Can Shingles Cause Hair Loss? The Viral Infection's Impact on Hair Health

WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

Shingles, a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, is a condition that can have a significant impact on various aspects of one's health, including the potential for hair loss. As individuals grapple with the challenges of shingles, concerns about its impact on hair growth and overall hair health often arise. In this comprehensive article, we'll explore the connection between shingles and hair loss, providing insights and guidance to help you better understand this complex relationship.

Can Shingles Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, shingles can potentially lead to hair loss, a condition known as "post-herpetic alopecia." While the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, the inflammation and nerve damage associated with shingles can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle, resulting in temporary or, in some cases, more persistent hair loss.

Understanding Shingles and Its Impact on Hair

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection that affects the nerves and can cause a painful rash with blisters. The virus that causes shingles, the varicella-zoster virus, is the same virus responsible for chickenpox. After a person has had chickenpox, the virus can remain dormant in the body's nerve cells and later reactivate, leading to the development of shingles.

The Shingles Rash and Hair Follicles

The shingles rash typically appears on one side of the body, often along the path of a specific nerve. This rash can directly impact the hair follicles in the affected area, leading to temporary hair loss or thinning.

Inflammation and Nerve Damage

The inflammation and nerve damage associated with shingles can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle, causing hair follicles to prematurely enter the resting (telogen) phase, leading to increased shedding and hair loss.

Types of Hair Loss Associated with Shingles

There are two primary types of hair loss that can occur as a result of shingles:

Localized Hair Loss

Localized hair loss, also known as "zoster-associated focal alopecia," is the most common type of hair loss associated with shingles. This form of hair loss is typically limited to the area affected by the shingles rash and can range from mild thinning to complete baldness in the affected region.

Diffuse Hair Loss

In some cases, shingles can lead to a more widespread, diffuse hair loss, affecting areas beyond the initial rash site. This type of hair loss, known as "post-herpetic alopecia," may be attributed to the systemic effects of the viral infection and the body's immune response.

Factors Influencing Hair Loss from Shingles

Several factors can influence the extent and duration of hair loss associated with shingles:

Severity of the Shingles Outbreak

The severity and location of the shingles rash can play a significant role in the degree of hair loss experienced. Individuals with more severe or extensive rashes are generally more likely to experience more pronounced hair loss.

Timing of Hair Loss

Hair loss associated with shingles typically occurs within a few weeks to several months after the initial shingles outbreak. In some cases, the hair loss may be delayed, appearing several months after the initial shingles symptoms have subsided.

Individual Factors

Individual differences in immune response, overall health, and hair growth cycles can also influence the likelihood and extent of hair loss experienced by those with shingles.

Managing Hair Loss from Shingles

If you are experiencing hair loss due to shingles, there are several steps you can take to manage the condition and support hair regrowth:

Seek Medical Attention

Consult with your healthcare provider, who can assess the extent of the hair loss, identify any underlying factors, and provide appropriate treatment options, such as topical or oral medications.

Promote Scalp Healing

Gently cleanse the affected areas of the scalp, avoiding any irritation or trauma. Your healthcare provider may recommend the use of soothing, anti-inflammatory topical treatments to facilitate healing and minimize further hair loss.

Support Hair Regrowth

Once the shingles outbreak has subsided and the scalp has healed, focus on promoting healthy hair regrowth. This may involve the use of hair growth-stimulating products, gentle scalp massage, and ensuring adequate nutrition and overall well-being.

Be Patient and Persistent

Hair regrowth after shingles-related hair loss can be a gradual process, often taking several months. Remain patient, consistent with your hair care regimen, and work closely with your healthcare provider to monitor progress and adjust treatment as needed.

Preventing Hair Loss from Shingles

While the risk of hair loss from shingles cannot be entirely eliminated, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood and severity of this condition:


Receiving the shingles vaccine can significantly reduce the risk of developing shingles and the associated complications, including hair loss.

Prompt Treatment

Seeking medical attention and initiating antiviral treatment as soon as possible after the onset of shingles symptoms can help minimize the severity of the outbreak and potentially reduce the risk of hair loss.

Stress Management

Chronic stress can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of shingles reactivation. Engaging in stress-reducing activities, such as meditation, yoga, or counseling, may help lower the chances of developing shingles and its associated hair loss.

Why you can trust Scandinavian Biolabs?
TrichoAI Hair Loss Analysis
Our free, anonymous and dermatologist-developed AI analyzes your hair loss in 30 seconds, suggesting personalized solutions to combat thinning. Understanding your hair condition has never been easier.
Yes, I want to fix hair loss


Shingles, a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, can indeed lead to hair loss, a condition known as "post-herpetic alopecia." The inflammation and nerve damage associated with shingles can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle, resulting in either localized or more widespread hair loss.

While the risk of hair loss from shingles cannot be completely eliminated, understanding the connection and taking proactive steps can help mitigate the impact. Seeking prompt medical attention, promoting scalp healing, and supporting hair regrowth are crucial in managing hair loss associated with shingles.

By staying informed, working closely with your healthcare provider, and implementing a comprehensive hair care regimen, you can navigate the challenges of shingles-related hair loss and work towards restoring the health and vitality of your hair. Embracing a holistic approach to your well-being can help you overcome this potential side effect and reclaim your confidence in your personal appearance.

Unlock the Power of Scandinavian Biolabs for a Healthier, Fuller Head of Hair

At Scandinavian Biolabs, we believe that everyone deserves to feel confident and beautiful in their own hair. That's why we've dedicated ourselves to developing cutting-edge formulations against hair thinning that are safe, effective, and backed by science.

Our revolutionary products are designed to combat your hair loss concerns. With Scandinavian Biolabs, you can finally say goodbye to hair loss and embrace a healthier, fuller head of hair.

Don't let hair loss hold you back any longer. Experience the Scandinavian Biolabs difference and unlock the potential of your hair's natural beauty.

Hair Growth Routine | For Men
Hair Growth Routine | For Men
Formulated to combat shedding & signs of balding
Hair Growth Routine | For Women
Hair Growth Routine | For Women
Formulated to combat thinning hair & visible scalp

Read more:

Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.