What is diffuse hair loss?


Diffuse hair loss can be defined as excessive hair loss all over the scalp.  With this type of hair loss the follicles are present and you will never go bald because the hair that falls is replaced by new hair. You start to notice your hair is thinning with diffuse hair loss because the rate of hair loss is greater than the rate of hair growth.

The hair grows in a continuous cycle and there are 3 stages.

  1. Anagen Stage: Anagen is the hair growth stage. According to Hair and Scalp Disorders, written by John Gray and Rodney Dawber, “95 % of the hair follicles are in the anagen stage”.
  2. Catagen Stage: Catagen is the hairs transitional stage.
  3. Telogen Stage: Telogen is where the hair is resting, and waiting to be shed spontaneously.

Normally we lose about 50 – 80 strands of hairs a day in the telogen stage. When diffuse hair loss takes place, the scalp becomes noticeable because a lot of anagen hairs prematurely pass to the telogen stage. This is why diffuse hair loss is sometimes called telogen effluvium. Diffuse hair loss occurs when there is an imbalance that takes place inside the body.  If the imbalance is temporary and the body corrects the problem, the hair loss will stop 3 months after the problem that caused the excessive hair fall. No treatment is necessary.  However, if the hair loss takes place for 6 months, or longer, the hair loss will not stop until the imbalance is found and treated. Blood work by your primary doctor or a dermatologist is recommended.

What are the causes of diffuse hair loss?

  • Hormonal Factors
  • Nutritional Deficiencies
  • Medication
  • Delivering of a baby.
  • Stress
  • Blood Sugar Problems
  • Thyroid Problems
  • Operation
  • Crash Diets
  • High Fever
  • Trauma to the head.

How can a trichologist help you if you have diffuse hair loss?

  • Analyze hair strands under a microscope to measure the amount of hairs in anagen vs telogen stage.
  • Microscopically look at the hair bulb, analyzing the color and any distorted shapes etc.
  • Measure your pH to see how acidic or alkaline you are. Your pH lets a trichologist know how well your body absorbs nutrients.
  • The scalp must be examined all over using a digital microscope to determine pattern of hair loss, density of hair, hair quality and rule out any other types of hair loss.
  • During the consultation a trichologist will go over recent blood work, and ask you questions pertaining to your health to figure out the cause of diffuse hair loss.

Have you ever experienced diffuse hair loss?  How did you care for your hair during that time?

Here is a helpful article on how to help your natural, or relaxed hair grow healthy.

Read The Crucial Dos and Don’ts of Growing African American Hair.


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