How Can You Tell If Hair is Growing Back Properly After Telogen Effluvium (TE)?

I often write about women’s hair loss and I tell my readers that recovery from telogen effluvium (TE, other wise known as shedding) is all about the regrowth.  Because, even if you are shedding buckets of hair, if you can grow it all back with healthy hair, then the volume and appearance of your hair is not going to take as big of a hit as if you were unable to regrow the hair or were only able to grow back sickly, baby fine hairs.

In response, people will often ask me things like “how can I tell if my hair is growing back in after TE?” or “how can I tell if I’m regrowing healthy hair after shedding?”  I’ll answer these questions in the following article.

Seeing The Short, Stubby Regrowth That Will Greatly Improve The Appearance Of Your Hair:  My hair dresser used to assure me that a few months following my hair shedding, I would start to see little hairs begin to come in at my part.  I pictured that this was going to look like a man’s crew cut blended in with my regular hair. (This wasn’t the case.)  I began to hunt for these little guys every night. I couldn’t see any at first and started to get very discouraged.  You need to know that regrowth is very short following TE and since hair regrows about 1/2 inch per month, it’s going to be awhile before you can easily see them.

But, here’s a few tricks to help.  The first is that you can comb your hair against the grain (carefully of course if you are still shedding.) Or if you don’t want to comb, just lean your hair / head over in the opposite direction and then hold it there.  Now, look at the part line and take note of any little hairs popping out.

My favorite way to pan for regrowth is to use dry shampoo.  Most dry shampoos are basically baby power in spray form.  So, before you are going to bed (you don’t want to do this before you’re going to work or are going out), spray a generous amount of dry shampoo at your part line.  It will go in white, but the contrast between the white hairs at the part will make the regrowth much easier to see.  And, by the time you wake up, the white stuff will be gone from your hair (and it will be cleaner) so you don’t have to worry about brushing it out.  This method also spares you from having to manipulate your hair so much that more falls out.

How Can I Tell If My Regrowth Is Healthy? What If It’s Thin And Doesn’t Look Like Regular Hair?: Often, I will ask my readers to not only search for regrowth, but to also evaluate the health of that hair.  Many will respond with: “Huh? How do I do that?”  I’ll tell you.  In order to really evaluate the hair, you’re going to need to tweeze a new, short, regrowing hair out.  I know, you hate to do this.  But, it is necessary.

The hair that you pluck out should be regular diameter and the root should be dark colored (not the white root that goes along with TE).  The dark root indicates that the hair was embedded in your scalp and was being nourished properly.  Compare the diameter of your short hair to a shed, longer hair.  (In my case there were a lot of these spend hairs lying around.) Although sometimes regrowth will start out being a little thinner, it should be comparable to the longer hair.

Sometimes, people will describe their regrowth as thin, sickly, cob web like or having the texture of cotton candy.  Keep an eye on your hair if this is so. Because, if this continues, you may well be dealing with miniaturization which is often the result of androgens, DHT, or clogged follicles. If this is the case, the way to regrow healthy hair again is to eliminate this clogging and these androgens.