I often hear from people with long term or chronic telogen effluvium who can’t help but notice a troubling change of texture in their hair. Often, they describe their hair and brittle, dry, or flyaway and they want to know what they can do to make it look better. I heard from someone who said: “my hair has been shedding horribly for about seven months. I’m pretty sure that I have chronic telogen effluvium because my hair started shedding after I lost a lot of weight. My hair has become very dry, brittle and fly away. What is causing this texture? And what can I do about it?” I will try to address these questions in the following article.
Why Hair That Is Shedding Can Take On A New And Undesirable Texture: The most common reason that hair takes on an odd, dry or flyaway texture when it is shedding is because it is going into the “resting” or shedding phase of its life cycle. You may already know this, but please bear with me. Hair has different phases throughout its life cycle as follows: the anagen or growth phase; the catagen or transitional phase (where it’s neither growing nor shedding,) and the telogen or resting phase (where it is most definitely shedding.) This is the phase where hair sheds out to make room for new hairs. So hair in the late part of the telogen phase can become drier because it’s not as deeply embedded into the scalp and isn’t being actively nourished. (It doesn’t need to be since it will soon be falling out.)
However, when you have telogen effluvium (or the chronic variety,) you have many more hairs than normal in that resting phase and this means that you will have many more hairs than normal that aren’t getting actively nourished. So your hair’s overall appearance can be brittle or dry even if not every hair on your head meets that description. There are other things that might contribute to this also. Some hair loss treatments will very aggressively dry out your scalp and your hair. Some of these topicals have anti androgen components that are meant to rid your scalp or excess oil and sebum. And while they can do a good job of this, the result can often be that the product is almost over drying to your scalp and to your hair.
What Can You Do About The Fly Away Or Brittle Hair: There are a couple of tricks that I can offer you. If your hair is long, allow it to dry either in a ponytail or twisted in a towel if the ponytail pulls out too much hair. Allowing your hair to dry pulled back will often help it behave much better when it is dry. Also, you can use gel to tame those fly away hairs or even spray on conditioner which is very light weight. Finally, if it you can’t even stand the look of the hair, wear it up or pulled back so that it stays tame. Also, sometimes wearing it wavy or curly will hep to camouflage some of the unruliness or dryness. Finally, I’ve found that putting a little coconut or emu oil on your hands and smoothing it over the fly aways can help quite a bit. You just have to be very careful to use a very small amount or your hair could look oily. Also, try not to get too much oil on your scalp as you don’t want to clog your follicles.