Female hair loss: telogen effluvium explained
A third of women will experience thinning hair to some degree during their lifetime. While it’s normal to lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day, episodes of sudden and significant hair shedding should be investigated.
Telogen effluvium is a common hair loss condition which mostly affects women. It can be triggered by events including stress, illness, surgery, childbirth and the menopause. Telogen effluvium has also been identified as a long-term symptom of coronavirus.
Different to the genetically-linked condition female pattern hair loss, which develops as a receding hairline progressing to balding on the top of the head, telogen effluvium is typically temporary. However, it can be equally distressing to experience.
The process occurs when the hair enters a rest phase called telogen, leading to substantial hair fall within a concentrated period. Ordinarily, this is around three months after a ‘trigger’. In most cases it lasts less than six months, although – depending on the root cause – the condition can be prolonged.
If you suspect you might be experiencing telogen effluvium, a thorough examination is recommended to rule out other causes of hair loss, such as nutritional deficiencies, thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions and diabetes. At Santi London our specialist team can make a clinical diagnosis and prescribe a treatment programme to support your hair health.
Treating telogen effluvium
It may be important to address lifestyle changes, including eating a diet rich in protein, complex carbohydrates, iron and zinc; seeking stress management and prioritising rest. When styling the hair avoid chemical services, the use of high heat, and pulling the hair back into a position with any tension.
Scalp care is inextricably linked to healthy hair and should be prioritised for anyone experiencing shedding. Optimising the scalp environment supports the growth of new hairs, and so you should cleanse the scalp regularly and exfoliate weekly. This will ensure dead skin cells, dirt and sebum are sufficiently removed – preventing build-up – and stimulate the micro-circulation that then encourages hair growth.
In addition, professional scalp treatments can be carried out in an expert environment such as our dermatology clinic to help manage telogen effluvium and enhance hair thickness. Depending on your situation, laser therapy, PRP (platelet rich plasma), and microneedling may be recommended.
Low level laser therapy (LLLT)
is a safe, painless treatment that’s shown to stimulate regrowth and hair thickness. Using a device that emits a specific wave length of light, it increases the blood flow in the scalp. It’s believed that this stimulates metabolism in the telogen follicles which in turn promotes the growth phase.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
involves small scalp injections of your own blood product to kickstart cell growth, promoting healing and reducing inflammation. Long lauded as a star anti-ageing therapy for the skin, it’s also becoming an increasingly popular hair loss treatment for the scalp.
with a dermaroller is another non-invasive treatment option which can potentially stimulate hair growth. Covered in miniscule needles, the manual tool is rolled over the scalp to intentionally cause micro injuries, bringing about increased blood flow and nutrients to induce new stem cells. In the case of female pattern hair loss, microchannels on the scalp created by microneedling allow for deeper penetration of a topical solution called minoxidil, which is proven to stimulate regrowth in this specific condition.
As well as the physical effects of hair loss, it’s important to address psychological aspects too. Shedding an excessive amount of hair can alter your appearance, which may take adjustments beyond relearning how to style it. Seeking support from family, friends and professionals can be beneficial, and be reassured that in the case of telogen effluvium your lost hairs will likely grow back as suddenly as they started shedding.
For a diagnosis and to discuss treatment options for your specific concerns, book in for a consultation with one of our specialists who have extensive experience in treating hair loss conditions.