I sometimes hear from people who have been dealing with severe telogen effluvium for quite some time. Because of this, they are ready to do something drastic to stop the shedding. I’ve been asked about injections into the scalp and whether or not this will help with telogen effluvium.
Before I attempt to answer, I have to stress that I am not a doctor or specialist. I am just a layperson who has gone through this and, because of that, has done a good deal of research. It is my understanding that dermatologists sometimes use cortisone or steroid injections directly into the scalp for autoimmune or scarring conditions like alopecia areata, or for scarring alopecia due to lichen planopilaris. This is usually done in situations where there is an alarming amount of inflammation and the hair loss could be permanent without treatment.
Typically, telogen effluvium does not rise to the extremely high level of inflammation that we are talking about. These injections are typically performed by a dermatologist only when a scalp biopsy has shown an extremely high degree of inflammation that could cause scarring. Yes, sometimes, ongoing and severe telogen effluvium CAN cause inflammation. But this is often a by product of the condition. It is not the initial trigger for the condition. Most often a person with telogen effluvium will be given topical anti inflammatories (or told to use an anti inflammatory shampoo) rather than getting injections. The idea is to try non invasive methods.
I’d certainly encourage anyone with telogen effluvium to see a dermatologist, but I would not push for injections unless my scalp biopsy showed something alarming that made injections medically advisable. This is just based on my personal experience where I was able to kick back TE inflammation using more natural topicals that I could use at home and did not need to inject. Certainly, there are medical conditions of the skin and scalp that are severe and will require medical intervention. Telogen effluvium typically does not fall into that category because it usually ends on its own once the trigger is removed and the inflammation is dealt with. (Typically, the hair cycles reset themselves after these things happen.) Even androgenetic alopecia is not typically treated with scalp injections. It is usually very specific, severe, and potentially scarring or permanent conditions that require the injections. I do not want to discourage you from seeing a dermatologist. In fact, I encourage that. It’s just that it’s my understanding that most dermatologists only perform scalp injections for specific conditions. But if you have very severe inflammation with your telogen effluvium, a dermatologist might be able to offer you some topical anti inflammatories or even put your might at ease. Also, I do know a few people who were thought to have telogen effluvium, but who later learned that they had something else entirely after a scalp biopsy, so it never hurts to have your scalp checked if your TE is ongoing and severe.
As I alluded to, I had decent success with natural, topical anti inflammatories combined with occasional dandruff shampoo (even though I didn’t have dandruff.) You can read more about what helped my triggers, my regrowth, and my inflammation on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/