Have you been observing unusual hair shedding and thinning lately? There is a chance that you could be experiencing the condition of ‘telogen effluvium’, one of the most common forms of non-scarring hair loss.
"While most people normally lose about 50-100 hair strands in a day as a natural exogen process, telogen effluvium causes about 300 hair strands to fall off in a day," says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
In this article, let’s understand the triggering factors and different Ayurvedic treatments available to control telogen effluvium .
- What Is Telogen Effluvium?
- When Does Telogen Effluvium Start?
- What Does Telogen Effluvium Look Like?
- What Causes Telogen Effluvium?
- How Do You Test For Telogen Effluvium?
- Telogen Effluvium Treatments
- Diet To Control Telogen Effluvium
- Recovery Time Of Telogen Effluvium And Hair Regrowth
- How Do You Know When Telogen Effluvium Is Ending?
What Is Telogen Effluvium?
The growth of each strand on your scalp happens in a cycle of four stages : anagen (growing phase), catagen (regression phase), telogen (resting phase) and exogen (shedding phase).
At any point, about 85%-90% of your hair will be going through anagen. About 10% of hair reaches the telogen phase, which lasts for two to four months before falling out.
Telogen effluvium is the condition in which more hair gets prematurely pushed into the telogen phase due to some changes or shock occurring in your body. In general, about 30% of hair in the anagen phase stops growing and enters the telogen phase before shedding off.
"In Ayurvedic terms, telogen effluvium is correlated to ‘Khalitya’. It is caused when aggravated Pitta dosha combines with imbalanced Vata or Kapha doshas scorching up the hair roots,’’ says Dr. Zeel.
When Does Telogen Effluvium Start?
In general, the hair that prematurely enters the telogen phase undergoes resting for about 2-4 months and then falls out. Hence, you may notice hair fall 2-4 months after the actual triggering point of the problem.
What Does Telogen Effluvium Look Like?
In telogen effluvium, you can notice thinning of hair across the scalp while the bitemporal recession is common in most of the cases. Also, clumps of hair may fall out from the vertex region and margins of your scalp.
- An increased amount of hair shedding
- Hair thinning or low hair density
What Causes Telogen Effluvium?
The following factors can result in abrupt derangement of vital energies: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha in your body, which eventually result in shiroroga.
- Improper diet or extreme changes in diet
- Sudden weight loss
- Uncontrollable stress
- Physical or mental trauma
- Hormonal imbalances associated with menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause
- Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
- Other underlying illnesses in the body
These factors cause an imbalance in the Pitta energy on the scalp, which when combined with vitiated Vata or Kapha, leads to disturbance in your natural hair growth cycle. This, in turn, results in Khalitya or telogen effluvium.
How Do You Test For Telogen Effluvium?
You can identify if you have telogen effluvium by gathering and counting the hair strands that your scalp sheds in a day. If you lose more than 100 strands every day, then you may visit an ayurvedic consultant or doctor for further examination of the condition and identification of the root cause.
You will be tested  for telogen effluvium by the doctors based on your medical and family history, physical examination and hair pull test. In some rare cases, you can also be asked to undergo Trichogram, Wash test, Light microscopy, and Biopsy to determine the intensity of the condition.
Telogen effluvium is considered as the second most common form of hair loss irrespective of age and gender worldwide.
Telogen Effluvium Treatments
1. Ayurvedic Ways To Control Telogen Effluvium
According to ancient Ayurveda, Khalitya is mainly Vata-Pitta doshaja vyadhi, i.e., a disease caused by vitiated Vata and Pitta doshas in the body.
Hence, most of the treatments are aligned to pacify Vata and Pitta doshas.
However, your Prakriti and dosha conditions need to be evaluated to determine the right herbal formulations in the Ayurvedic treatments mentioned below to keep your tridoshas in balance.
A. Nidan Parivarjan
Nidan Parivarjan involves the avoidance of known factors in terms of diet and lifestyle that cause telogen effluvium or Khalitya. Primarily, causative and risk factors of Khalitya are evaluated by examining your scalp, dosha levels, family history and medical history in Nidan Parivarjan.
- You need to ensure that your living conditions prevent the contraction of dust, cold water, fog, smoke, extreme sunlight, etc. to your scalp and hair.
- You need to follow a proper and adequate sleeping schedule. You should avoid staying awake late at night and sleeping during the day time.
- You need to control excess usage of salt and Kshara (alkaline foods) in your diet. As Pitta Prakriti individuals are more susceptible to Khalitya, they need to be more careful in picking up the right dietary and food habits.
- Stay away from heat treatments and harsh chemical products for your hair.
B. Oral Medication And Rasayana Therapy
If telogen effluvium is associated with premature graying (Palitya), the Ayurvedic Rasayana therapy with Vayasthapana drugs is highly recommended. The Vayasthapana drug  is an Ayurvedic compound of 8 powerful herbs: amrutha, dhatri, jivanti, mandukaparni, abhaya, mukta, atirasa, and punarnava. These herbs are well known for balancing your vitiated dosha levels while promoting exceptional hair growth by providing overall nourishment.
Narasimha Rasayanam is also one of the most preferable drugs which aid in rejuvenation while it balances all the three doshas. "According to Charaka Samhita, agastya haritaki, dwipanchmool ghrita, navayas loha, kankarishta, amalaki rasayana, and mandoora bhasma are some of the powerful herbs which can be used for rasayana therapy to keep Khalitya in control," says Dr. Zeel.
You need to consult your Ayurvedic doctor, who recommends you the right and well-balanced rasayana therapy by evaluating your dosha levels and medical history.
C. Ayurvedic Hair Care Routine
1. Murdha Taila (Oiling Scalp)
A regular application of Ayurvedic hair oil, which is best to pacify your aggravated doshas, is highly essential to prevent abnormal hair fall and promote deep-rooted hair growth. Besides providing nourishment, Ayurvedic oils condition your hair by strengthening the cuticle and cortex of your hair fibers.
Apart from Ayurvedic oils made with dosha pacifying herbs, you can also use coconut oil or mustard oil to massage your scalp and hair regularly.
2. Snana (Hair Wash)
Proper hair washes with herbal shampoo or a hair cleanser is recommended at least thrice a week in Ayurveda. You need to ensure that your shampoos and soaps used for hair wash are chemical-free and mild. Also, avoid washing your hair with hot or very cold water. Warm water is ideal for hair wash.
Herbal decoctions made up of henna, jatamansi, triphala, shikakai, reetha, brahmi, motha, kumari, shoe flower, bhringraj, etc. are some of the powerful natural hair cleansers, which you can prefer on a regular basis.
3. Dhumapana (Medicated Smoke)
Medicated dhumapana or herbal smoking is one of the most effective ways of Ayurveda to strengthen your hair roots, while it clears off doshas in your head region. It works very well to balance the vitiated Vata and Kapha doshas.
Ayurvedic dhumapana is performed by inhaling the herbal smoke through each nostril alternatively using a smoke apparatus. Later, the smoke should be exhaled from your mouth.
Herbs like guggulu, musta, usheera, aguru, triphala, yashtimadhu, tagara, nalada, etc. can be used for dhumapana. Due to their sukshma guna, the herbal drugs used in dhumapana enters the smallest channels and work to eliminate the aggravated doshas from their nearer routes.
Your Ayurvedic practitioner will suggest the right herbal formulation and frequency of the dhumapana depending upon the intensity of your hair fall and your dosha levels.
4. Shiro Abhyanga (Head Massage)
Shiro abhyanga involves a systematic massage therapy on your scalp, neck, and shoulders using Ayurvedic medicated oils. Shiro abhyanga aids in increasing blood circulation while it also enhances drug absorption into the scalp tissues.
Neeli bhringaraj taila, saireyaka taila, snuhyadi taila, mulethi+amalaki+milk+taila paka, chandanadhya taila, mahaneela taila, etc. are some of the Ayurvedic formulations that can efficiently control telogen effluvium when administered through Shiro abhyanga.
5. Shirolepa (Hair Mask)
Ayurveda recommends the application of herbal paste over the scalp to treat Khalitya while it helps in controlling stress levels and imparts deep conditioning to your hair.
Some of the most powerful Ayurvedic formulations to be used in Shirolepa:
- Amalaki + honey + coconut oil
- Amalaki + honey + sesame
- Kapikachhu mool + aksha taila in an iron vessel
- Kapalaranjaka lepa
- Ayas churna + triphala
- Bhringpushadi lepa
- Dugdhika karveera+ milk
- Mandoor bhasma + amalaki churna + japapushpa then wash with triphala kwath
The herbal formulations for shirolepa need to be chosen based on your elevated dosha levels and innate Prakriti.
6. Nasya (Nasal Drop)
Application of medicated liquid through nostrils is also one of the most effective therapies of Ayurveda to keep your doshas in balance along with stimulating hair growth.
While Anutaila is one of the most frequently used drugs for Nasya therapy, shadbindu taila is an extraordinary Ayurvedic formulation to control Vata-Pitta diseases. Brihatyadi navana, nimba taila, and sahacharadi navana are few of the exceptional Ayurvedic drugs which you can use for Nasya therapy to combat Khalitya.
7. Kshaurakarma (Hair Cut)
Ayurveda suggests proper maintenance of hair by regular hair trimming. It not only keeps your hair free from split ends, but also reduces the stress on your follicles caused by the excess hair that weighs down.
8. Ushnishka (Hair Protection)
It is highly recommended in Ayurveda to protect your scalp and hair from environmental elements like wind, dust, heat, etc by using a ushnishka (turban or cap).
D. Purification Procedure (Panchkarma)
Based on the aggravated dosha levels, you can also undergo a regular Panchakarma therapy  for excellent detoxification. It involves vaman, virechan, vasti, and rakta moksha procedures, which balances your doshas well while rejuvenating your mind and body.
2. Home Remedies To Manage Telogen Effluvium
A. Massage With Essential Oils
Add a few drops of essential oils like lavender oil, tea tree oil, etc. in a few ml of almond or coconut oil. Apply this across your scalp and massage it for 5-10 minutes in slow and circular motions. Oil massage not only improves the blood circulation to your scalp follicles, but also aids in controlling your stress levels instantly.
B. Egg Mask
Add 2 tsp of olive oil to 2 egg whites. Blend the paste well and apply it all over your scalp. Leave it for about half an hour before rinsing it off using an Ayurvedic shampoo. Apply this hair mask once in a week for exceptional results.
C. Curd Mask
Apply curd to your scalp and massage it for almost 5-10 minutes. Leave it for about 15-20 minutes before washing it off with normal water. Apply this mask twice a week.
D. Fenugreek Mask
Soak fenugreek in water overnight. Grind the soaked fenugreek seeds into a thick and fine paste. Apply this paste from the roots to the tips of your hair. Leave it for about half an hour before washing it off using an Ayurvedic shampoo. Apply this mask once a week for the best results.
3. Homeopathy Treatment For Telogen Effluvium
Some of the most effective treatments for hair loss that are available in homeopathy are
By examining the symptoms, homeopathy doctors prescribe specific types of drugs based on the root cause for your telogen effluvium.
4. Other Medical Treatments
As of now, there have not been any scientifically approved medications to treat telogen effluvium. In case if the hair regrowth does not happen naturally after a few months, doctors may suggest oral intake or external application of minoxidil.
Minoxidil improves blood circulation to your scalp follicles, which in turn enhances the supply of essential nutrients required for healthy and strong hair growth.
Diet To Control Telogen Effluvium
"Your diet plays a key role in bringing back your aggravated doshas to balance,’’ says Dr. Zeel. Your daily diet should include at least 46 gm of protein to keep your hair growth healthy. It is recommended for you to include protein-rich food like eggs, beans and dairy products in your diet.
Deficiency of iron is directly connected to telogen effluvium. You need to consume foods like red meat, liver, spinach, seafood, squash, and other leafy veggies that are rich in zinc and iron regularly.
Also, essential vitamins-A, B, C, D, E, and K play a predominant role in stronger and healthy hair growth. Hence, foods like broccoli, beet, bell peppers, turnip, etc need to be taken in your everyday diet to prevent telogen effluvium.
Ayurveda suggests a well-balanced diet with all the essential nutrients based on your innate Prakriti and current state of doshas to keep your body and mind in healthy condition.
Recovery Time Of Telogen Effluvium And Hair Regrowth
Typically, telogen effluvium lasts for about six months and your hair begins to grow normally while you support your body with a well-balanced diet and lifestyle accompanied by an appropriate treatment that targets the underlying root cause.
In rare cases, it may take longer than six months or not all the hair grows back. In such a scenario, it is highly recommended to consult a doctor as it may be an indication of some serious and internal illnesses in your body.
How Do You Know When Telogen Effluvium Is Ending?
If you notice hair regrowth after 3-6 months of shedding, then it is an indication of the recovery from telogen effluvium. If this regrowth is consistent for more than 3 months without any further abnormal hair fall, then your telogen effluvium has come to end.
Any treatments and drug formulations mentioned in this article are to be administered with the proper guidance of an experienced doctor or an Ayurvedic practitioner.
The Last Word
Although you observe a significant loss of hair during telogen effluvium, it is important to remember that it is absolutely and naturally reversible with the right Ayurvedic treatments. Staying positive and leading a stressless life helps you recover from telogen effluvium rapidly.
At Vedix, by evaluating your dosha levels, we customize a powerful Ayurvedic hair care regimen that targets the root cause of your hair fall.Know Your Dosha Now