After contracting COVID-19 in December 2020, I had dealt with a multitude of symptoms. Many of them I had expected because they were some of the same well-known symptoms everyone was being cautioned about. Before I was even diagnosed, I knew I had COVID simply because it was most definitely an illness I had never experienced before in my life. The symptoms were just very different and very scary. I was in bed for 20 days! And they were long and hard days battling pneumonia, fever, nausea, shortness of breath, coughing, extreme fatigue, lack of appetite and more.
On December 24, I tested negative, however the side effects took another 6-7 weeks to dissipate. My cough lasted the longest as well as chest pain whenever I took in a deep breath. Not to mention the very emotional toll that COVID had on me. I contracted COVID exactly 4 months after my mothers passing, which was very difficult as well as during the Christmas holiday when all my husband and I wanted to do was spend time with our children and grandchildren making all those precious memories together. I even missed out on attending our oldest grandsons 6th birthday celebration.
In February of this year, as travel bans were beginning to lift, my husband and I took our first flight in a year to southern California to celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary and our friends birthday. It was there, that I began to notice a much more surprising and alarming side effect….. hair loss!! I started noticing a TON of hair loss while showering and after showering as well, in fact it would literally continue all day, everyday! My girlfriend suggested that maybe it was my thyroid. However, I had just completed my yearly physical with my internist and all my blood work came back normal. What a blessing that was! I never considered my hair as thick, but I did have a lot of hair and it was very full. I actually considered the possibility of needing to purchase a wig or a halo if my hair loss continued. I was completely shocked how my full pony tail turned into this very thin tiny little one.
The American Academy of Dermatology say that hair loss can be caused by genetics, age, hormonal imbalances, other health conditions, medications and, of course, stress. Experts say the type of hair loss that most COVID-19 patients are having is called telogen effluvium, a temporary form caused by a physical or emotional stress, high fever, illness or weight loss of more than 20 pounds. Many of these symptoms are common with the COVID virus. Telogen effluvium involves shedding all over the head, not just the crown like male pattern baldness and the hair loss is far more than the normal 50-100 hairs people typically lose daily. Researchers do not believe that COVID-19 attacks the hair follicles, meaning the hair loss is the body’s reaction to the physiological and emotional stress that the disease caused, rather than a symptom of the disease itself.
Knowing all this, from the personal research I did online, I found that there are various treatments for telogen effluvium. I chose to try a more natural approach along with patience, prayer and keeping stress at bay through exercise. Nine weeks later, I have finally noticed a drastic change in the amount of hair loss I’m experiencing! I’ll share what has worked for me, although if you are experiencing new or worsening hair loss, I would first recommend a visit to a board-certified dermatologist to rule out other causes such as thyroid, side effects from any possible medications, an auto-immune disorder or a hormone imbalance.
Here is what I decided to implement into my hair routine:
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides in my protein shakes.
Hair serum using an Essential Oil blend that can be found here on Pinterest.
Kiehl’s Olive Fruit Oil shampoo and conditioner. Found at this link.
Ke’rastase leave-in hair serum infused with Manula oil prior to blow drying.
I only washed my hair every three days and used very low heat settings when drying my hair or curling it.
And as I mentioned earlier, I also incorporated patience, prayer, and lowering my stress through exercise and yoga. Learning and understanding that this is not a permanent hair disorder but that is does get better within 4-6 months gave me the reassurance I needed and was very helpful as I chose a more holistic approach over medication. My hair volume is still pretty thin compared to what is was prior to COVID-19, however I’m not seeing the hair loss like I had over the previous 9 weeks and I'm hopeful it will grow fuller again over time.
Today, for me it’s about finding the beauty in making it through a very stressful illness and that my mind and body are continually overcoming it by giving myself time and grace.
God gave us eyes to see the beauty in nature and hearts to see the beauty in each other.