Hair loss affects both men and women more often than you may think. According to a 2014 survey, 35 million men and 21 million women reported that they’d been affected by hair loss. By the age of 35, 60% of men and 40% of women in America experience it. You, too, will likely suffer from hair loss at some point in your life.
One of the more common causes of hair loss is a condition known as telogen effluvium. Coming in both acute and chronic forms, it’s what happens when your normal hair growth process is damaged. In this post, you’ll learn about this four-phase hair growth process, what happens during the telogen phase, and how telogen effluvium can lead to hair loss.
The Four Phases of Hair Growth
The way we experience it, our hair grows, we cut it, and then it grows again. That’s how it feels to us, but under the surface, our hair goes through four phases of growth:
- The anagen phase is first and is called the active phase. About 90% of hairs are in this phase at any given time and can last 2 to 7 years.
- The catagen phase comes next and is transitional. Only about 3% of your hair is in this phase, lasting about ten days.
- The telogen phase comes third and is the resting phase. About 10% of your hair is in this phase at any given time, and it lasts about three months.
- The exogen phase is the final phase, and it’s when your hair finally decides to fall out.
Taken together, these four phases of hair growth are normal and are happening all the time.
Related: Emotional Stages of Hair Loss
Telogen Effluvium – What’s the Big Deal?
During the telogen phase, your hairs rest in their follicles and are not doing anything. Normally, after they’ve been in this phase for a few months, they fall out (exogen phase), and new hairs come up in those same follicles (anagen phase). And the cycle repeats itself.
Things go bad, though, when those hairs fall out, and nothing replaces them. This is telogen effluvium.3 Technically speaking, it’s when the anagen phase doesn’t replace the telogen and exogen phases. Those follicles go dormant, and at least temporarily, you lose some of your hair.
The acute version of telogen effluvium is usually caused by some major shock to the system (like an accident or bad diet) and lasts about six months. It will probably feel like a general thinning of your hair, although some people will lose a bunch of hair in spots. The chronic version is also caused by some shock but will last for a much longer period, perhaps years and years.4
Talk to a Hair Loss Specialist Near You
Now that you have a better grip on telogen effluvium and how it can cause hair loss, does this describe you? Are you suffering from hair loss and don’t know why? If so, we invite you to consider scheduling a consultation with a qualified hair loss specialist near you soon.