I often hear from people who are sure that their worst fears will come true. And when it comes to telogen effluvium, that’s understandable. Because your reality has become big clumps of hair in the shower drain and in your brush. Seeing all this hair loss day after day can get quite alarming. You may wonder if you are going to go bald at this rate. And then you start wondering if you should go wig shopping, just in case.
I heard from someone who said, “I’ve had severe telogen effluvium for the past two and a half months. I’m losing tons and tons of hair. I counted the hairs once and it was over 500. At this rate I feel as I will soon have transparent hair I have started looking at wig and topper websites but my husband says I’m ridiculous He admits my hair looks thinner than it was but he says I don’t need it for a long time have a wig. I understand what he’s saying, but my hair can’t fall out like this every day without going almost bald. Is it foolish of me to think I’m going to need a wig with my aggressive telogen effluvium?”
It’s certainly not crazy. Unless you’ve experienced this yourself (and I don’t wish it on anyone), you have no idea how shocking it can be. Yes, it may seem to people in our lives that we take a pessimistic attitude and assume the worst case scenario, but it’s hard not to when you lose so much hair every day. Often we hope for the best. We try to think positively in the hopes that we will wake up the next morning and find that it is over. However, nothing seems to change. Below I will try to put this in perspective from my own experience and I will try to put your mind at ease.
Understand that classic telogen effluvium should only last about three months: I know it probably looks like you’re losing an unnatural amount of hair. But you probably have more than you think at first. In three months there is no doubt that your hair will take a beating and will look thinner and lack volume. But most people don’t need a wig after three months. Yes, you may need to learn some styling techniques to make the most of what you have. And you will probably not be completely satisfied with your hair until it starts to grow back steadily. But my hair was falling out at an alarming rate (and it lasted much longer than three months) and although I bought a topper just to be on the safe side, I ended up never wearing it.
Know that hair grows back as soon as it falls out: People often have the misconception that in order for their hair to grow back and recover, all the falling out has to stop. This is not the case. Once a hair falls out, it is replaced by the follicle. It takes a few months before it is long enough to see easily, but this process continues throughout the time you are shedding. To go bald you shouldn’t have to regrow hair and this doesn’t happen with telogen effluvium. If you have an androgen component to your hair loss, then you should look for miniaturization to ensure that your regrowth is not compromised and that it provides as much coverage as it should. But know that your hair can and will grow back and fall out at the same time.
So to answer the question posed, it’s my opinion and experience that if you have true telogen effluvium (or even the chronic type that clears up relatively quickly) you probably don’t need a wig, although it may feel like it. Of course, some hair loss conditions are initially thought to be this type of hair loss and then they turn out to be something else. But if you have a known trigger and are pretty sure you are dealing with telogen effluvium then it makes sense to wait and try to make the most of what you have while supporting healthy regrowth and know that the molting must eventually stop before a wig is needed.