Stress is a natural part of life, but in some cases, it can lead to a rapid, temporary form of hair loss. “Chronic telogen effluvium is defined as a condition in which a greater percentage than normal of hair follicles on the scalp are shedding,” Anna Chacon, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and hair loss expert in South Florida tells WebMD Connect to Care.
Can it be reversed? Yes! “Regrowth after telogen effluvium can be reversed by identifying and removing the trigger that is causing chronic telogen effluvium,” Chacon says.
Let’s explore some of the common causes of chronic telogen effluvium and some solutions that work to reverse it.
Telogen Effluvium Causes
When you experience stress, your hair does too. Telogen effluvium is defined as stress-related hair loss and is typically short-term and transitory. It can be triggered by many physical and emotional stressors including:
- Certain medications
- Poor diet
- Autoimmune disease
- Chronic illness
- Emotional stress
“If the stressor is constant and has not been addressed — such as continuous dieting, grievance, or a psychological/medical illness which has not been addressed or which the patient has not successfully recovered from, telogen effluvium may become chronic,” Chacon says.
Solutions That Work
There are several solutions that can help to reverse telogen effluvium once it has become chronic (lasting longer than 6 months). Keep in mind that the best way to reverse this type of hair loss is to treat the underlying cause. Here are five solutions for treating chronic telogen effluvium, according to a 2019 review published in the International Journal of Trichology:
- Practice Gentle Hair Care — When you’re experiencing hair loss, it’s very important to handle your hair gently. Try to avoid using harsh chemicals and stick to gentle hair care products. Be careful not to be overly aggressive when you are combing or styling your hair. Hairstyles that pull tightly on the scalp should also be avoided for the time being.
- Treat Underlying Conditions — When telogen effluvium becomes chronic, there is usually an underlying physical or mental condition that needs to be addressed. It’s important to see your doctor to rule out underlying medical issues, scalp conditions, hormonal imbalances, or mental health conditions. The sooner you can identify the cause, the sooner you can seek treatment and reverse your hair loss.
- Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet — Your diet plays an important role in the cycle of hair growth. Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of protein, healthy fats, and sources of antioxidants is key for preventing and treating further hair loss.
- Correct Nutritional Deficiencies —Vitamin deficiencies can be a cause of hair loss. If your doctor finds that you have a nutrient deficiency, it’s important to correct it as soon as possible. While a healthy diet can provide an abundant supply of vitamins and minerals, sometimes, a vitamin supplement may be necessary. Some types of nutritional deficiencies include vitamin D, vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron.
- Consider Medication — In some cases, medication may be necessary to reverse chronic telogen effluvium. According to a 2020 review published in Cureus, the choice of medication will depend on the underlying cause. While finasteride and minoxidil are not typically used in acute cases, they may also be prescribed for chronic telogen effluvium. Topical and systemic corticosteroids may also be treatment options.
Don’t Wait. Get Help Today.
The sooner you address the symptoms of hair loss, the more likely you are to prevent irreversible damage. Speak to a medical professional today to begin your journey to a fuller head of hair.