Since the rates for COVID-19 vaccinations remain stubbornly low, I do my best to point out reasons for getting the vaccine. Next up, new research shows that COVID-19 infections are linked to hair loss. That’s right, getting COVID-19 can increase your chances of going bald.
As I usually do, I will examine the data from the research and critique the study to determine if it is, indeed, a reason to avoid COVID-19 by getting vaccinated.
COVID-19 and hair loss paper
In a paper published on 10 January 2024 in JAMA Dermatology, Jin Park, MD, PhD, of Jeonbuk National University Medical School in Jeonju, South Korea, and colleagues performed a cohort study that included 259,369 patients with COVID and 259,369 patients without COVID. Patients were matched by demographic characteristics and comorbidities.
The researchers examined the incidence of alopecia areata, a type of hair loss that forms in patches and is potentially caused by an autoimmune disorder, in COVID and non-COVID cohorts. The incidence of autoimmune diseases appears to be higher in individuals who have had COVID-19 compared to those who haven’t (and another reason to avoid the disease with vaccines).
Here are the key results from their research:
- Generally, the researchers found that hair loss from alopecia areata significantly increased after COVID-19, a nationwide study involving more than half a million South Koreans found.
- The incidence of this autoimmune form of hair loss was 82% higher for individuals with versus those without a prior COVID infection.
- The study also revealed a 6.4X increase in the incidence of telogen effluvium, that is, rapid hair loss triggered by stress or other changes to the body, among the cohort with COVID-19 compared with the control group.
The researchers speculated that COVID-19 induces a cytokine storm that leads to an autoimmune disorder like alopecia areata.
COVID-19 is linked to many conditions from diabetes to death, but people still don’t seem concerned and make every excuse to avoid the vaccines that can prevent COVID-19. This study shows that contracting COVID-19 can lead to a particular type of hair loss and pattern baldness that is not reversible. You can lose your hair and never bring it back.
If I can’t appeal to anything but vanity in preventing COVID-19, then I present this study.
- Chang R, Yen-Ting Chen T, Wang SI, Hung YM, Chen HY, Wei CJ. Risk of autoimmune diseases in patients with COVID-19: A retrospective cohort study. EClinicalMedicine. 2023 Feb;56:101783. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2022.101783. Epub 2023 Jan 10. PMID: 36643619; PMCID: PMC9830133.
- Kim JS, Lee GJ, Jeong CY, Yeom SW, Nam KH, Yun SK, Park J. Risk of Alopecia Areata After COVID-19. JAMA Dermatol. 2024 Jan 10:e235559. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2023.5559. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38198177; PMCID: PMC10782381.