telogen effluvium and hair loss

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6/26/13 EDIT:

I went to the dermatologist finally and he studied my scalp. He said that most likely the thinning was caused by a stressful event from a project I underwent 3 months prior to the start of the thinning. This can happen and is called telogen effluvium. For whatever reason the cowashing may have been exacerbating the shedding, which decreased radically after I stopped cowashing. I'm really relieved because I now know the cause of my thinning!

Bottom line is if you think your hair is shedding excessively or thinning, you should get yourself to the derm ASAP. If you think you're getting a negative reaction from anything you're doing or using, stop right away and consult your derm and/or your family doctor.



I searched and seen a lot of threads on this, and here I am to add my story as well.

I've been "accidentally CG" for at least 3 years now, as in I have been using low-poos and products w/out silicones, not brushing while dry, without knowing what CG was. I used to use Burt's Bees More Moisture Raspberry Shampoo and Condish, which did fine for my hair. They've discontinued this product, and then I got a bad haircut that gave me really really bad frizz around the same time, so I was searching for new products and a way to get my hair back in shape and came across the CG method.

I've been "intentionally CG" for 4 months now. I stopped using low-poos and started co-washing then. 4 months later I can actually feel a difference in the density of my hair. I've my studying my head all week... I wanted to make sure it wasn't just my imagination. Sadly it's not. My ponytail is smaller, and I can feel a difference when I run my hands through my hair. I'm also seeing more of my scalp when I put up my hair or part it in various places.

I'm really sad about this because cowashing was doing great things to my hair; it was soft, smooth and supple. But I guess it's not doing great things to my hair because it's thinning. I did notice while cowashing that huge gobs of my hair were coming out in the shower, but I've always been a shedder so I guess I didn't really get alarmed. I know we shed like 150 hairs a day... and I thought I was seeing less on the floor so I figured it would make sense to see more in the shower. But it is different now... it's not the regular shedding because my regular shedding has never made a difference in the overall density of my hair, which this has.

I'm thinking maybe it has to do with the manual friction of cowashing... like i'm literally ripping out more hairs in the cowashing process, and they're obviously not growing back as fast as I'm ripping them out. This issue is definitely not breakage... the hairs are coming out from the root not breaking mid-strand.

I have to add that I never had any scalp problems from co-washing. No itching, no buildup, no weird smells nothing. My scalp always felt clean and my hair felt great.... so I was completely on the CG wagon! Until this.

I don't know exactly what's going on but needless to say I've gone back to low-pooing. I just really hope I haven't done any permanent damage to my hair follicles or anything, and the hair will grow back normally.

I just wanted to share my story. I know cowashing works great w/ no bad side effects for many curlies, but I would feel I was doing a disservice if I didn't post my experience.

Last edited by PomegranateCurl; 04-01-2014 at 07:18 AM.
I was CG for about 6 weeks and noticed my hair thinning. I had to stop because I've always had thick hair and couldn't imagine how pitiful my hair would look if I continued
Wow I've never tried, but this sounds horrible! I have 4c type hair with high porosity (my hair floats). Currently I've been silicone/sulfate free for 10 months and I've noticed my hair softer yes and a little "fragile". I have been using protein treatments on a 6 week routine. So far so good..

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this is scary, have you talked with your doctor to confirm it is in fact scalp massages that are causing your hair loss?
I was CG for about 6 weeks and noticed my hair thinning. I had to stop because I've always had thick hair and couldn't imagine how pitiful my hair would look if I continued
Originally Posted by CurlyCutie1394
I'm sorry to hear it was happening to you as well. It's really disturbing to feel like your hair is leaving you. Has your hair grown back normally since then?
this is scary, have you talked with your doctor to confirm it is in fact scalp massages that are causing your hair loss?
Originally Posted by CrazyCatLady
I don't know whether or not it is the scalp massages that are causing the hair loss... it's just a hypothesis. It coud be due to, I don't know, overmoisturizing the scalp or maybe a specific ingredient in my co-wash that my scalp doesn't agree with.

I do have a medical check up coming up in about a month where I'll be getting regular bloodwork done which will help rule out any other possibilities. However I doubt my cowashing and my hair thinning is just a coincidence or that my cowashing and happened to coincide with something else which is thinning my hair. I haven't been doing anything different in terms of diet exercise, the way I sleep, stress, etc. Also, other people have posted on the boards with this exact problem so there's a thread here. (pardon the pun)

The average doctor would probably be perplexed as to why I would even be washing my head with conditioner. I don't believe the CG method is circulating medical journals nor is it high on doctors' priority lists. So if I've been doing something different, and it has negative effects, a doctor would probably just tell me to stop doing that thing and see if the problem persists, which is what I'm doing now anyway. Gone back to low poos and hoping to see some baby hairs soon.

Again I've been using low-poos for years now and had zero problems with them. This is a specifically conditioner-washing problem.
Wow I've never tried, but this sounds horrible! I have 4c type hair with high porosity (my hair floats). Currently I've been silicone/sulfate free for 10 months and I've noticed my hair softer yes and a little "fragile". I have been using protein treatments on a 6 week routine. So far so good..

Sent from my SGH-T989 using CurlTalk App
Originally Posted by 7OH4_QC
If you're low-pooing regularly you should be in the clear. If your hair feel softer and more "fragile" it could be due to overconditioning... which protein treatments should be helping.

But hey, at the end of the day, do what's best for your hair.
I really doubt it's the cowashing. I would guess it is due to hormonal changes or simply getting older. My hair started thinning in my late 20's, early 30's. and I wasn't CG. your hair and skin changes throughout your life.
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Cleanse: CJ Daily Fix, JC Cleansing Cream, TJ Tea Tree Condish
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I know I've seen some threads about this and I don't have a theory about why. But I second the others as far as doing what works for your hair. I've said it on other threads, but I don't think it's something that can be overemphasized. While we've all seen some of the amazing CG transformations that people share here, I know plenty if people with amazing curls who are not CG at all. I really believe that as long as you are consciously gentle with your hair and aware of keeping your hair properly moisturized, whether you're CG or not doesn't matter. I suspect that's why I've found that I can use some silicone products and get better results now than I got three years ago when my hair was dry. I use a gentle sulfate shampoo that's loaded with protein and pH balanced to be gentle, and alternate between that, a couple of low-poos and cleansing conditioners (most of which have coco betaine in case I use cones) and one extremely light straight conditioner for cowashing. Despite not being strict CG, my stylist was raving about how healthy my hair was when I went for my last cut.
It's your hair- do what works for you.

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I really doubt it's the cowashing. I would guess it is due to hormonal changes or simply getting older. My hair started thinning in my late 20's, early 30's. and I wasn't CG. your hair and skin changes throughout your life.
Originally Posted by chloe92us
Thanks for your input but I really think it's the cowashing. The difference in the density of my hair is drastic and has taken place over the last 4 months, exactly the time I've been cowashing.
I've noticed a lot more hair coming out in the shower since CG - but as my hair doesn't look or feel any different I'm carrying on... My theory is perhaps its coming out in the shower and not during the day... Hmmm....
I was CG for about 6 weeks and noticed my hair thinning. I had to stop because I've always had thick hair and couldn't imagine how pitiful my hair would look if I continued
Originally Posted by CurlyCutie1394
I'm sorry to hear it was happening to you as well. It's really disturbing to feel like your hair is leaving you. Has your hair grown back normally since then?
Originally Posted by PomegranateCurl
Yea it grew back but I know Cowashing is not for me
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 939
Wait...you're rubbing your scalp more aggressively when you co wash? I massage my scalp when Iow poo, it's essential for all cleansing, but you don't need to me more intense for cowashing? It's not good for your hair as far as raising the cuticle either.
This is a picture for reference. Ugh it looks so bad.

My hair has NEVER looked like this. My hair was always on the thick side... or at the very least medium density and this looks like I'm balding.

I'm just really hoping and praying that it will grow back. If it doesn't I don't know what I'll do. I'm trying to keep positive but I'm scared.
Attached Thumbnails
telogen effluvium and hair loss-photo-6-.jpg  
I was CG for about 6 weeks and noticed my hair thinning. I had to stop because I've always had thick hair and couldn't imagine how pitiful my hair would look if I continued
Originally Posted by CurlyCutie1394
I'm sorry to hear it was happening to you as well. It's really disturbing to feel like your hair is leaving you. Has your hair grown back normally since then?
Originally Posted by PomegranateCurl
Yea it grew back but I know Cowashing is not for me
Originally Posted by CurlyCutie1394
That's good to know. That it grew back. I'd be fine with this experiment as long as I can have my tresses back.
Wait...you're rubbing your scalp more aggressively when you co wash? I massage my scalp when Iow poo, it's essential for all cleansing, but you don't need to me more intense for cowashing? It's not good for your hair as far as raising the cuticle either.
Originally Posted by Jessiebanana
Yes I've been massaging my scalp really well. I thought it was essential for cowashing, as opposed to poo-ing where you didn't have to massage as much because the suds were helping to remove dirt.
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 939
Wait...you're rubbing your scalp more aggressively when you co wash? I massage my scalp when Iow poo, it's essential for all cleansing, but you don't need to me more intense for cowashing? It's not good for your hair as far as raising the cuticle either.
Originally Posted by Jessiebanana
Yes I've been massaging my scalp really well. I thought it was essential for cowashing, as opposed to poo-ing where you didn't have to massage as much because the suds were helping to remove dirt.
Originally Posted by PomegranateCurl
There is an article somewhere on this site that lists that as a myth. The suds distribute, but plenty of people have build up on their scalp from not massaging product and oil off. You don't have be rough though. You should always be gentle with your scalp and hair.
Wait...you're rubbing your scalp more aggressively when you co wash? I massage my scalp when Iow poo, it's essential for all cleansing, but you don't need to me more intense for cowashing? It's not good for your hair as far as raising the cuticle either.
Originally Posted by Jessiebanana
Yes I've been massaging my scalp really well. I thought it was essential for cowashing, as opposed to poo-ing where you didn't have to massage as much because the suds were helping to remove dirt.
Originally Posted by PomegranateCurl
There is an article somewhere on this site that lists that as a myth. The suds distribute, but plenty of people have build up on their scalp from not massaging product and oil off. You don't have be rough though. You should always be gentle with your scalp and hair.
Originally Posted by Jessiebanana
I understand. Low-pooing, in whatever way I was going about it, never gave me any trouble though (other than dry hair which is why I started cowashing. But now that I know about leave-in conditioners and deep treatments etc. I don't really need to cowash for the moisture anymore.)

I understand about being gentle though but I always thought it was emphasized that you have to massage your scalp well while cowashing. The thing is, when hair is wet it is easy to pull out... that's why it's easier and less painful to tweeze your eyebrows soon after a shower than when completely dry.
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 939

Yes I've been massaging my scalp really well. I thought it was essential for cowashing, as opposed to poo-ing where you didn't have to massage as much because the suds were helping to remove dirt.
Originally Posted by PomegranateCurl
There is an article somewhere on this site that lists that as a myth. The suds distribute, but plenty of people have build up on their scalp from not massaging product and oil off. You don't have be rough though. You should always be gentle with your scalp and hair.
Originally Posted by Jessiebanana
I understand. Low-pooing, in whatever way I was going about it, never gave me any trouble though (other than dry hair which is why I started cowashing. But now that I know about leave-in conditioners and deep treatments etc. I don't really need to cowash for the moisture anymore.)

I understand about being gentle though but I always thought it was emphasized that you have to massage your scalp well while cowashing. The thing is, when hair is wet it is easy to pull out... that's why it's easier and less painful to tweeze your eyebrows soon after a shower than when completely dry.
Originally Posted by PomegranateCurl
I realize that, but even when I tried cowashing, (which wasn't for me, so I'm not trying to convince you to go back), I still didn't rub any harder and I didn't have scalp problems. Taking your time and being thorough is different than being more intense. I have dry thin skin so too much exfoliating can actually rub skin off for me, which is a lot less superficial than just losing some hair. I am careful with all the skin on my body, except for the bottom of my feet .

There is an article somewhere on this site that lists that as a myth. The suds distribute, but plenty of people have build up on their scalp from not massaging product and oil off. You don't have be rough though. You should always be gentle with your scalp and hair.
Originally Posted by Jessiebanana
I understand. Low-pooing, in whatever way I was going about it, never gave me any trouble though (other than dry hair which is why I started cowashing. But now that I know about leave-in conditioners and deep treatments etc. I don't really need to cowash for the moisture anymore.)

I understand about being gentle though but I always thought it was emphasized that you have to massage your scalp well while cowashing. The thing is, when hair is wet it is easy to pull out... that's why it's easier and less painful to tweeze your eyebrows soon after a shower than when completely dry.
Originally Posted by PomegranateCurl
I realize that, but even when I tried cowashing, (which wasn't for me, so I'm not trying to convince you to go back), I still didn't rub any harder and I didn't have scalp problems. Taking your time and being thorough is different than being more intense. I have dry thin skin so too much exfoliating can actually rub skin off for me, which is a lot less superficial than just losing some hair. I am careful with all the skin on my body, except for the bottom of my feet .
Originally Posted by Jessiebanana
That makes sense. Maybe you're on to something. In any case I'm too scared to go back to cowashing now.

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