In a word, yes, telogen effluvium can certainly affect your hairline. Many people find that this hair loss condition can cause a number of changes in the volume and distribution of hair across their scalp. But changes to your hairline from this condition should only be temporary, and new hair should once again grow back within a few months after an episode of significant shedding. Here is what you need to know about telogen effluvium and your hairline, what you can do about it, and when you should be concerned.
What is telogen effluvium?
Telogen effluvium is a common, temporary hair loss condition that can affect both men and women. This condition is spurred by an especially traumatic or stressful life event, such as the death of a loved one, a job change, divorce, a car accident, surgery, or severe illness. Essentially, high stress levels, coupled with some side effects of severe stress like poor sleep, nutrition, and physical and emotional distress, cause hair follicles to abruptly shift from the growing phase of the hair growth cycle to the resting phase.
Typically, an episode of telogen effluvium occurs about 3 months after the stressor occurred. This length of time is the amount of time that occurs in the resting phase of the growth cycle, called telogen. For about 3 months, the hair follicle is beginning to detach from the hair itself and is readying to shed so another hair can start growing. Usually, people lose anywhere between 50-100 hairs a day. But in telogen effluvium, this number can at least triple.
Most cases of telogen effluvium resolve after a few months, and typically active hair shedding doesn’t last more than a few weeks. After about 6 months, most people should notice their hair shedding to normalize and should see new hairs sprouting, particularly around the hairline where growth is most visible.
What to do about a receding hairline caused by telogen effluvium?
Telogen effluvium is one of those conditions where you need to let it run its course and keep your hair and scalp healthy in the meantime. Unfortunately, there is little you can do to prevent hair loss from occurring after a severely stressful situation, but you can support your body by getting plenty of sleep, eating nutritious meals, and using good products on your hair. Of course, decreasing your stress can also help, but we can often not avoid the stressors that cause telogen effluvium to begin.
Certain products and practices can support healthy hair growth when new follicles begin to emerge. Along with a good nutrition foundation from a diet of wholesome foods, you may want to incorporate a supplement for hair support to ensure you get all the right nutrients to support healthy hair growth. Additionally, it helps to use hair products that support and even stimulate hair growth, such as the REVITA line at DS Laboratories. Furthermore, sound hair care practices, such as avoiding harsh styling treatments and tight hairstyles, can help to encourage healthy hair growth.
Of course, covering up a receding hairline is challenging, but finding a good hairstyle can help draw the eye away from the hairline. Your stylist should be a resource for you in this area, but you can also play around with your hair to see what seems to feel and look the best. (Who knows, maybe this is your chance to revisit bangs or shift your part line.)
When to be concerned about a receding hairline
Because a receding hairline is expected with telogen effluvium, there is no need to stress, as it is temporary, and your hair should grow back. However, if you find your hair is not growing back when it should and the hairline is receding even farther back, it is time to consult your dermatologist for advice.
A receding hairline is a common sign in men with androgenic alopecia, a progressive hair loss condition. For women, a receding hairline is more commonly associated with medical conditions and hormonal shifts. In either gender, it is important to consult a medical professional to know exactly what is behind changes to your hairline. In some cases, it may be a chronic condition like hypothyroidism that is usually treated with a commonly used medication called levothyroxine. In other cases, it may be a result of your genetics. Whatever the cause, it is important to get to the bottom of it, as its effects may extend far deeper than just your scalp.
Lastly, if your hair loss is related to androgenic alopecia, early action is the key to keeping as much hair on your head as possible. So, the sooner you realize if your receding hairline is temporary or progressive, the better, as early treatment increases your odds of keeping hair on your head.