Post-pandemic hair and skin problems on the rise

Bangalore Health pandemic

The number of patients has tripled now as compared to before the pandemic, say city’s dermatologists.

Four to five people report to a dermatologist daily with complaints of excess hair fall and rashes due to lifestyle changes and post Covid-19 recovery, said dermatologists.

Shraddha, 24, a student pursuing her masters in Christ University, said, “I tested positive for Covid-19 during the second wave of the pandemic. After three weeks, I tested negative. My recovery progress had been quite slow as my body had become very weak. After a month and a half into my recovery process, my hair started falling out. At first, I didn’t take it seriously but then had to consult a dermatologist as my conditions worsened as the days passed.”

She added, “It’s been three months now and my hair is growing. Due to hair fall, I even got depressed as I was losing too much hair and wasn’t able to face myself in the mirror as hair adds to your beauty.”

Dermatologists say that there has been a 60 to 70 percent increase in the number of patients who have been reporting excessive hair fall, especially after the pandemic. “There have been other dermatological problems which the patients are complaining like “maskne” (acne which is caused due to wearing masks) and rashes,” said Dr. Mukta Sachdev, dermatologist.

She explained, “The main reasons in increase of patients with dermatological problems are, firstly due to the pandemic change has been observed in the lifestyle of people, secondly majority of patients with such problems have either recovered from Covid-19 or have taken both the doses of vaccination and lastly awareness amongst individuals to seek medical help sooner is more now as compared to before the pandemic.”

Prajwal, a working professional, said, “I had been losing hair and whenever I used to wear a mask, I used to get acne. Upon consultation with a dermatologist, I got to know that due to work from home and induced stress, I had been having excess hairfall and I had maskne as my skin was sensitive to masks.”

Research also states that Covid-19 has led to an increase in several dermatological disorders, including hair loss. Psychological stress, systematic inflammation, and oxidative stress are potential culprits.  

“The fever and inflammation which the coronavirus causes, interrupts the life cycle of a hair follicle and pushes it to the end stage where the hair sheds. The virus affects  immunity and deprives an individual of vital nutrients required for skin and hair health like  Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D,” said Dr. Vishal Methre, Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, RajaRajeshwari Medical College and Hospital.

He added, “The effect of hair fall is reversible but it takes time as the hair grows 0.3mm daily and up to 1 cm in a month.”

Dr. Narasimhan Dwarakanath, Psychologist said, “Stress and anxiety can also result in physical health problems such as hair loss in individuals. With the pandemic, came a lot of emotions that everyone was dealing such as loss, grief, fear, anger, and burnouts. It also brought in a gradual shift in one’s lifestyle, which impacted an individual’s way of dealing with these emotions.”

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Bhanvi Sharma
Documenting Life through my Photographs & Films. Trainee Multimedia Journalist at Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media

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