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Telogen effluvium

This page aims to give you a general overview of hair disorders.

Telogen effluvium is sudden and abundant hair loss and is often an unsettling experience. Yet, it is generally temporary and the hair spontaneously recovers its normal density after a few month.

Sudden and diffuse hair loss

Each of our hairs follows a life cycle broken down into three phases: the anagen phase, during which the hair grows; the catagen phase, during which its growth stops; and the telogen phase, during which it dies and falls out. A new hair then forms and the cycle starts over. Under normal circumstances, approximately 90% of our hair is in the anagen phase.
Telogen effluvium is said to occur when the proportion of hair in the telogen phase increases suddenly and dramatically, reaching up to 30% in certain cases. Sudden, abundant and diffuse hair loss is then observed over the entire scalp. This hair loss is generally temporary: it lasts from a few weeks to a few months.

Physiological and psychological causes

Telogen effluvium can have different origins:
Childbirth: it is common for significant hair loss to occur in the months following childbirth.

Changing seasons, particularly in spring and autumn.

Extreme fatigue.

A very strict diet.

Nutritional deficiencies, particularly in iron, zinc, calcium or magnesium.

An emotional shock (divorce, bereavement, etc.) or a period of intense stress.

Depression.

Taking certain medications, such as anti-depressants.

The stress of surgery.

Because dead hair clings to the scalp for 2 to 3 months, the event that triggered telogen effluvium should be sought in the 3 months preceding the start of the hair loss.

Treating telogen effluvium

Fortunately, telogen effluvium is reversible. In the majority of cases, it resolves itself spontaneously: the hair loss goes back to normal after a few weeks or months, and the hair gradually recovers its usual density.
However, if the phenomenon should last longer, we recommend you see a doctor to identify the cause. They will be able to prescribe blood tests to detect any possible deficiencies, and/or a trichogram (hair pluck test), for a detailed examination of the hair. The doctor will then suggest a treatment appropriate to the cause of the telogen effluvium, such as a course of vitamins and nutrients that are essential for healthy hair.