Why Is My Hair Getting Worse After Telogen Effluvium?

When you are shedding hair, you often hope that once the hair stops falling out so dramatically, the nightmare is going to be over.  Since telogen effluvium is thought to be only temporary, most people expect their hair to start looking better once the shedding begins to slow down.  Unfortunately, this is not always what happens.  Sometimes, you get the slow down that you’d been hoping for, but you notice no improvement in the appearance of your hair.

Someone might say: “I honestly thought that it was not possible for my hair to actually look worse after my telogen effluvium was over.  I thought that this is when I would start to see it looking better.  I shed non-stop for four months.  It is finally starting to slow down.  I think that the worst is over – at least as far as shedding goes.  But the worst is definitely here was far as my hair is concerned.  It’s limp.  The texture is flyaway and it’s very dry.  It’s very hard to control, but if I put it in a ponytail, the tail is so thin and it just pulls more hair out anyway.  This is the worst that my hair has looked.  I thought that things were supposed to be getting better.”

It can take a while to see a noticeable difference in the way your hairs looks after recovery.  Here is why:   Losing all that hair is going to take a toll on your volume.  There is no way around that, really.  There are certainly styling techniques that you can use to make the most of the volume you have.  But you won’t get your original volume back  until your hair grows in.  It only grows about a half inch per month, so this takes time.

As far as the texture, telogen effluvium resets your hair cycle to the resting phase, which means that many follicles are not getting actively nourished.  As a result, your hair can look dull and be dry.  Once the TE is over, the follicles will eventually go back to the growing phase where they’re getting nourished, but they don’t all go back at once (in the same way that they didn’t fall out all at once.)  Once this reset happens for all of the affected follicles, your texture should eventually return to normal.

You might also want to make sure that you don’t have any miniaturization.  This means that the diameter of your hair has become smaller either because of androgens or inflammation.  When your hair mininaturizes, it takes many more hair strands to cover a smaller area.  Thin hair can be harder to tame than course hair.  And when your hair miniaturizes, it will provide less coverage and volume.  Now, miniaturization isn’t certain with telogen effluvium.  In fact in most cases, it’s said that the follicles are not affected.  However, in severe or prolonged cases, people have reported miniaturization.  I had a slight case of it after a severe bout of TE.  I could tell because when I plucked hairs on a certain section of my head, they would be very thin with no real substance.  If you moved them, they would float like a feather, whereas normal hairs on my head were much more coarse and would not float.  This can be addressed by combating inflammation in some cases.

The bottom line is that unfortunately, improvement isn’t immediate.  You have to wait for regrowth to take hold and for all of the follicles to reset.  Plus you have to combat any inflammation that may have popped up.  However, the good news is that once these things are done and with some patience, you should eventually get hair that is greatly improved.

If it helps for reassurance, my hair looked very rough after one bout of chronic telogen effluvium with some miniaturization.  However, time has now passed and I pretty much have my normal hair back.  It didn’t happen as fast as I might have liked, but once I understood all that was at play, it did happen. You can read more on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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