Drake shared the health update in the comments section of a fan account Instagram post that poked fun at recent changes in his hairline. The post featured a photo of Drake with a small heart design in his hairline, followed by an apparently more recent photo of the rapper where the bottom of the design has faded. The caption joked that the heart looks “stressed.”
“I had COVID,” the Champagne Papi himself responded in a comment. “That shit grew in weird. I had to start again, it’s coming back,” he explained. “Don’t diss.” It’s not clear from the post how long ago Drake had COVID-19.
Hair loss or thinning appears to be a somewhat common minor issue for people to experience after having COVID-19, as SELF has reported. While there’s not a ton of research here, some evidence suggests that post-COVID-19 hair loss is not rare, and reports of patients having the issue are so common that the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has a page devoted to the connection.
Doctors think a likely explanation here for what may look like hair loss is actually a relatively common phenomenon called telogen effluvium (TE), the Cleveland Clinic says. TE is a form of temporary excessive hair shedding due to changes in the usual hair growth cycles. More hairs than usual go into the shedding phase, making it look like clumps of hair are falling out. As SELF has explained, TE can be triggered by hormonal changes like pregnancy (the condition is common in newly postpartum parents) and other bodily changes or stressors—yep, like a viral illness.
According to the AAD, fevers and illnesses like COVID-19 can act as a stressor that triggers TE in people two or three months after being sick. One small study published in the journal Dermatologic Therapy in 2021 found that out of 552 COVID-19 patients evaluated by a dermatologist, 10 had TE attributed to a COVID-19 infection. The hair shedding started, on average, 50 days after the first COVID-19 symptom appeared.
Even people who haven’t had COVID-19 might experience TE due to the emotional stress of the pandemic, the AAD points out. Regardless of the cause, shedding caused by TE can continue for up to six to nine months, and hair growth typically returns to normal on its own within a year the AAD says. As Drake said, “it’s coming back.”