what is a telogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium: Understanding Sudden Hair Loss

Sudden hair loss, also known as telogen effluvium, is the second most common form of hair loss. While it is usually just temporary it can be difficult to diagnose as there can be several reasons for the hair loss. Learn about the potential triggers for telogen effluvium and how to maintain healthy hair.


  1. The Cycle of Hair Growth
  2. What Happens if You Have Telogen Effluvium?
  3. Discerning Telogen Effluvium from Other Types of Hair Loss
  4. Treatments for Telogen Effluvium
  5. What Does Elithair Recommend for Treating Telogen Effluvium

The Cycle of Hair Growth

The 3 Phases of Hair Follicles

To understand sudden hair loss, it’s important to be aware of the hair cycle that follicles undergo. The majority of the hairs on your head, between 80% and 90%, are in the anagen or growth phase at any point in time. 

After growth the hair enters the transitional catagen phase, where the follicles begin to shrink and hair parts from the bottom of the follicle. This is the shortest stage of the hair growth cycle only lasting around 10 days and with just around 5% of hairs being in this phase. 

Then in the resting telogen stage the hair follicles stop growing while new hair begins to form in its place. A large number of hairs do not typically fall out in the telogen phase and usually can’t be noticed as just 10-15% of the hair follicles are in this phase of the cycle. 

However if there is a shock to the system the ratios are reversed between resting and growth. Up to 70% of anagen hairs are pushed into the resting stage as the number of telogen hairs increase which results in hair shedding.

Connection to Nail Growth

As the hair loss happens suddenly and often due to some abrupt incident it can be difficult to foresee. Particularly since it tends to occur between 2 to 4 months after the event that caused the hair loss. 

However, nail and hair growth are subject to the same conditions meaning it’s possible to track the appearance of telogen effluvium by checking what’s known as the beau line. This groove is caused by a disruption to the nail growth cycle which can coincide with telogen effluvium. If it is for example at the midpoint of the nail you can track the shock to 2.5 months ago since it takes fingernails 5 months to grow completely.

What Happens If You Have Telogen Effluvium?

Hair Loss

Hair loss can be localised to one area or diffuse. It may first be noticed as thinning hair on the top of the scalp. Usually, the hairline is not affected, and only some scalp hair is lost due to the continued presence of telogen hair follicles. In severe cases, hair fall may occur in other areas of the body, such as the eyebrows.

Chronic Telogen Effluvium

For some people the hair loss can continue for longer periods of time. This can often happen to women with a thicker hair structure and long hair since its loss is more noticeable than for women with thinner hair. Often women undergoing menopause can experience sustained hair thinning lasting years due to a hormonal imbalance.

Discerning Telogen Effluvium from Other Types of Hair Loss

Anagen Effluvium

As the hair loss can continue for a period of time it is possible to confuse it with other types of hair loss. Anagen effluvium is another kind of sudden hair loss but one which tends to develop a lot faster and can result in a complete loss of hair on the scalp. 

This is most often caused by medications that work to fight cancer. The difference can be noticed where the fallen telogen hairs usually have a small bulb of keratin at the end of the root but here the anagen hairs are the ones that fall out which have a tapered root end.

Androgenetic Alopecia

Genetic hair loss can be preceded by telogen effluvium as the percentage of telogen hair follicles are increased due to genetics. Over time though the hairline is affected during the hair loss as it recedes and androgenetic alopecia can be predicted by checking family history for patterns of hair loss.

Treatments for Telogen Effluvium

Understanding the Causes

The cause for the sudden loss of hair will allow for an understanding of the appropriate treatment. Stress is one of the more common reasons for telogen effluvium so it’s important to recognise where the stress is originating from and tackle it. 

It can be due to a nutrient deficiency as well such as vitamin D, so getting medical advice and a blood test would be recommended. Certain life events can also contribute to hair loss such as childbirth or a traumatic incident, in these cases the hair usually returns on its own.

Hair Products

There are some hair products which can help to bridge the gap between hair loss and regrowth as a result of telogen effluvium. Minoxidil can be useful in this case for growing hair as it only continues while the product is continuously applied. However there can be some negative side effects such as eczema or irritation to the scalp. It may be advisable then to go with a more natural product in order to reduce the possibility of negative reactions.

What Does Elithair Recommend for Treating Telogen Effluvium?

If you’re looking for a more natural solution to aid in dealing with telogen effluvium, Dr. Balwi Biotin & Keratin supplement is an organic solution to achieving strong hair. The growth-promoting properties of the nutrients help to prevent and reduce hair loss while stimulating the hair follicles making for stronger and fuller hair.

No Comments yet!

Your email address will not be published.