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Chronic Telogen Effluvium

Chronic Telogen Effluvium

Chronic telogen effluvium or "CTE" is one of the simplest yet most complex conditions. 
Patients with CTE are usually 35-70 years old with sudden onset of hair shedding. 300, 400 or 500 hairs are lost on some days yet 40, 50 or 60 are lost on other days. A trigger most often can't be identified. Blood tests are normal. Hair density looks high to a casual observer. Individuals with CTE often had incredibly high density - so high at one time that most patients joke that they were initially glad when the shedding first happened because their hair was just much too thick. Many affected patients recall a time long ago when their hairdresser would sigh at every appointment because they knew the appointment would take soo long in account of all the hair volume and density the patient once had.

This is CTE.

CTE is not shedding that happens with low iron. CTE is not shedding after crash diets or massive stress. This is a completely different (although similarly sounding condition) called acute telogen effluvium). Great confusion exists between CTE and acute TE. 


The exact cause of CTE is not known which makes treatment challenging. Options such as vitamins, biotin, hair and nail supplements, laser, PRP, anti-androgens can be tried.

The hair science world has devoted little attention to this condition and more research is needed. More research is also needed to create drugs that block a hair follicle's ability to leave anagen (the growth phase). Although this might not solve the underlying reason for this condition, such drugs would be useful for an array of conditions including CTE, acute TE, AGA, and alopecia areata.


Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299



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