, etc. Most wearers and salon owners are familiar with it. Plus, all our clients have faith in the quality of this hair system. According to their feedback, this is an easy-to-attach, easy-to-maintain hair system for both men and women.


Ivan Mu

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Born and raised in a quiet town named Binzhou, China, where the Yellow River whispers its final secrets to the ocean. Ivan’s life was set to transform in ways he could hardly imagine. After completing college in Qingdao, young Ivan little knew that this vibrant coastal city would capture his heart and chart a new course in his life.

Ivan joined Newtimes Hair in mid-2022 soon after his graduation from his master’s. As a trilingual and someone with a professional understanding of Western cultures, Ivan plays a critical role in establishing customer relations in the US and Europe. His approachable nature and a mind of precision make him an invaluable asset to the team.

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I eardrop, and I hear them talking about me. I’m optimistic, proactive, and very friendly, and eager to help.

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I love basketball. And I’m a basketball freak. You can call me that. That’s just me. I’m looking at organizing a basketball team in the near future. 

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I don’t know why I share the same gene with Doraemon. I’m scared of rats. I’m a 6’3″, but I hate rats; seeing one really freaks me out.

  • Which men/womens hair system do you sell the most? Why that model?

New Australia. When it first came out in early 2023, it made me top of sales. I think most wearers like it because at the design statge, our experts considered all possible aspects people could want from a hairpiece, such as a natural look, a level of comfort, and affordablity; it’s similar to lace, but most wearers can afford.