By Ava Alderman: I sometimes hear from people who are extremely discouraged that they aren’t seeing much hair regrowth after shedding has affected the appearance of their hair.
Common comments are things like: “I am pretty sure that I have telogen effluvium. I gave birth about six months ago and a couple of months after that, my hair started falling out. I have been shedding for about three months. My hair has gotten very thin as a result. I keep looking for regrowth but I am not seeing any. Does this mean that I don’t have telogen effluvium? Or that my hair isn’t going to grow back normally? When will I start seeing my hair growing back?”
Before I answer, I have to tell you that I am not a specialist or medical professional. The opinions that I’m going to share are based on my own experience with this type of hair loss. I have to say that what this woman was describing did sound like telogen effluvium, mostly because childbirth is a very common trigger. Also, when you are pregnant, the increased hormones give you a wonderful, thick head of hair where sometimes you end up with more hair than started with. As a result, post pregnancy telogen effluvium can be particularly bad with an awful lot of hair loss.
When a certain percentage of your hair goes into the shedding phase and you have started with more hair than usual, then your shedding can be a bit worse than what would typically be expected. But, with this type of hair loss, the follicles aren’t being affected by androgens so you should be able to regrow normal hair. And, once a strand of hair is shed out, it begins to grow back immediately. Many people assume that the regrowth is going to come all at once. Generally speaking, it doesn’t. It comes back at the rate that it fell out. So the hairs that shed out early on in the process are going to grow back first.
You should have stands of hair constantly coming in as they were constantly falling out. Now, the reason that you may not be seeing regrowth is that those hairs are thin and tiny. It takes the hair an entire month to grow a half inch. And hair that short in length and fine in diameter can be very hard to see coming in. You can help this process by doing a couple of things. Try pulling your regular strands straight back. Then see if there are any tiny, baby hairs sticking straight up. If your hair is dark colored, try spraying some dry shampoo or pouring some white powder in at your part line. This will allow you to see those white small hairs coming through.
Also, you can lift up your bangs, pull them straight back, and then see if there is regrowth pushing forward. So what happens if you try all of those things and you are still coming up short? I would say to give it a bit of time. Perhaps your hair grows a little more slowly. If this doesn’t work, then you might want to consider that your follicles are being affected by inflammation or androgens. Or, perhaps you have another type of hair loss. But this scenario did sound like telogen effluvium and she wasn’t seeing any patterned or patchy loss, which was a good sign.
I will admit that I used a lot of dry shampoo to see my regrowth. I began kind of obsessed about it for a while. Try not to worry too much. If you have light colored hair, it can be challenging to see the regrowth, especially at first. If it helps, you can read about my gradual recovery on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/.