Is Holiday Hair Loss A Real Thing?!

two people holding a gift box

While the holidays may not be a direct cause of hair loss, the stress they inflict can certainly lead to diffuse hair shedding. This type of stress-induced hair loss is known as telogen effluvium.

Telogen effluvium is a common type of hair loss induced by an acute stressor. The initial trigger occurs a few months before diffuse hair loss becomes noticeable. Patients may especially notice increased hair loss while brushing or washing their hair.

Telogen effluvium can be caused by physical stress (trauma, illness, surgery, childbirth, weight loss/crash diets) or psychological stress (death of a loved one, divorce/break up, job change, moving), among other stressors. When one of these triggers takes place, the hair follicles go into “shock” and make a physiological shift. At any point in time, about 90% of normal scalp hair is in the anagen (growth) phase. The remaining 10% of hair follicles are in the telogen (shedding) phase. It is normal to shed between 50 and 100 hairs daily.

In telogen effluvium, the trigger causes a shift in the percentage of hairs in the shedding phase from 10% to about 20%. This shift causes patients to lose “clumps” of hair which leads to noticeable hair thinning. Shedding will slowly decrease over 8 months once the cause for original hair loss is no longer present. 

Treatment of Telogen Effluvium:

The most important thing to remember is that this type of hair loss is self-limiting! Understanding the causes behind telogen effluvium can help patients make sense of their hair loss.  

Supportive treatment measures:

  • Maintain a healthy diet with high protein.
  • Improve quality of sleep. Sleeping for 7-9 hours nightly is recommended for healthy adults.
  • Reduce stress and promote relaxation by practicing meditation or yoga.
  • Nutrafol daily supplement capsules can be purchased at Dermatology and Skin Cancer Institute in Fort Washington and Lansdale, Pennsylvania offices. In clinical studies, men and women saw stronger, thicker, faster hair growth after 6 months. 
  • Topical Rogaine (minoxidil) solution or foam.  CAUTION: Expect initial hair loss 2-8 weeks after starting Rogaine but this should subside thereafter. This initial loss is a sign that the Rogaine is working! Rogaine extends your hair’s growth phase and shortens the resting phase but in the beginning of use, some preexisting resting hairs need to shed. 

Hair loss is multifactorial and should be evaluated in the office to properly diagnose and develop a treatment plan. To schedule with Megan Quinn, PA-C in our Fort Washington, Pennsylvania office, or in our Lansdale, Pennsylvania office, please call 215-361-3376, and press Option 1

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