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

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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

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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

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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

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Jan 24

Chronic Telogen Effluvium Or CTE: If My Hair Is Falling Out Less And Less, Does it Mean It’s Over?

By: Ava Alderman:  If you have CTE or chronic telogen effluvium, I know first hand that you are very often looking for a sign – any sign – that your hair loss might be coming to an end.  The thing is though, that if you have this chronic type of hair loss, you have probably been looking for those signs for quite some time.  In fact, in order to have CTE, you have to have been waiting for the loss to stop over three months, or you would have had telogen effluvium.

I’ve experienced an excruciating bout with CTE and people often want to know how it ends.  Many hope that it will end suddenly, but when they start seeing a gradual improvement, they doubt that a gradual resolution is a REAL or lasting resolution.

For example, someone might say: “I’ve had hair loss for seven months. My understanding is that this is chronic telogen effluvium.  But for about six and a half of those months, I have had non-stop very dramatic loss every day.  I mean, it never, ever lets up.  I sometimes read comments from people on forums who say that they’ve had periods of improvement and then it will start up again.  I can hardly identify with that.  For me, it is bad every single day for the most part.  Well, for the last few weeks, it has gotten somewhat better.  It’s certainly not like it was before hair loss, but it’s not as severe as it’s been.  I want to be relieved, but I always thought that it would just stop one day and be normal like it was before.  And reading about the people who get improvement but then start shedding again only reinforces my belief that I’m not gradual.  So how does it end?”

It can be different depending on the person.  I know someone who had CTE for nearly eight years.  During that time, she would have periods of slight improvement and would regress again.  However, one day she just woke up and simply stopped shedding.  And it never started back up. I used to read this story over and over when I had CTE.  But for me, the change was definitely gradual.  My hair did not just return back to normal one day.  It would get a little better and then it would regress a bit.  And then the improvement would come back.

What ultimately happened is that eventually there was enough improvement for enough days in a row that I felt comfortable enough to stop eyeballing (or in severe cases, counting) my hair.  I turned my attention to other places for the first time in quite a long time.  I probably wouldn’t have done that when I was shedding badly.  And while my attention was focused elsewhere, one day I noticed that there was very little hair in the drain and I wondered when that happened.  Now, I had been experimenting with different regimens all along and perhaps everything finally gelled.  But for me, it was gradual enough that I didn’t specifically notice one particular day which I could point to when it ended for good.

That said, I’ve had more than one bout of hair loss, unfortunately.  With the TE that I had after the birth of a child, that instance resolved more instantly – meaning that it was less gradual.  I’ve also had miniaturization as a result of these hormonal changes and shedding.  This improvement was gradual also – as I found some things that helped and was able to place my focus on what I knew was helping. You can read more on my blog at

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Jan 18

Telegen Effluvium Vs (Versus) Androgenetic Alopecia: Which Is Worse To Have?

By: Ava Alderman:  I hear from a lot of folks who are trying to determine what type of hair loss they have.  Understandably, figuring this out is of great concern to them because there are different treatments and outcomes for specific types of hair loss.

The most two common types that are of concern are telogen effluvium (TE) and androgenetic alopecia (AGA.)  These can present somewhat similarly.  With both, you notice more hair shedding out. And over time, you can notice thinning with each.  People often ask me which type is worse.

Someone might say: “I always thought that I would prefer to have telogen effluvium over androgenetic alopecia.  My brother has AGA and I’ve watched my sister go through TE after she had a baby.  Well, now I’ve started having severe shedding after I started a new medication.  I believe that this is probably telogen effluvium.  It’s so bad that I sometimes feel like I am going bald.  There is literally hair every where.  And every day, I start over and I go through the very same thing. I know that technically, TE should eventually end.  And I guess there is some comfort in that, but it is hard to remember it when my hair seems to be coming out in handfuls.  Maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but that’s how it feels sometimes.  In contrast, my brother who has AGA has only moderate shedding.  It really doesn’t seem to bother him too much.  I saw him combing his hair, and it wasn’t like my situation where it just rains hair from the brush.  I told my brother this and he had that although he could see my point, at least with TE, it should one day end.  I see what he’s saying, but this constant raining hair is awful.  So which is worse?”

It Can Be A Matter Of Perspective: Well, certainly the one that you have at the time can seem to be the worst. I’ve had two bouts of TE (one was a very lengthy case of CTE) and I’ve also had some lingering miniaturization as a result (which has resolved.)  At the time though, it did feel like the beginning of AGA.  All of these instances were very upsetting.  As I was going through them, they ALL felt like the worst.  When you’re right in the middle of TE, it does feel like it’s never going to end. And there are times when you can’t bear to take it another day and you fear that you’ll go bald.  You tell yourself that at least with AGA, it would be gradual and just a little bit at a time.

However, people would argue that at least with TE, there is hope.  Theoretically, barring any additional complications, it will one day end and you will have regular hair again.  With AGA, this is a hereditary condition that can be ongoing and can get worse with time.  However, AGA can be treated, and the outcome can be good – especially if you treat it early.  I know people who have AGA and I only know it because they have told me, but I would not have known it to look at them.  So having AGA does not mean that you will bald – or even have hair that looks thin – assuming that you have an effective treatment plan.

And even CTE DOES end one day, although sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. So with each condition, it isn’t all good or all bad.  Most people would prefer to have TE because as dreadful as it is, if you can get through that period of time, there is a light at the end of the tunnel (although some people do suffer through multiple bouts of TE through their lives.) However, people with AGA can find light at the end of the tunnel also with proper treatment.  And there are things that you can do to support yourself and make your hair look presentable with either condition.  The bottom line is that whichever condition you have, you can often make it better and you can usually make it tolerable.

I know that this is no fun either way. As I said, I’ve had aspects of both type of hair loss.  Along the way, I learned some tricks and tips that helped.  You can read more on my blog at

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Jan 16

Should I Cut My Hair Because I My Hair Is Falling Out With Severe Shedding And Telogen Effluvium TE?

By: Ava Alderman: I sometimes hear from people who are suffering from severe and rapid hair shedding. If you’ve never experienced this, you might not know just how problematic it can be. It’s as if the hair is raining down on you constantly and it seems as if you are constantly having to vacuum, clean up after the shedding, or go over things with a lint roller just to control the onslaught of hair. That’s why it’s common for people who are suffering from this to consider cutting their hair.

I heard from someone who said: “I have long hair but I believe that I’m going through a bout of telogen effluvium. The long hairs clog up my shower drain and get all wrapped up in the bar on my vacuum cleaner. Would it help things to cut my hair? Or would I end up regretting it?”

While I certainly can not see into the future, I myself have been in this situation a couple of times. In one instance, I cut my hair. And in the other, I kept it long and only trimmed it. So I believe that I have the perspective to share some questions that you might want to ask yourself, which I will do in the following article.

How Would Your Face Look With Short Hair?: This is a vital question that so many people do not ask. The truth is, I hear from many people who tell me that their hair ended up looking hideous while short and they were more unhappy with their short hair than they would have been with their long shedding hair. Some people have a face that looks very cute with short hair. I am not one of those people. To see how you might like with short hair, pull your hair back and take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror.

Know That If You Cut Your Hair, You Won’t Be Able To Put It Up To Get Some Relief: I have to admit that when my hair shedding was at it’s worst, I would often just put it up (very loosely as to not pull more out,) so that it wouldn’t fall all over me and get every where. This was usually a huge relief. Know that when you have shorter hair, this isn’t always possible, (although the shorter hairs falling are not as problematic.)

Shorter Hair Makes It More Difficult To Camouflage Any Very Thin Areas: Here’s another thing to consider. You can usually comb over your long hair to cover or camouflage any very short or even balding areas. But if you cut your hair very short, you no longer have this luxury.

Some Advantages To Cutting Your Hair When It Is Shedding Badly: Despite what I’ve written above, there are some advantages to cutting your hair, which I will list now:

Shorter Hair Isn’t As Problematic When It’s Shedding: You’re not as likely to clog the drain or have problems with the vacuum when you are shedding shorter hairs. If I were to hold 100 short hairs and 100 long hairs in both of my hands and asked you which hand held more hair, you’d most likely assume that the hand with the longer hair had more hairs even if this wasn’t the case. It’s easier to sweep up and dispose of the shorter hair and they don’t look as bad on your clothes after they have fallen as longer hairs.

Shorter Hair Can Look Thicker And Less Stringy: If you find the right blunt cut, a shorter cut can make it look as if you have more hair than you really do. And, longer hair that is thinning can look unhealthy and stringy.

Sometimes, You Have A Reprieve From Shedding Immediately Following A Hair Cut: When my hair was shedding, I would always notice a reprieve after I got a hair color or cut. This would only last for a couple of days, but I would always look forward to it. I think that the reason for this was that the stylist would pull and manipulate my hair in a way that I didn’t. In other words, when I washed or styled my hair, I was extremely gentle. But the stylist was not. So hairs that were ready to come out (and likely would shed out very soon) were likely pulled out when I was sitting in the stylist’s chair. So the hairs that were set to fall out within the next several days already had.

It’s Easier To Blend In The Regrowth With Shorter Hair: When my hair was long, you could definitely see a bunch of baby hair coming in.  When your hair is short, this isn’t as noticeable.

The Bottom Line: At the end of the day, this is a decision that only you can make. I regretted cutting my hair because I had worked for years to grow it. Yes, I did get some relief from all those long shed hairs when my hair was shorter, but I had to give up a ponytail and frankly, I just much prefer the way that I look with longer hair. However, this is an individual decision. I don’t feel that there’s really a right or wrong answer.  The question really is what is right for you.

As I said, my relief from short hair was short lived.  I got more relief when I was able to actually address the cause of my hair loss rather than trying to manage the volume of spent hairs. I know that this might be a difficult time for you, but it will often get better in time and there is plenty that you can do to cope and make your hair look as nice as possible while you are going through this. If it helps, you can read my story on my blog at

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Jan 03

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Hair Loss Due To Smoking?

By: Ava Alderman:  Experts have long cautioned us that smoking is extremely bad for our health.  It leads to all sorts of health issues – with cancer being the most serious.  Lately though, experts have begun to appeal to a smoker’s sense of vanity.  To that end, they have released various studies and promotions meant to educate the public about how smoking can affect the smoker’s appearance.  One way that smoking does that is that it prematurely ages a person.  This includes wrinkled, sagging, and thinning skin.  It also includes hair loss.  Frankly, hair loss can be as big a concern for a smoker as health-related diseases.  I’ve known more than one smoker who has cited hair loss as the stimulus that finally got them to quit smoking.  One big concern that they have is how long until they are going to see improvement in the appearance of their hair.

They might ask something like: “I look back and I still can’t believe that I started smoking.   This is one of my all-time greatest disappointments in myself.  I considered giving it up many times.  I even tried to give it, but it was incredibly hard.  And honestly, I used smoking as a stress reliever, so I am not sure that I really wanted to completely quit.  And then one day I looked in the mirror and things started to change.  I noticed that my hair was thinning.  I do not have genetic hair loss in my family, but honestly that is what my hair looked like – someone with hereditary hair loss.  Although I did notice more hair in the drain, I think that even the hair that was managing to stay on my head was just thinning and overall sickly looking. So I tried to take the easier route.  I cut back on my smoking, but I did not quit – not yet anyway.  And I started to take a lot of vitamins to make sure that I was nourishing my hair.  I saw no improvement even though I monitored my hair regularly.  It just got worse and worse and I started to feel pretty badly about myself.   So one day, I decided to quit.  And I am very proud to say that I have stuck with it this time.  But I’m wondering when I’m going to start to recover in terms of my hair?  Because every day, it just looks worse and worse.  I don’t regret quitting and I won’t smoke again no matter what.  But I would sure like to see my hair look semi-normal again.  How long am I looking at?”

That’s tough to predict, but you may at least have a better idea of a time line once you understand how smoking contributes to hair loss and also what it takes to get a healthy scalp in order to encourage healthy regrowth again.

Some Theories As To Why Smoking Causes Hair Loss:  Scientists aren’t completely sure as to why smoking contributes to hair loss, but there is no question that it does.  A 2007 study of Taiwanese smokers showed a direct correlation between smoking and hair loss / thinning.    Many believe that smoking contributes to a loss of blood flow and nourishment to the scalp.  Others believe that smoking negatively affects the follicles themselves.  Still others believe that smoking causes stress to the body and therefore causes an inflammatory response.  One more theory is that since smoking ages your body, then you’re basically getting the hair of your older self.

Whatever theory you subscribe to, there no question that stopping smoking will immediately remove that trigger, which is a good thing all the way around.  What isn’t as clear is when recovery is going to take place.  If the hair loss was caused by stress to the body or an inflammatory response, then I would think that this recovery would not take too long because both of these things are reversible once you are smoke-free.

However, if your follicles were negatively affected and were miniaturized or you are suffering from a lack of blood flow, those things can take a longer period of time to correct.  Follicles that have been negatively affected have usually become significantly smaller in diameter and therefore have trouble sufficiently nourishing the hair.  There are treatments meant to reverse follicle miniaturization and there are ways to encourage blood flow back to the scalp.

These things may not happen immediately.  But they should happen if you are proactive about them.  Never doubt that quitting smoking was the right thing to do.  It was.  Once your follicles are getting nourished again and are of normal diameter, hair regrowth comes at about a half inch per month.  So if you started out with long hair, then you have to be patient in order to replace everything that was lost.

I had a trigger that was not smoking, but it caused hair loss nonetheless.  And I still had to manage an inflammatory response and a bit of miniaturization.  You can read about some things that helped me on my blog at

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Dec 07

How To Regrow The Lost Hair Due To Telogen Effluvium

By: Ava Alderman:  I often hear from folks who have spent weeks or even months shedding alarming amounts of hair.  Some suspect that they are in the home stretch because they notice that the shedding has gotten somewhat better. And others hope to see improvement very soon.

Regardless of where you are in the process, there may come a time when you look in the mirror, take stock, and have to admit that you have lost a good deal of hair and therefore, have also lost volume.  As a result, your hair and overall appearance may look a little different than before (although it is rarely as bad as we tend to think.)  And of course, you want to know what you can do to grow your hair back after telogen effluvium.  I have been there (twice.)  And so below I’ll offer some tips that helped me the second time around (which I wish I’d known the first time around.)

Understand That Your Hair (And Follicles) Might Not Be Damaged:  It’s very important to know if you have true TE or if you have something else.  If you have a very obvious trigger (like giving birth or having surgery,) this knowledge can be easy.  But sometimes, it’s not so obvious.  Some of us have to determine if we are having androgenetic or inflammatory driven hair loss.

If you aren’t and what you have is true telogen effluvium, your hair and scalp should not be damaged by this process.  Once the shed cycle resets itself and the hair loss is over, your body (and hair) should heal on its own.  I mention this because I know for myself, I panicked and started taking supplements that changed my hormones.  Plus I used harsh chemicals on my scalp that actually caused inflammation that caused more shedding.  (These two things just prolonged my shedding rather than helping it.) If you have true TE, you should not need to take anything that may affect your hormones and cause more shedding. Give your body a chance to heal on its own. If it doesn’t and you see signs of inflammation or androgen activity, then of course you want to act.  But if you do not, then you really want to avoid things that will be harmful instead of helpful. A multi-vitamin is sometimes warranted, but you don’t need to go overboard.

Eat Enough Calories And Get Enough Carbs: I don’t think that people realize that if you are not taking in enough calories, your body will sort of shut off your hair function because it isn’t necessary.  If you don’t give your body enough fuel, it really has no choice but to cut off the nonessentials.  I hear from so many people whose telogen effluvium is kicked off by dieting.  Your body needs not only enough fuel, but also enough carbs.  High protein diets very commonly cause hair loss – so do other diets that restrict, limit, or completely cut out certain categories of food.  When you are regrowing hair, you want to have a very varied and healthy diet.  Now is the time to not worry about your weight and to give your body what it needs.

Address Any Inflammation Or Miniaturization: The above description is what we all long for – a scalp that emerges from TE relatively unscathed.  But if the shedding goes on particularly long or is particularly aggressive, you may end up with inflammation or even regrowth that is miniaturized.  The inflammation can be handled with anti – inflammatory shampoos and other topicals that you probably already have in your kitchen.  Miniaturization can be knocked back by encouraging blood flow to the scalp while addressing the androgens.  I used a widely prescribed regrowth product and it turned my scalp beet red and caused more shedding.  I read that this would improve as my scalp got used to it, but in my case, it just got worse.  I think it caused additional inflammation, which is why I think that for some, gentle and natural ways work better – or are at least worth a try in the beginning.

It’s important not to panic and to have faith that your body is designed to heal itself.  Sometimes, you really have to do nothing other than to support a healthy body and scalp. Other times, you may have a little inflammation or miniaturization which needs to be addressed, but both things are treatable, especially if you notice them early on.  You’re welcome to read about how I moved on and healed from two very severe bouts of TE on my blog at

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