Condition: Excess shedding

Excess shedding is often referred to as telogen effluvium and can be a result of general health issues and stress.


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What is
excess hair shedding?

It’s normal to lose between 50 to 100 strands of hair every day. Often referred to medically as telogen effluvium, excess shedding is a condition that causes hair to fall out more rapidly than usual, causing noticeable hair thinning. Excess shedding is a temporary condition, and although it causes hair to fall out at an increased rate, new hair continues to grow.

Excess shedding is the second most common form of hair loss. It’s not hereditary and can affect anyone of any age and sex.

What causes
excess shedding?

Excess shedding happens when there’s a shock to the system that causes a disturbance in the normal hair growth cycle.

Factors that may trigger excess hair shedding include:

  • Childbirth (postpartum hair loss)
  • Physical trauma
  • Stress
  • Illness (particularly with a fever)
  • Surgery
  • Significant weight loss
  • Extreme dieting
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • A skin condition that affects the scalp
  • Certain medications
  • Hormonal changes, caused by discontinuing the pill or going through menopause, for example
  • Endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
  • Jet lag
  • Excessive sun exposure

What are the symptoms of
excess shedding?

The symptoms of excess shedding often come on suddenly. Increased hair loss will often be most apparent when washing or brushing the hair and there may be more hair than usual left behind on the pillow after sleeping.

General thinning of the hair may become noticeable as the volume of hair may decrease. There are usually no other symptoms but in some cases, the scalp may become sore or tender.

Excess shedding is diagnosed by assessing the scalp to look for thinning of hair and any short hair of normal thickness that suggests normal regrowth. A gentle hair pull test can also be done to see how easily hair comes away from the scalp.

A sample of hair is sometimes taken to look at under the microscope to look for a club shape which indicates telogen effluvium. A biopsy of the scalp may be done but is rarely needed.

Excess shedding Specialists

By having a complete and integrated team of sub-specialty experts under one roof we ensure that patients are seen by the right consultant at every appointment. Our hair and scalp health specialists cover a wide range of dermatological conditions, and our dedicated allergy specialists are recognised leaders in their field.