Apr 25

I’ve Almost Developed A Compulsion To Check The Status Of My Hair And Gently Tug It While Having Telogen Effluvium

By: Ava Alderman: If you have never experienced telogen effluvium or severe hair shedding, the topics discussed in this article may seem very strange to you.  However, if you have had this type of hair loss, you may be very familiar with the idea of counting hairs, finger combing your hair to avoid any pulling, or the idea of wearing dark clothing so that your spent hairs are not as noticeable.  These habits might sound strange, but for many of us, they become our reality as our hair loss becomes severe or goes on for a long period of time.

When you have this type of hair loss, you are always trying to look forward and you are always waiting for the day that you will start to recover and not see so many hairs.  That is why many of us become preoccupied with trying to gauge our hair loss on any given day.  And although this is understandable, it can, and often does, become a problem.  Because you can become so invested in the result, you can start to gauge your hair loss almost compulsively.

For example, sometime might say: “my hair has been falling out for just a little over three months.  If you listen to all of the experts, my hair loss should have ended by now.  And yes, I count my hair fall.  I know that I am not alone in this because when you read topics about this on forums, you’ll see that people often reference ‘100 hairs per day’ or ‘200 hairs per day,’ etc.  How would people even know how many hairs there were if they weren’t counting?  So yes, I count.  But that’s not all that I do.  I also always catch myself running my hands down the shaft of my hair and gently tugging so that I am able to remove all of the loose hair.  Then I will eyeball it to see how much hair is in my hands.  I find myself doing this countless times per day.  And I’m always sad and disappointed when I come away with a bunch of hair.  The other day, a friend asked me what I was doing and I was embarrassed. But I feel like I need to take inventory to see where I’m at.  Still, I know that it isn’t speeding up my recovery or anything and I’d like to stop this or slow down.  But it’s almost become a compulsion.  How do I stop?”

I am so sorry that you are going through this.  I know what you mean. I counted my hairs for more than half a year when I had telogen effluvium.  And I used to sort of touch the end of my ponytail fishing for spent hairs.  (I wore my hair in a ponytail all of the time to keep it out of the way and to try to keep my mind off of it.)  This created a cycle where I was always very stressed out about my hair.  And the more I counted or played with my ponytail, the more stressed I got.  I actually started putting my hair in those twist clips so that there was nothing that I could put my hands on anymore.  Because I realized that by taking inventory like this, I was only creating stress and anxiety, and both of these things can cause more shedding or prolong your trigger, which are two things that you don’t need.

I also decided that since I had spent so much time counting hairs, I could honestly eyeball my hair while washing (by checking the drain) to know how much I was loosing.  I could look at a little ball of hair and know roughly how many hairs it contained without needing to count.  So I stopped that, too.  I have no idea if no longer feeding this impulse helped to stop the shedding or if that was just a happy coincidence, but I do know that it eased things for me a bit until the shedding slowed so much that I no longer needed to count anyway.

I do understand the compulsion, but I also agree that it is beneficial to stop.  It really doesn’t aid you in any way.  You’ve likely been at this long enough to know when you’re having a light shedding day or a heavy one.   Whatever it takes, keep your hands off of your hair.  Put it up and leave it alone.  Wash it and then give it a quick glance and then move on.  I know that this is easier said than done.  But I promise that it is a relief when you begin to put it into practice.

You can read more about some things that helped me cope and get through this on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Apr 14

How Can I Tell If I Have AGA Or TE?

By: Ava Alderman:  I sometimes hear from people who are really anxious to know if they have telogen effluvium (TE) or androgenic alopecia (AGA.)  One reason that this is important is that sometimes, TE resolves on its own, while AGA needs treatment in order to get a good result.  So, most people strongly hope that they have shedding that will resolve rather than hair loss which is likely permanent with out treatment.  This distinction can be difficult to make because both of these conditions have hair loss as the main symptom.  However, there are some distinctions worth noting which can lead to some questions worth asking yourself, which I will discuss below.

Do You Have A Trigger That Started The Whole Thing?:  Often, when you have TE, there will be a trigger that you can pretty easily pinpoint.  Anything that causes your body to store it’s reserves due to stress can be a trigger.  Common examples are starting or starting new medicines, severe dieting, physical illness, giving birth, or even using new styling products.  Keep in mind that the trigger should have occurred around 2 -3 months before the shedding started, so you may have to think back into the past.  But typically, if you have shedding that will resolve, you can look back examine your life style or your habits and figure out what started this whole process.

Is Your Longer Regrowth Miniaturized?:  Miniaturized hair is often noticeable when you have AGA.  You may notice that your regrowth is coming in quite thin and has a flyaway or peach fuzz texture.  Now, with this said, it can be common for all regrowth to be a little bit thin when it begins to grow.  So if your regrowth is still less than a couple of inches long, this probably isn’t the best sample to choose.  Instead, I advise examining one of your mature spent hairs (that has already shed out) and then identifying a regrowth hair that has clearly been around for a couple of months.  If you compare the texture of the two hairs, they should be somewhat similar.  But if you notice that the new hair is significantly more thin and texture, then this is something you may want to keep an eye on.  Although I have heard of cases of miniaturization with chronic cases of telogen effluvium, it is more common with AGA.

Do You See Any Indications Of Excess Androgens?:  People with AGA will often have other symptoms like an oily, itchy scalp, or even facial skin that is a bit shiny due to the excess oils.  Also, if you look at your scalp under bright lights try to take notice as to whether you see a sheen at the follicles which would be indicate or excess oils which is sometimes indicative of an androgen issue.  This isn’t to say that people with an effluvium don’t also have issues with their scalp or skin, but it is more likely with AGA.  And often, people will androgen driven loss have also dealt with excess oil on other areas of their body.

The Bottom Line:  Sometimes, it comes down to whether you want to wait to see if the loss resolves on its own or if you want to have a specialists look at it.  It can be a challenge to find someone who will take you seriously and who is willing to actually test rather than just make assumptions and to offer reassurances that are hard to take when you are still shedding.  But it is worth it to keep looking until you find some relief because I know how difficult this process is.

I know because I went through this myself.  There was a time when I was convinced that I had lasting, permanent hair loss that would never end.  But I kept going back to my triggers and knowing that I was missing something somewhere. After this, I started seeing an improvement. But, it was a long, hard, frustrating journey, especially in the beginning. If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

 

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Apr 04

Why Am I Shedding Short Hairs With Telogen Effluvium (TE)?

By: Ava Alderman?  I often hear from people who can’t help but examine the hairs that they are shedding when they believe that they have telogen effluvium (which is commonly referred to as TE.)  Not only do many people count the hairs, but many look very closely at the length and also at the ends to see if they have any bulbs or markings.  They often have questions about what they are saying. I heard from someone who said: “I’ve been noticing that lately, most of the hairs that I am shedding are very short.  Much have blunt ends.  Why could this be happening?  Does this mean the hair that I am regrowing can’t be maintained?”  I will try to answer these questions in the following article.

Shedding Short Hairs Can Mean That You’re Still Cycling Through Different Hair Cycles Of Growth And Regrowth: Many people assume that once their TE is ending or is over, they will just pick up with normal hair cycles and are able to resume their previously healthy hair schedule.  Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.  Some people go through a few cycles until their hair growth cycles resume to “normal.”  What this means is that your hair is still shedding while you are also regrowing.  Your body or scalp doesn’t distinguish between long or shot hair.  It just continues to shed. And if you’ve gone through TE, you will often have a good deal of short hair growing in.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that your regrowth will never take hold.  Sometimes, it just takes a few more cycles. Or, the trigger that started the shedding in the first place needs to be eliminated.  Ask yourself where you are in the shedding.  Has it been only a few weeks?  A few months?  Shedding short hairs is more common in chronic telogen effluvium (shedding that lasts for six months or longer) because it takes a few months before you start to see regrowth and a few more for it to obtain some length.  So by the time you see short hairs falling out, more than a few months from the beginning of this process has likely passed. If it’s been more than several months, then it might be time to see if something else is at play.

The Possibility Of Continuing Triggers Or Androgenetic Alopecia: Sometimes, the shedding just continues to go on and you’ve seen several cycles of short hairs continuing to fall out.  At that point, if you’re still confident that you’re looking at telogen effluvium, you may want to look the possibility of continuing or multiple triggers.  Sometimes, what caused the original shedding is over but something else has triggered a new one.  Or, other times there is a continuing trigger like a medical issue or a medication that doesn’t agree with you.

The last thing to consider is that you might be looking at androgen driven loss.  It is possible for the loss to start off as telogen effluvium and then turn into something else like androgentic alopecia (which is often referred to AGA.)  It’s not unheard of for androgenetic alopecia to be thought to be telogen effluvium initially.  And, shedding short hairs with AGA is common because people with this condition have a hard time supporting healthy regrowth.  It can help to look at the quality of the shed hairs.  Are they miniaturized? (This means do they look thin and whisky, like peach fuzz.)

The good news is that either of these cases can be addressed by supporting healthy regrowth, minimizing inflammation, and addressing any androgens.  But to answer the question posed, it can be normal to shed short hairs with telogen effluvium.  But if the hairs are miniaturized or if this process goes on for too long, you might want to see if there is something else at play that can be addressed.

I panicked when I saw a bunch of short hairs coming out.  I assumed that this meant that I had androgenic alopecia. Looking back now, I still believe that I had chronic telogen effluvium. I suspect this because over time, the loss of short hairs improved dramatically. Once I addressed my triggers, I started seeing normal length hair growing in again. But, it was a long, hard, frustrating journey, especially in the beginning. If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Mar 23

Does Hair Miniaturization Always Mean Androgenic Alopecia (AGA)?

By: Ava Alderman: I sometimes hear from people who can no longer deny that they are seeing miniaturized hairs when they look in the mirror or when they inspect their brush or shower grain. What I mean by this is that they are noticing that some hair on their scalp is much more thin in texture than the rest. Sometimes, miniaturized hair like this is refereed to as “peach fuzz” or “baby fine hair.”

Often, you see miniaturized hairs in high androgen areas on the scalp like on the top of your head, at the temples, and at the crown. Women in particular can get miniaturization in the bang area also. Many people panic when they see miniaturized hairs because they worry that this means that they have AGA (androgenic alopecia, which is often described as male patterned baldness.) Since androgenic alopecia is considered by many to be a long term problem rather than a short term issue (like seasonal shedding or telogen effluvium,) most people become very upset when they realize that they are seeing miniaturized hairs.

I heard from someone who asked: “does miniaturized hairs always mean that you have androgenic alopecia or AGA? When my hair loss started, my dermatologist said that telogen effluvium was the most likely diagnosis because I had gone off of my birth control pills. However, it has now been eight months of shedding with no signs of improvement and now I am seeing miniaturization. My dermatologist says this is indicative of AGA. This was not what I wanted to hear and part of me doubts this. Because I don’t have any hereditary baldness in my family.” I will try to address these concerns as best as I can in the following article.  However, I am certainly not a doctor or specialist and I highly recommend addressing any remaining questions to your health care provider.

Miniaturization Can Be Indicative Of AGA, But There Are Other Conditions That Can Cause Hair To Be Miniaturized: In the above case, there were indicators that could be indicative of androgenic alopecia or telogen effluvium. Going off of birth control pills is a common trigger for TE. However, birth control pills can also act as an anti androgen and going off of them can sometimes give rise to androgenic alopecia that was going to present itself at some point in the the future.

With that said, although AGA is the most common reason that you will see miniaturization, it is not the only reason. Many people report seeing at least some or small amounts of finer textured hairs with chronic telogen effluvium, as was the case with me. I’ve also heard of miniaturization occurring with some autoimmune hair loss.

So to answer the question posed, it’s my opinion that miniaturization does not always mean androgenic alopecia, although many will jump to this conclusion because AGA is the most common reason that you will see these baby fine hairs.

And it is important to remember that in all of the above scenarios, this condition can be reversed.  Many people assume that peach fuzz can never become normal hair again, but I disagree with this assumption.  That’s not to say it’s an easy process.  In order to grow regular diameter hairs again,  you must either remove the trigger (in the cases of CTE and autoimmune hair loss) or protect the follicle from the androgens (as with AGA.) And sometimes, you must do both.

I panicked when I saw the hair at my temples becoming miniaturized.  I was sure this meant that I had androgenic alopecia.  Looking back now, I still believe that I had chronic telogen effluvium.  I suspect this because over time, the temple area improved dramatically.   And I didn’t see any other areas that were affected.  Once I addressed my CTE,  I started seeing normal textured hair growing in again.  But, it was a long, hard, frustrating journey, especially in the beginning. If it helps, you can read the whole  story on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/.

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Mar 22

Growing Out Your Hair After Telogen Effluvium

By: Ava Alderman:  I think it’s safe to say that when you are going through severe hair shedding or telogen effluvium, you are noticing RE-growth much more than you are noticing typical growth.  In other words, you spend a lot of time looking for tiny, baby, regrowth hairs poking through your regular hair.  And if there are tons of these small hairs, you probably are focused more on them than on any particular style of the normal hair that you have left.  But once you have been regrowing hair for a while and all of these shorts hairs are now becoming noticeable (and sometimes unmanageable,) you wonder how you go about growing them all out.

Someone might say: “I’ve got all of these regrowth hairs peaking up through my regular hair.  I’m grateful for them.  And it appears that my hair loss is slowing down, but I have no idea how to tame these little hairs or how to best regrow my hair so that it doesn’t look silly.  How do people regrow their hair after telogen effluvium?”

Some people are lucky enough to only have short term or mild shedding so that no special plan is needed.  Because we are all shedding a little bit all of the time.  We all lose some hair every day.  But it is not usually noticeable because it’s a gradual and small amount.  However, when the amount is very large and not so gradual, a lot of hair comes in at all once and this can be quite noticeable.

I know that some will shorten their hair and add layers, trying to blend in the new regrowth.  This works well for some.  I was always afraid that the layering and the short hair would expose my scalp.  Plus, I always felt that a blunt bob made the most of what I had and made my hair look more full.  So in my own case, I wore a ponytail for a while.  I would use mousse or gel to tame the short hairs to lay down.   Once the hair became long enough (which took a while) I cut it to be even with my regular hair once it was chin length.

It really depends on the hair style that you start with and if you want to keep the same style or if you want to try something new in an attempt to  blend in the regrowth.  In my own case, I just put the new hair with the grain of my old hair and I tapped it down with a ponytail or a large barrette.  Once everything was dry, I could remove the ponytail and the hairs would be dry but they would be swept back, in place, and generally semi-well- behaved.

There’s no question that there might be some awkward, “bad hair” time when you’re growing out your hair, especially if you have a longer style.  Try to look at it like growing out any hair cut.  You can use barrettes or pony tails while you are waiting, or you can keep getting trims to keep things as neat as possible until everything is evened up.

If you’d like to read more about my hair loss experience and things that helped (and hurt) check out my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Mar 21

An Alternative To The No Poo Method With Telogen Effluvium – Pre Poo

By: Ava Alderman:  Many people are interested in trying the “no poo” method when they are shedding hair or suffering from a hair loss condition like telogen effluvium or androgenetic alopecia.   The reason for this is that they notice that more hair comes out when they shampoo. So they wonder if they should skip the process all together or at least limit or alter it.  The idea behind no poo is that you use a very thin, easy rinsing conditioner to wash your hair and you just use water (or baking soda and water or apple cider vinegar) to get your hair freshened up between washings.   Unfortunately, some find that this method makes their hair loss worse (because you are not regularly removing androgens / debris) and the build up of oils allows hair to become more limp and oily looking, which is the last thing that you need.

I tried no poo when I had telogen effluvium and it was a disaster.  My scalp itched.  My hair looked greasy.  And my hair loss actually increased after a few weeks so I went back to regular shampooing. This was upsetting because I really wanted it to work.  My hair is fine and wavy.  I had hoped that  no poo would help to bring out the curl.  Obviously, hair that has more curl looks more full.  I wanted this to work so badly that I tried again after my shedding stopped.  Unfortunately, I still had disappointing results. My hair still looked heavy and greasy.  And the curls were limp.  Then I read about a method called “pre poo” which is where you put conditioner on the ends of your hair BEFORE you wash it normally.  This protects the hair and it DOES bring out the body and curl.  Dry hair looks much healthier and your hair has more body and bounce – exactly what you are looking for when your hair is shedding.

Now, there’s a trick to this, especially if you are actively shedding hair.  When you’re putting the conditioner in before you shampoo, you want to be very gentle.  If you try combing conditioner through dry hair, a lot is going to come out.  I basically just put it on the ends and I tend to pat it rather than finger comb if I can help it.  Then I use less shampoo than I am used to.  I work the shampoo into my scalp with my finger tips, but I don’t manipulate the hair or get the shampoo any where near the ends.  I am just taking care of my scalp and clearing debris.  Then I rinse the shampoo, apply more conditioner (gently with the patting motion) and rinse again.  Yes, you use a lot more conditioner, but it is worth it. And while you may notice a little more hair coming out in the wash because you are adding an extra step, in my experience you notice LESS hair coming out the rest of the day.  For one thing, you manipulated your hair when you did the procedure.  And for another, your hair will be so manageable (because it’s so conditioned) that you don’t need to comb as much after shampooing.  There shouldn’t be tangles because of all of the conditioner.  In my experience, the shedding should be a little less throughout the day AND your hair looks better.  I know that everyone is different, but this method is certainly worth a try.  My hair has been stable for a long time now, but I still use this method because it makes my hair look much more healthy. There’s more about my bouts with hair loss and how I dealt with it on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Mar 15

I Have Telogen Effluvium Once Again And I’m Freaking Out

By: Ava Alderman:  I think it’s safe to say that most of us pray for the day when our telogen effluvium ends and we can anticipate putting this horror behind us and moving on with our lives.  Many of us get telogen effluvium after unavoidable changes in our health and our lives – like giving birth, becoming ill, aging, dieting, etc.  Even though most of these things are unavoidable, the good news is that once it’s over, our hair growth patterns return to normal.  And hopefully, barring any inflammation or damage, we will eventually get our hair back.

Most of us hope that this is the end of the story – until it isn’t.  There are those of us who know that telogen effluvium isn’t always just an isolated incident in one life time.  Some of us get it more than once, or multiple times.  It’s normal (and understandable) to panic each time.  Someone might say: “I almost didn’t want to get pregnant a second time because I was so afraid of getting telogen effluvium again.  The first round nearly ruined my looks.  My hair looked so pathetic and it was so traumatic watching helplessly as my hair fell out. Much to relief, I didn’t have full blown telogen effluvium with my second child.  I did have some hair loss.  But it was nothing like the first time, so it was tolerable.  So imagine my horror when I got telogen effluvium after I went into perimenopause. This is the only thing that I can figure caused it.  My gynecologist did find a slight decline in my thyroid health, but not enough for medication.  I am beside myself.  I don’t know if I can deal with this again.  As if getting older isn’t bad enough.  How do I deal with this again?”

You deal with it the way that you did the first time – one day at a time.  And you use your experience to know that, as bad as this is, it is going to one day end.  You know that because it ended before.  Many people, and I include myself in this, are hormonally vulnerable.  What I mean by that is that even small hormonal changes cause hair loss.  Honestly, I shed some every time I have a menstrual period. It’s not full blown TE – but it’s definitely a higher amount of hair coming out.  I don’t enjoy it, but I know that it’s going to end.  And I know that the hair that falls out is going to grow back.

I’m certainly not a doctor, but it may not hurt to see an endocrinologist to evaluate your thyroid.  Other than that, you can try to avoid any supplements or medications that are going to cause huge swings in hormones.  Obviously, we don’t always have control over menstruating, giving birth, or approaching menopause, but we can try to keep ourselves stable with the health of our bodies, scalps, and hair.  It’s important to keep the scalp clean, stimulated, and free of inflammation  – and you can certainly address all of these things if you haven’t.

I’m sure you already know that stress and despair makes the shedding worse.  As someone who has had more than a few bouts with TE, I concede that it isn’t fun.  But it does pass.  You do get through it.  And if you saw my hair today, I doubt you could tell that anything was wrong.  In fact, in times past when I have told close friends about my hair issues, most of them were shocked.  Which is proof that the hair is growing back as it is shedding.  Yes, the overall affect is hair that is more thin than before.  But TE by definition is temporary and it ends.  Take it one day at a time.  Be kind to yourself.  Take care of your hair.  And make the most of the hair that is still actively growing.If it helps, you can read about my own way that I’ve dealt with this on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Mar 01

Telogen Effluvium Recovery Signs

By: Ava Alderman:  It goes without saying that if you are suffering from telogen effluvium, you are likely regularly inspecting your hair and scalp for signs of things either worsening or getting better.  And after some time has gone by, even the most pessimistic of us are going to hope that we start seeing some improvements.  So we start looking for recovery signs, but we aren’t always clear on what they are.

Someone might say: “it has been about four and 3/4 months since my hair started shedding.  Because the hair fall is just so very severe and started so suddenly, everyone thinks that this is telogen effluvium.  Frankly, the past several months have been a nightmare.  My hair doesn’t look the same.  The hair fall has definitely taken its toll.  However, I’ve started to see a tiny bit of light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m noticing a little less fall for the past ten days, although it’s still an alarming amount by most people’s standards.  However, I don’t notice much else.  I want to start seeing fuller-looking hair.  What signs should I be looking for in order to know that I’m actually in recovery?

It might be slightly early to be able to see any signs that hit you over the head because they are very obvious.  But below, I will list some early signs of recovery that are often there if you look for them.

Tiny Spouts Of Regrowth:  Hair grows pretty slowly.  For most people, a whole month of growth is only a half an inch of hair. So ten days is a little early.  But if you pull your hair against the grain in very bright light, you might see little hairs popped up everywhere, which will at least offer you reassurance that regrowth has kicked in.

A Healthy Sheen To Hair That Was Looking Dull Before: Sometimes, even before your telogen effluvium starts, you might notice that your hair is dull, limp, and no longer shiny.  There is a reason for this.  When hairs are going to fall out, the follicle switches from growing to resting.  This means that the follicle is no longer getting nourishment before it actually falls – which is why you see it look dull and lifeless.  By that same token, once the telogen effluvium is over, many follicles will go from resting to actively growing and will get nourished again, which is when you might notice your hair look healthier – even if it is not yet full with volume.  (Since hair takes a while to grow and then fill in.)

Psychologically, You Know (Or At Least Sense) That Something Is Different:  This is really hard to describe, but I will try.  I’ve had really bad telogen effluvium twice.  Both times, I panicked because I would have some improvement and then I would relapse.  However, both times when it was “really over,” I sort of knew it.  I’m not sure if I realized that I knew it.  But after a while, I realized that a good deal of time had gone by and I’d not counted hairs or become obsessed with taking inventory, which was something new (because previously I had done both excessively.)  I think that I must have subconsciously realized that I just didn’t need to do this anymore.  And I’ve heard from other people who have done the same.  I think that subconsciously, we notice that we’re seeing less troublesome signs and so, we silently turn our attention elsewhere.  We may not notice at first (I didn’t.)  But one day we turn around and realize that hair is no longer the focus of our world.

I think that if you suspect that you are seeing recovery signs, you probably are.  Know that sometimes, recovery isn’t linear.  But over all, you get there.  And the trend toward total hairs lost is down. I know that we all want to wake up with our previous head of hair.  So it’s so easy to get impatient.  But it really is a marathon and not a sprint.  As the shedding gets better, your hair will eventually catch up once the growth fills in.  If it helps, you can read about my own experience with recovery at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Feb 23

The Telogen Effluvium Recovery Process: Step By Step:

By: Ava Alderman:  I sometimes hear from people who think (and very much hope) that they are starting to see some improvement in their telogen effluvium or shedding.  There typically comes a point in this process where you get very tired of seeing the hair falling out and dealing with the lack of volume, so you begin to watch your hair and scalp with an eagle eye.  You start to be on the look out for any signs that you might be in recovery.  The problem can come when you don’t know what is a sign of recovery and what is not.  This article is meant to outline the steps that you might see on your road to recovery.

Step One: The Trigger Is Removed:  This type of shedding is caused by stress to your body.  Sometimes, that is an illness.  Other times, it is a change in hormones.  Occasionally, it can be an inflammatory response or an allergic reaction.  So long as the body is no longer under stress, has recovered, or no longer has a reoccurring trigger,  the affected follicles should eventually go from the shedding phase to the growing phase and recovery begins.  Chronic telogen effluvium occurs when the trigger or stressor is ongoing or another trigger (like inflammation) pops up so that the shedding continues.

Step Two:  Regrowth Begins:  Honestly, as soon as a hair is kicked out of its follicle and sheds out, another hair is in line to take its place.  You won’t be able to see that baby hair replacement for a little while, but rest assured that the process starts long before you realize it.  Since hair only grows 1/2 inch per month and can come in lighter colored or very thin, it can take a while before you get a good look at your regrowth, but it is typically there long before you can actually see it.

Any Inflammation Or Miniaturization Present Shows Up:  Ideally, once you start actually being able to see regrowth without too much trouble (which should happen in a couple of months or so,) the shedding will have started to taper off some.  If the shedding is still going full force with no sign of letting up, it’s probably not a bad idea to examine your scalp for signs of inflammation.  Sometimes, if you have a red, pink, itchy, tingly or painful scalp, you might have inflammation exacerbating the shedding.   The inflammation can be treated, so it makes sense to be on the look out for it.

Another thing you want to look for is miniaturization.  Regrowth hair can look kind of thin and pale when it is first growing.  But once it gains a little length, it should start to look normal.  If you have obvious miniaturization, it makes sense to evaluate for androgen – driven hair loss or AGA.  Now, prolonged and chronic telogen effluvium can cause some mild inflammation (at least in my experience,) but it’s important to be conscious of this because the earlier that miniaturization and the androgens are treated, the better the results are going to be.

Not everyone has inflammation or miniaturization.  Many people do not.   But it’s smart to watch for both because the earlier they are addressed, the better the result.

The Volume Begins To Fill In As Follicles Are In The Growing Phase Again And Hair Gains Length:  As the majority of your hair is back in the growing phase for a while, the strands that are regrowing should start to gain some length.  When many strands gain this length at once, that is when you start to get a gain in volume.  It is when your hair should start looking more full.  And since most of your follicles are getting nourished again, the hair should regain it’s health and sheen. Telogen effluvium hair can look dull, fly away, and dry.  But once you are in recovery for a while, your hair should regain it’s health and look shiny and manageable again.

This process doesn’t always come as fast as we would like.  But as long as the trigger is removed and inflammation / miniaturization are kept at bay, you should eventually get your hair back.  By definition, telogen effluvium is a pause – not a permanent loss.  The hair that is lost grows back. And since the follicles should not be permanently affected, you should theoretically eventually end up with the hair you started with.

Of course, if you have too many cycles of telegen effluvium (which turns into CTE) or you struggle with your trigger, then this process can take longer and be more drastic than any of us would like.

I did have some chronic telogen effluvium.  But that was before I knew how important combating the inflammation truly was.  Once I understood this and embraced preventatives, things got much better.  There’s more about my experience on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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Feb 10

Do You Notice Regrowth Before The Shedding Stops In Telogen Effluvium?

By: Ava Alderman:  It’s normal to immediately begin thinking about your regrowth very shortly after you notice your hair shedding.  Some of us know what is happening when our hair starts shedding because we have had it happen to us before.  And, we also know that in order for our hair to begin to look better, we are going to need for it to regrow.  So, it’s normal to start looking for regrowth even when your hair is still actively falling out.

However, some people are just starting this process or are in their first bout of shedding.  And they wonder how soon they can begin to look for regrowth.  Someone might say: “my hair has been shedding since I started taking a diet supplement.  I did it to lose weight and it has worked.  But it has also brought on some weird side effects.  I’m cold all of the time.  I feel somewhat jittery.  And my hair has started to shed.  My sister has gone through this before and she says I probably have telogen effluvium.  She said the hair loss can last up to three months.  That feels like a very long time to me.  And I need to see my hair start growing back before three months. I have stopped taking the supplements.  And I know that now I just have to wait for my hair to stop falling out.  But is it possible that I will notice some regrowth before that time?”

It’s certainly possible.  But how much regrowth you actually see depends on for how long your shedding lasts.  Here is an example. Let’s say your hair loss lasts for about the average – or around three months.  Hair begins to grow back immediately after it is shed.  It basically goes from the shedding cycle to the growing cycle – without much of a pause.  However, its growth rate is relatively slow. The average person grows hair at the rate of about 1/2 inch per month.  So, the hairs that fell out first are going to grow in first.  Hair that fell out in the first month of your shedding will be about 1/2 inch in length after a month’s time.  This is very short hair and many people would not notice it.  Often, you have to look for it by parting your hair against the grain under bright light.

Now, if your shedding has gone on for 2 – 3 months, your early hairs that have shed out would have grown to about an inch long – making it easier to see.  People who have had loss for 4 – 6 months have even longer regrowth to notice.

The bottom line is that for every month of hair you shed, you should see 1/2 inch of regrowth from those shed hairs.  But the hair that fell out last week isn’t going to be noticeable growing in for about four weeks.  So, at any given time, you are going to have regrowth of various lengths.

This cycle happens in our heads all of the time.  It is normal to have a small amount of strands actively undergoing this process.  But, most of the time, only a small amount of your hair sheds out at once. However, when we have telogen effluvium, many more of our hairs are actively shedding and growing at one time.  The more that is shed out, the more of those little regrowth hairs are going to be cropping up.  But how much of it you see while you are actively shedding depends upon how long your shedding lasts.

Sometimes, it is challenging to see your regrowth.  Since my hair is dark, I would sprinkle baby powder or dry shampoo at my hair line in order to help me see my regrowth more clearly. You can read more on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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