The Impact of Long COVID on Beauty: Skin, Hair, and Nails
Long COVID, also known as Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 Infection (PASC), is a phenomenon where individuals who have recovered from acute COVID-19 continue to experience symptoms for an extended period of time. While the initial symptoms of COVID-19 are well known, the long-term effects of the disease are still being studied. In recent months, there has been increasing concern about the impact of long COVID on beauty, specifically the skin and hair. In this article, we will explore the research on the effects of long COVID on beauty.
Skin is the largest organ in the body and is often one of the first organs to show signs of systemic disease. COVID-19 is known to cause a variety of skin manifestations, including rashes, hives, and blisters. However, the impact of long COVID on the skin is less clear.
A study published in JAMA Dermatology in March 2021 found that 32% of COVID-19 patients reported skin symptoms during their acute illness, and 19% of those patients continued to have skin symptoms at least 60 days after their initial diagnosis. The most common long COVID skin symptom was pruritus, or itching, which was reported by 11% of patients. Other long COVID skin symptoms reported in the study included rashes, hives, and skin discoloration.
Hair is another important aspect of beauty, and COVID-19 has been shown to cause hair loss in some patients. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in December 2020 found that 25% of COVID-19 patients experienced hair loss within 6 months of their initial diagnosis. The study also found that female patients were more likely to experience hair loss than male patients.
Another study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in February 2021 found that long COVID can cause hair loss, also known as telogen effluvium. The study looked at 175 COVID-19 patients and found that 22% of them experienced hair loss within 6 months of their initial diagnosis. The authors of the study suggest that the hair loss could be due to the immune response to the virus, which may cause an interruption in the normal hair growth cycle.
Nails are often overlooked when it comes to beauty, but they can also be affected by COVID-19. A study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology in February 2021 found that nail abnormalities were present in 63% of COVID-19 patients. The most common nail abnormality was longitudinal melanonychia, which is a dark stripe that runs down the length of the nail. Other nail abnormalities included onycholysis, or separation of the nail from the nail bed, and brittle nails.
Currently, there are no specific treatments for long COVID-related skin, hair, and nail symptoms. However, there are some general treatment options that may help alleviate these symptoms.
For skin symptoms, such as itching and rashes, over-the-counter antihistamines and topical steroids may be helpful. For hair loss, minoxidil, a topical medication that promotes hair growth, may be effective. However, it is important to note that the use of minoxidil for COVID-related hair loss has not been extensively studied. For nail abnormalities, treatment options are limited, but maintaining good nail hygiene and using protective nail products may be helpful.
In conclusion, the impact of long COVID on beauty is still being studied, but research has shown that COVID-19 can cause skin, hair, and nail symptoms that can persist for months after the acute illness has resolved.