Telogen effluvium: why is my hair falling out?

Written by: Dr Aleksandar Godic
Published: | Updated: 11/04/2023
Edited by: Alex Furber

Telogen effluvium is a relatively unknown, but fairly common, form of hair loss. Sufferers usually experience a general thinning rather than specific patches of baldness or a receding hairline. Sometimes it is short-lived and hair grows back, whilst in other cases, it becomes chronic and is known as diffuse hair loss. In his penultimate article of the series, one of our top London-based dermatologist Dr Aleksandar Godic discusses the condition…



What is TE, or telogen effluvium?


Telogen effluvium (TE), causes the thinning or shedding of hair due to the early entry of hair into the telogen - otherwise known as the resting phase. Hairs stop growing prematurely and go into the resting phase, where they will stay for about three months before starting to fall out.


Normally, there is about 10% of hair in the resting phase and hairs shed at a rate of between 50 and 120 per day. With telogen effluvium, this number is significantly higher and this is what causes the hair loss.


What causes TE?


Telogen effluvium occurs suddenly and can be triggered by a whole host of things in susceptible individuals. There is a three month lag between the trigger and the onset of hair loss, corresponding to the length of the telogen, or resting, phase


The most common trigger factors are certain medications, infections, chronic illnesses, surgical procedures, fever, severe emotional stress, initiation or termination of hormonal therapy (for example, starting or stopping birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy), pregnancy terminations, an under- or overactive thyroid, diet, anaemia, diabetes, childbirth, and an autoimmune disease called systemic lupus erythematosus.


Can TE be treated?


In most cases it is temporary, lasting up to six months, and the hair may grow back by itself. In some cases, however, telogen effluvium becomes chronic (long-lasting).  


What is diffuse hair loss?


Chronic telogen effluvium, also known as diffuse hair loss, is a prolonged hair loss condition that displays the same signs as regular TE, however, it may last up to several years with hair on the scalp showing more significant signs of thinning.


Can diffuse hair-loss be treated?


It is essential that patients see a specialist in order to establish the correct diagnosis and ensure that the underlying cause is treated in addition to the hair loss. Diffuse hair loss often overlaps with or precedes female pattern hair loss in women

By Dr Aleksandar Godic

Dr Aleksandar Godic is a leading consultant dermatologist based in London. Dr Godic graduated in 1996 from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He finished his Master of Science in 1997 (Thesis: Analysis of Hair Surface in Patients with Ichthyosis Vulgaris, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia), and training in dermatovenereology in 2001. In 2004 he finished his PhD (Thesis: Molecular and Genetic Analysis of Darier Disease in Slovenian Population, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia).  He spent a year of postdoctoral fellowship in dermatopathology at the University of California, San Francisco, USA (UCSF), had additional training in dermatology at the Department of Dermatology, Yale University, USA (in 2005 and 2006), and was awarded the European Board Certificate in Dermatopathology (2006).

In 2005, Dr Godic was appointed as an Assistant Professor for Dermatovenereology at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is a regular invited lecturer at the European and world anti-aging congresses in Paris, and in Monte Carlo, respectively. In 2014 he became a board member of the World Council for Preventive Regenerative and Anti-Ageing Medicine (WOCPM). Recently he became a Scientific Board Member of BHI Therapeutic Sciences and will start seeing patients in Slovakia who are interested in autologous (self) fat transfer supplemented with stem cells into the face, V neck, hands, scalp and earlobes. He has numerous publications in high impact factor journals and has written a chapter on hair and scalp diseases in a textbook for medical and dental students. He contributed to the monographs on psoriasis and on skin aging and skin disorders.

With more than 20 years of experience, he is a at the cutting-edge of dermatology, constantly looking for new and innovative treatments. His special interests include general dermatology, hair and scalp disorders, skin cancer, pigmented lesions, inflammatory dermatoses (acne, psoriasis, rosacea, vitiligo, etc.), skin surgery, dermatopathology, anti-aging, and cosmetic dermatology.

Further to this, Dr Godic offers a revolutionary fat transfer treatment that uses patients' own stem cells to achieve lasting, transformational results.

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