There are many causes of telogen effluvium and the degree to which this effects a person will depend on the cause

Telogen effluvium is a condition where hair is lost from not only the head but other parts of the body causing thinning and in some extreme cases baldness. However, it is not a permanent condition and once the cause is found and treated hair normally grows back. Basically, the hair has three cycles that it continues with throughout a person’s lifetime. When this is interrupted then it will affect the condition of the hair. The first phase is the anagen phase or the growing stage where the hair will grow approximately 1 cm a month and can continue in this way for up to 7 years. Next comes the catagen phase which ends this active stage. It lasts for around 2-3weeks and is known as the transitional stage as the hair forms into a club hair. When this is fully formed it will go into the telogen phase or the final stage when the hair rests and this can last for up to 3 months after which it falls out. At any one time there is around 10-15% of hair at this stage. When there is stress or illness etc. more hair will start to fall out. Environmental conditions can also have a great effect on the condition of hair. It is not just from within the body but also outside that hair has to cope with. During the winter the cold and wet can have an adverse effect on hair leaving it dull and hard to manage. A good shampoo and conditioner with no harsh chemicals will help restore shine and thickness. It can become dry with the constant battering of wind and rain and for those spells outside the wearing of a hat or scarf will save the hair from damage. During the summer months the sun can dry the scalp and cause harm to the hair follicles which can lead to hair loss. It will also dry the hair leaving it brittle and dull. Drink plenty of water to ensure no dehydrated and to keep up the production of sebum the hair’s natural oil. Again a good shampoo and moisturiser will help. Chlorine in swimming baths is another danger to hair and can cause telogen effluvium. At one time swimming hats were used but they are worn by very few today. The chlorine can cause some hair to turn a green colour particularly blond hair. It can also dry the skin which can become inflamed and block the hair follicles. Lack of vitamins and minerals in a diet are the biggest causes of telogen effluvium. The hair follicles need nutrients in order to grow healthy hair and as many who lead a busy lifestyle can depend on fast foods for their nourishment it can lead to a deficiency. The first signs of this are often hair thinning and in extreme cases bald patches. The skin is the body’s largest organ but the least important. It will do no harm to have no hair and so the body’s own system will automatically supply the nutrients to those organs we need in order to live such as the heart and liver. Shock to the body is another cause of hair loss and this could mean surgery, a long illness or an accident. The body has to cope and will send its nutrients to where they are best needed and this often means the supply to the skin and hair is cut short. Fortunately the hair loss is not permanent and will be restored once the body is back in good health. This can be helped by plenty of rest and a good diet. If there is any doubt a dietician will be able to help advise the best foods to eat. All in all the hair is quite fragile as it is exposed to all the conditions the body and mind goes through. Keeping it healthy is the key, reducing stress and anxiety and finding ways to relax will also help. The good news is telogen effluvium is reversible under the right conditions. For more information please see the following links:

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By Damien

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