Can COVID-19 cause hair loss? Drake is living proof that it can.
Earlier this week, the “Hotline Bling” rapper revealed the surprising symptom in a fan’s Instagram comments. The fan shared a before and after photo of Drake’s heart-shaped cut-out on his hairline, and in one photo, half the heart was missing. The fan captioned the post, “That heart is stressed.”
Drake replied, “I had Covid that shit grew in weird I had to start again,” alongside a laughing-crying emoji. He added, “It’s coming back, don't diss.”
It’s unclear when Drake had COVID-19. However, he shared in March 2020 that he tested negative for the virus after he was exposed while hanging out with NBA player Kevin Durant, who was positive.
Drake isn’t the only star to discuss hair loss as a symptom of COVID-19. In August of 2020, Alyssa Milano posted a video to Twitter of her hair coming out in chunks as she brushed it. She captioned the post, “Thought I’d show you what #Covid19 does to your hair. Please take this seriously. #WearADamnMask #LongHauler.”
Temporary hair loss, also called “telogen effluvium,” may not be a widely discussed symptom of COVID-19, but according to experts, it is a reality for many people. According to a survey conducted by Dr. Natalie Lambert, a professor at Indiana University School of Medicine and Survivor Corps, a grassroots movement of COVID-19 survivors, hair loss is actually a more common COVID-19 symptom than nausea or a runny nose.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) August 9, 2020
Dr. Pedram Yazdan, an assistant professor of dermatology at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, previously confirmed to Yahoo Life that it’s quite common for people to report hair loss as a symptom.
“I see patients in the clinic for hair disorder issues and recently we had a couple of patients who during — and even after — infection with COVID, started to have pretty noticeable shedding of their hair,” Yazdan explained. “And basically there was no real attributable reason other than the infection that could have caused them to shed their hair.”
Yazdan added that while COVID-19 is the underlying cause, there are many reasons why people could lose their hair as they battle the virus. That includes emotional stress, as well as changes in nutrition due to symptoms of the virus, such as loss of taste or smell, which can impact what foods one chooses to eat.
Fortunately, Yazdan stressed that telogen effluvium is a “temporary” condition, and that most people will have their hair grow back after they recover.
“I spend a lot of time reassuring patients that this is a temporary condition...so all the hairs that were shed from telogen effluvium should theoretically, over time, come back slowly,” he said. “I tell them, just be patient.”
Whether Drake's hairline heart will return, however, remains to be seen.