There two key causes of temporary hair loss where the shedding affects the whole scalp: Telogen Effluvium, which lasts up to six months, and Diffuse Thinning, which lasts at least six months. The latter is also known as Chronic Telogen Effluvium or Diffuse Alopecia.
These both cause intense amounts of thinning hair, with up to 30 per cent of scalp hair being affected. Whilst their onset may appear sudden, generally the shedding only becomes noticeable around three months after being triggered.
These conditions tend to present more commonly in women, but can also affect men, and are the result of the hair growth cycle being disrupted. This is often sparked by some kind of emotional stress or physical strain placed on the body. This can range from there being underlying medical issues and stress to nutritional deficiencies from dietary imbalances or malabsorption.
Whilst the vast majority of hair loss conditions in men and women are physically pain-free, there is a phenomenon which can cause a painful burning feeling in the scalp in cases of these two temporary issues. This is known as trichodynia, though can also be referred to as scalp dysesthesia or cutaneous dysesthesia syndrome.
Trichodynia is where there is pain in the scalp or hair – discomfort, burning or stinging sensations – without any additional cutaneous disease (skin condition) being present. Whilst issues including cicatricial alopecia, lupus, lichen planopilaris, folliculitis decalvans and hair dye-related dermatitis can all cause a painful or burning scalp, these have additional markers not found in cases of trichodynia. There are also thought to be psychological elements to the condition.
In a peer-reviewed article by Müge Güler Özden, part of the Medical Faculty at Ondokuz Mayıs University’s Department of Dermatology in Samsun, Turkey, it is stated that diffuse alopecia or telogen effluvium and trichodynia are probably related.
‘The underlying mechanisms creating the pain are not clear, though it has been proposed that it is probably multi-etiological. The most accepted hypotheses are increased expression of the neuropeptide substance P, underlying psychiatric disorders, nutritional deficiencies, and perifollicular inflammation,’ writes Özden.
It can be a stressful condition for people to deal with but there are a number of treatment options available, which the article advises include ‘L-Cystine-containing oral preparations, topical corticosteroids (both high potency and low), and anti-inflammatory drugs ‘. There are also some reports of cannabinoids or CBD oil being beneficial in reducing this type of scalp pain.
Treating temporary hair loss and trichodynia
The first stage in treating any hairloss condition is to get a professional diagnosis to establish exactly what the problem is in order to decide on appropriate treatments. At Belgravia many scalp conditions can often be treated alongside hair loss, with either clinical therapy sessions, specially-designed take-home hair care products or a combination of both. However, as there may be a psychological element involved in cases of trychodynia, this cannot be treated here and clients with this scalp issue are generally advised to speak to their GP.
Hair loss from both the regular and chronic forms of Telogen Effluvium should clear up naturally on their own within 6 to 12 months once the underlying cause has been identified and dealt with. Telogen Effluvium treatment or treatment for Chronic Telogen Effluvium are options worth exploring for those interested in accelerating hair growth and suitable products can be recommended by a hair loss specialist following a consultation.
It is worth noting that these temporary conditions can also spark the permanent hair loss conditions Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss in those with the relevant genetic predisposition. So, where there is persistent shedding, it is always advisable to seek professional advice in order to determine the most appropriate solution as there are clinically-proven treatments for these problems which can be recommended following assessment.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.