Turns out, COVID hair loss is actually not so surprising.

Advertisement

Drake has revealed that he had COVID-19—and says he experienced hair loss because of the virus.

The 34-year-old rapper shared the news on Instagram after a fan page posted two pictures of Drake (aka, Aubrey Graham) that showed a stark difference in the size of the heart shape that is shaved into his hairline. In the first photo, Drake's hairline has a complete heart. In the second, only the rounded top of the heart is visible. "That heart is stressed 💀😭," the fan captioned the comparison post.

Drake hopped into the comments to explain the change by responding, "I had Covid that s--t grew in weird I had to start again 😂 it's coming back don't diss."

Drake COVID Hairline
Credit: Getty Images

Drake isn't the only person who recovered from COVID-19 and then noticed hair loss. Esther Freeman, MD, PhD, who directs the Dermatology COVID-19 Registry, a database of skin and hair manifestations of COVID-19, told TODAY that an increasing number of people who are recovering from the coronavirus are reporting hair loss in the aftermath of the illness.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), hair loss "may not be so unexpected." That's because hair loss is normal after a person has a fever—and a fever is one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19.

Technically, what happens after a COVID-19 infection is hair shedding, not hair loss. "The medical name for this type of hair shedding is telogen effluvium. It happens when more hairs than normal enter the shedding (telogen) phase of the hair growth lifecycle at the same time," per the AAD. "A fever or illness can force more hairs into the shedding phase."

Both men and women can develop telogen effluvium. And if your COVID-19 infection does lead to the condition, expect to see noticeable hair shedding two to three months after your illness. "Handfuls of hair can come out when you shower or brush your hair," the AAD says.

That shedding can last for six to nine months. Then, most people will stop shedding and see their hair return to normal. "As your hair grows back, you'll notice short hairs that are all the same length by your hairline," the AAD states.

So is there a remedy to counter post-COVID hair loss? Nope, aside from giving your hair time. To speed up regrowth, you can try a topical minoxidil 5% solution (such as Rogaine), dermatologist Angelo Landriscina, MD, previously told Health. "This encourages hair follicles to leave the telogen phase early and return to the anagen or growth phase," he says.

COVID-19 is just one illness that can lead to telogen effluvium. As infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Maryland, previously told Health, telogen effluvium "can be seen after many different types of illnesses, including malaria and tuberculosis."

Stress can cause telogen effluvium-related hair shedding as well. So even if you never had COVID-19, you may still notice hair loss during the pandemic because of the stress it's brought on. "Emotional stress can also force more hairs than normal into the shedding phase," according to the AAD. "And who isn't feeling more stressed and anxious during the pandemic?"

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter.