Here at Simone Thomas we see many children suffering hair loss. Over the next few weeks our blogs will be about children with hair loss and the common conditions associated with hair loss in children. Our fourth blog is centred around Telogen effluvium.
What Is Telogen Effluvium?
Telogen effluvium is a common cause of hair loss in children. To understand telogen effluvium, one must understand a hair’s normal life cycle. An individual hair follicle has a long growth phase, producing steadily growing hair for 2 to 6 years (on average 3 years). This is followed by a brief transitional phase (about 3 weeks) when the hair follicle degenerates. This in turn is followed by a resting phase (about 3 months) when the hair follicle lies dormant. This last phase is called the telogen phase. Following the telogen phase, the growth phase begins again — new hairs grow and push out the old hair shafts. The whole cycle repeats. For most people, 80% to 90% of the follicles are in the growth phase, 5% are in the brief transition phase, and 10% to 15% are in the telogen phase. Each day about 50-150 hairs are shed and replaced by new hairs. With telogen effluvium, something happens to interrupt this normal life cycle and many or all of the hairs adopt the telogen phase. Between 6 and 16 weeks later, partial or complete baldness and hair loss appears.
What Causes Telogen Effluvium?
Many different events can cause telogen effluvium, including extremely high fevers, surgery under general anaesthesia, excess vitamin A, severe prolonged emotional stress such as a death of a loved one, severe injuries and the use of certain prescription medication such as accutane for acne. Many forms of hair loss are either self-limited (telogen effluvium or drug side effects) or respond to treatment with medication (tinea capitis). Even hereditary-pattern baldness tends to improve with treatment. However, treatment must continue indefinitely. In some conditions, hair loss cannot be reversed, especially if scarring has developed (as can happen in lupus-related scalp disease).
How Can You Treat Telogen Effluvium
In children, once the stressful event is over or if the hair loss is a result of drug side effects it usually requires no treatment other than discontinuing the medication that is causing the problem. Full hair growth can be expected to between six months and one year. In the meantime, if your child would like to visit our hair loss clinic to try hair extensions, human hair or synthetic wigs in Reading, Bournemouth or London, please contact us.