Telogen Effluvium & Hormonal Hair Loss/Thinning Update: What Has Worked

Hi all! I have recently received a few emails and Instagram messages about my previous TE post. Since I have had so many questions asking for an update, I figured it was time to do a post about how my hair is now, what is working and what isn't, and my tips for those out there that are going through something similar.

I originally posted about TE in October of 2016 (see post here). At that point, I had been dealing with the thinning of my hair for about 8 months-and here we are now. Generally speaking, my hair has sort of had some regrowth. Not a lot, but I am happier with how it looks now that what I had going on at the time of the post. First, I will show the pictures from recently (aka today). Mind you, I could have brought out my nice camera to take these, but honestly, it's such a drag pointing out the thinning hair so I would rather just keep it simple and use my iPhone-sooo professional right?!

 I figured this would be an easy way to show you that most of my thinning is still consistently on my right side (the left side in the picture). I split my hair perfectly down the middle. You can tell how much more hair I have on the left pigtail by looking at the volume in the elastic. No idea why, but that is just how it was, and still is. I know it is not from sleeping on one side, because I switch it up all the time, and sometimes sleep on my back.

 This is a side by side of the diffuse thinning. Again, the picture on the left is actually my right side, and vice versa. The thinning also seems to have spread toward the back of my head on my right side. You can't see it in the picture, but it has!

Another shot of the diffuse thinning. Left picture is right side of the head, and vice versa.

Now that you have an idea of the state that my hair is in now, I'll show pictures from the original post compared to now. If you think the quality of the above pictures are bad, just wait until I share the old ones. Next time, I will bite the bullet and use a nice quality camera.

The picture to the left is my right side last year-the picture to the right is my right side this year. You can see that I have had some regrowth since the last post.

Both of these pictures are my left side-again, the picture to the left is from the previous post. You can see some improvement with regrowth, but nothing too impressive.

The left picture is from my previous post, while the picture on the right is today. As you can see, there was and still some diffuse thinning to my part line.

So-how did I get to where I am? Well, if you remember from my previous post, the cause for the hair loss and thinning was sort of unknown. The dermatologist said it was likely telogen effluvium, which in short, is when your hair goes into a resting phase in the growth cycle due to stress, an illness, a trauma, or just a general "shock" to your body if you will. In this resting phase, the hair will eventually fall out and not grow back, because it is resting. When the stressor goes away, or when your body deems itself ready, then it goes back to the growth phase.

At the time, I thought TE was a logical explanation-I still do. However, I do think that some of the hair loss was due to hormones. I only recently (in the past 6 months) found out that a hormone called Sex Hormone Binding Globulin was extremely (and I mean extremely) elevated. This hormone binds to androgen and estrogen. Even though I am in the health field, I am still pretty confused as to how this hormone works and influences the body-but it is involved in SO many other hormones. The treatment for me was to change my birth control to one that was progesterone only based. Since changing my birth control, the hormone level has dropped dramatically.

I think that this change (along with time), combined with supplements and topical treatments, has contributed to some new hair growth. For the sake of not rattling on and on, I am going to list and link the products that I believe have been helpful in regrowth and worth buying.

Shampoo: Lipogaine Big 3-a natural shampoo with caffeine, biotin and oils. I have noticed far less hair loss when using this. On Amazon you can purchase it for $25.

Topical: Rogaine Foam For Women. You apply this once daily to your scalp. To me, it is a pain to apply and I feel like it makes my oily scalp even oiler, faster. However, it does absorb well and I can say that it absolutely works! I buy mine on Amazon-$25.20 for a two month supply.

Supplements: Biotin, Zinc, and Selenium. I buy all mine from Vitacost-I have purchased many different brands, so I don't feel the need to link a certain one in particular. Selenium works as an antioxidant and enhances your immune system, which can help with functions if the body, such as hair growth (ding ding!). Zinc does the same thing, as well as strengthening hair follicles and preventing hair loss.

Aside from the above things, I try to keep my scalp healthy, shampoo less frequently (and use dry shampoo when needed), minimize the amount of products I use on my hair, use heat products sparingly, dye my hair less frequently, rarely brush/comb my hair when wet (it's more susceptible to damage when wet), and to decrease the amount of tension I put on my hair (tight ponytails/braids/buns). I have been keeping my hair short recently, which make it feel a little more voluminous. I also sleep on a silk pillowcase and eat a balanced diet (most of the time!)

I feel that overall, my hair is at a better place than it was 1.5 years ago. I hope that eventually it all grows back, but I can only be optimistic. If you are experiencing something similar, feel free to email me, comment, or message me on Instagram to talk if you want to chat. Hang in there! It can be sad, confusing, and frustrating to lose hair and not know exactly WHY. I hope you can use some of my insight to help your situation!

Thanks for reading!
XO, Kelsey

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