Dr. Jennifer Ashton on how she's coping with her own COVID-19 hair loss

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic over two years ago, people have reported ongoing effects of COVID-19, including hair loss.
dr Jennifer Ashton, a board-certified OBGYN and ABC News chief correspondent, is among them and has been suffering from persistent hair loss after testing positive for COVID-19 in January.
"Now that it's been about a little over three months, I've really noticed a big change later," Ashton said. "The two things I noticed were loss of volume, really almost nothing to hold onto when I put my hair back in a ponytail, and then breakage."
Ashton, who was vaccinated and boosted when she tested positive for COVID-19, shared her hair loss journey on Instagram, where commentators thanked her for bringing awareness to the issue.
According to Ashton, it is estimated that over 20% of people with COVID-19 experience some form of hair loss.
Here are five questions answered about COVID-related hair loss, from causes to treatment.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it's not uncommon for people to experience noticeable hair loss a few months after recovering from a high fever or illness.
While researchers are still studying closely how COVID-19 can affect a person's hair, the early research shows that the virus somehow infects and affects hair follicles, according to Ashton.
Hair follicles anchor the hair to the skin and each goes through three phases: the anagen phase when the hair grows; the catagen phase, when hair growth slows and the follicle shrinks; and the telogen, or hair loss phase, when old hair falls out and new hair begins to grow.
MORE: 12 signs of hair loss to tell your dermatologist
While most hair loss or baldness occurs in the telogen phase, Ashton says COVID-19-related hair loss occurs in the anagen phase, when hair starts to grow.
"This is relevant because it affects the timeframe in which someone might notice hair loss after COVID-19," Ashton said. "Hair loss after COVID can start as early as 18 to 47 days after infection."
PHOTO: ABC News chief correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton talks about her experience with COVID-19 hair loss. (ABC News)
For the more common type of hair loss, telogen effluvium, most people start losing hair two to three months after an illness, according to the AAD.
2. Is Anyone More Vulnerable to COVID-19 Hair Loss?
The risk factors for COVID-19 hair loss are still unknown, and there is no known way to specifically prevent this type of hair loss, according to Ashton.
"We don't yet know who is more at risk," she said. "It seems that you are more likely to experience this if you have had more severe COVID-19, but you can also experience this with mild COVID-19."
3. Does COVID-19 cause permanent hair loss?
Ashton said it remains to be seen if the hair loss due to COVID-19 is permanent.
She added that it looks "promising and encouraging" that most people will see hair regrowth and correction.
"We still don't know what percentage of the breakdown her hair will regain or regrow, but the bottom line is it takes time," Ashton said, noting that people expect regrowth timeframes to be anywhere from three months to a year should.
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