I sometimes hear from people who notice that they seem to shed more hair when they use a blow dryer while suffering from telogen effluvium. Therefore, they can start to think that perhaps the blowdryer is a variable that is making things worse. They might ask: “Is a blow dryer off limits when you have telogen effluvium? I have been shedding for about 10 weeks. I try to be very gentle when I wash and style my hair. But if I blow dry my hair upside down, it makes my hair look more full. It makes me look like I have more hair than I actually do. At the same time, I also notice TONS of fallen hairs on the floor and around my feet after using the blow dryer. So I feel like I am sacrificing hairs by using it. Should I stop using the blow dryer when I’m shedding like this?”
If you had a normal hair cycle right now and were not shedding hair, I’d bet you probably wouldn’t even notice much from the blow dryer use (except for hair that might have been noticeably dryer.) However, when you are shedding hair, any additional manipulation can cause the hair that was already poised to fall out to go ahead and fall. It can feel as if you are losing more hair. But, hairs that were in the resting phase due to telogen effluvium would have fallen out eventually. Another issue with blow dryers is that if used on high temperatures or excessively, they can cause some inflammation. This can be important because inflammation and telogen effluvium are not a good combination, as the inflammation can be an additional trigger and cause more or prolonged shedding.
It was a personal decision, but I decided to ditch my blow dryer as much as possible when I was shedding hair. I found that I had similar results when I would either allow my hair to dry in a very loose ponytail at the top of my head, or, if I was in a hurry, I would put it up in a towel. This would give me the volume that I wanted without the additional inflammation and the drying effect of the blow dryer. Telogen effluvium hair can already be pretty dry, so the additional drying and inflammation of the blow dryer was just not something that I needed. Of course, there are times when you are in a hurry and you need dry hair in a short amount of time. In that case, you might have to use the blow dryer, but I used it sparingly. Although it might only nudge out the hairs that would have fallen out eventually anyway, I just didn’t want the additional inflammation with the potential for a new trigger and the psychological pain of seeing more hair come out than was necessary. You can read more about what helped my psyche and my hair on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/