Tag Archive for: COVID

Post-COVID Hair Loss

Post-COVID Hair Loss

Post-COVID hair loss? It’s very much real.

Post-COVID Hair Loss

Did you have an uninvited holiday guest named COVID this year? If so, you’re not alone. Given the extraordinarily high levels of the Coronavirus in the Washington, DC area, nearly everyone had COVID or knew someone who did. As our vaccination and booster rate is very high, most people emerged with minimal or moderate symptoms.

Post-COVID Condition: Hair Loss

Even with only a mild COVID infection, however, it’s common to experience post-COVID conditions, such as hair loss. The phenomenon called telogen effluvium is not limited to COVID infections but can occur 2-3 months after any severe illness, high fever, surgery, or child birth, to name a few.

Why Does Post-COVID Hair Loss Occur?

It’s not completely understood, but the physical or psychological stress can induce hair follicles to prematurely move into the telogen or resting phase.

Normally 90% of scalp hair is in the growth or anagen phase, which lasts 2-6 years. The hair then regresses and stops growing. Approximately 1% of hair is in this regressing or catagen phase. In acute telogen effluvium, a larger than normal percentage of hairs move to the resting phase and are lost “at the root” with a club visible on the end. More than 100-150 hairs may be lost each day. Up to 50% of the scalp hairs may be affected but complete hair loss does not occur. The hair does grow back, but it may take 6-12 months.

If there is itching, scaling skin or pustules, it is likely that the hair loss is attributable to another cause and it’s important to be evaluated. Telogen effluvium can also sometimes unmask other conditions such as androgenetic or hereditary hair loss and can co-exist with other types of alopecia.

Treatments for Post-COVID Hair Loss

Telogen effluvium doesn’t usually require treatment, although there are some topical and oral regimens that may accelerate regrowth. Don’t be alarmed if you have some shedding 2- 3 months after an episode of COVID, but if the shedding is associated with other changes in your scalp or does not seem to be resolving, schedule a consultation with a dermatologist.

Contact us to schedule and appointment.

COVID Vaccination Information for Dermatologic Patients

The Covid vaccines are here! As a part of the medical community, our staff has received their first dose. We report varying degrees of arm soreness and are otherwise extremely grateful to have started on the road to immunity.  Through vigilance, we have made it this far without anyone on the team becoming ill. Our infection control protocols remain firmly in place despite our vaccination status. So, if you come in for an appointment you will continue to see us practicing strict protection measures, just as we have since March.

The vaccine roll-out seems slower than promised, but at least it’s moving forward. Maryland moved into Phase 1B on Monday, January 18, which widened eligibility to residents 75 and older. The next phase, 1C, includes those over 65 and starts January 25.

You have probably noticed the plans for our area vary widely, by jurisdiction. To find out when and where to get vaccinated, these websites may be helpful to you:

Maryland: https://covidlink.maryland.gov/content/vaccine/

DC: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/vaccinatedc or call 856-363-0333

Virginia: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/

MedStar Health: Current patients who meet the criteria, may be vaccinated by appointment at the four DC Medstar facilities. https://www.medstarhealth.org/mhs/about-medstar/covid-19-vaccine-information/

Important information, if you:

Are Immunocompromised or on immunosuppressive medications:  the CDC advises taking the Covid vaccination if there are no contraindications. (see below)

Are on Biologic treatment: Evidence to date suggests that most individuals on biologic treatment can be successfully immunized with no increased incidence of adverse effects.

Have had:

  • Severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) after a previous dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or any of its components*;
  • Immediate allergic reaction of any severity to a previous dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or any of its components (including polyethylene glycol [PEG])*;
  • Immediate allergic reaction of any severity to polysorbate (due to potential cross-reactive hypersensitivity with the vaccine ingredient PEG)*;

If you have had any of the above, the CDC considers such history to be a contraindication to vaccination with both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

*These persons should not receive mRNA COVID-19 vaccination at this time unless they have been evaluated by an allergist-immunologist and it is determined that the person can safely receive the vaccine (e.g., under observation, in a setting with advanced medical care available).

To read more, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/clinical-considerations.html#Patient-counseling

Cosmetic injectable fillers and the vaccine

There have been a few cases of facial swelling reported in Moderna vaccine trial. The localized swelling resolved itself after treatment with antihistamines or steroids in all three cases. In its report on the Moderna vaccine hearing, the FDA notes that “it is possible the localized swelling in these cases is due to an inflammatory reaction from interaction between the immune response after vaccination and the dermal filler.”

Patients already treated with dermal fillers should not be discouraged or precluded from receiving vaccines of any kind. Similarly, patients who have had vaccines should not be precluded from receiving dermal fillers in the future.  Our current recommendation is that you delay filler treatment if you are scheduled for the vaccine within 2 weeks.

Once Vaccinated

Once you do receive the vaccine, you may experience some malaise, soreness at the injection site, and even a mild fever, but these symptoms are transient and typically resolve in 24-48 hours. The symptoms are indicative of your body building immune defenses against the virus. Applying ice in the form of a bag of frozen peas as well as taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as ibuprofen (Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help relieve discomfort.

If you have a reaction, I recommend registering in the CDC’s vaccine symptom tracker at: https://vsafe.cdc.gov/

And last, Inauguration Day Office Hours

Because of anticipated road and bridge closures and disruption in public transportation, we are not seeing patients on Inauguration Day, January 20. However, we will be answering phone calls from 10AM – 3PM.

face mask skin care tips

Wearing a Mask and Caring for Your Face

While taking walks in Chevy Chase and Georgetown these days, I see most people wearing a face covering.  It is reassuring, as wearing a mask is critical to keeping your family, friends, co-workers and yourself safe from coronavirus. With long-term wear, however, masks can sometimes cause or exacerbate painful and troubling skin conditions. In the past few months, we have seen a significant increase in:

  1. “Mask-ne,” or an acne breakout in the area under and around the mask,
  2. Dry, itchy skin in the same areas on the face,
  3. Redness and pain behind the ears, from the mask straps.

Since there is no question wearing a mask is the right thing to do, here are some tips on how you can manage these conditions while continuing to keep yourself covered.

START CLEAN – washing your face

Masks retain dirt and oil on the skin, so cleaning your face (and your mask) properly before you put one on is even more important.

  • If you suffer from acne, use a non-comedogenic cleanser (one formulated so as not to cause blocked pores) twice a day. Also, use a gel moisturizer and oil-free make-up.
  • Stop using make-up entirely until your skin heals, if you can.
  • For irritated or dry skin use a gentle cleanser.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT SKIN PRODUCTS – moisturize and mitigate irritation
  • Choose products that are fragrance-free.
  • Look for moisturizers containing ceramides, hyaluronic acid or dimethicone.
  • For acne, use a gel, non-comedogenic moisturizer.
  • If you must wear make-up and you have acne, use oil-free, mineral-based products.
  • If your skin is dry or irritated, stop using retinoids, glycolic acids, salicylic masks, peels and scrubs.
  • If your ears are telling you they need a break, try moisturizing behind them to ease redness and discomfort from the mask straps.
MASK TYPES AND ROUTINE – Not all masks are alike

What a mask is made of and how you wear it has an impact on your skin.

  • Wear a mask made of natural breathable cotton fabric. Avoid synthetic nylon, polyester or rayon that can irritate and cause breakouts.
  • Make sure your mask is snug at the edges, but not too tight on your face. A mask that moves around a lot can abrade your skin surface and exacerbate inflammation. Plus, it is more likely you’ll touch your face to adjust it.
  • Rotate wearing different strap types and ear loops in order to cause less irritation behind the ears.
  • Purchase masks with long straps, or strap extenders, that wrap about the back of your head so that the strap does not rest on sensitive skin behind the ears.
  • Take a mask break for 15 minutes every 4 hours when you are in a safe environment such as alone in your car or outdoors six feet away from people.
CARE FOR YOUR MASK, TOO

It is important to regularly clean your mask, so that it is as inoffensive to your skin as it can be.

  • Wash a cloth mask daily in hot, soapy water, and rinse well, unless otherwise specified.
  • When washing cloth masks, use fragrance-free, hypoallergenic soap or mild laundry detergent and skip the fabric softener.
  • If you do not hang your mask to dry, avoid scented dryer sheets as these frequently cause itchy, inflamed skin.
  • If you are using a disposable surgical-type mask, how often you should start a new one depends on how much you use it, if you wear makeup and your specific skin condition. If it is visibly dirty, it is time for a new one.

For DIY help, our online store contains products that will allow you to care for your face during this unique time (mohs-md.square.site).  If your mask-related skin problem does not resolve after a few weeks, prescription medication may help. Call our office to make an appointment.