What's the difference between Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA) and Telogen effluvium (TE)

AGA vs TE in Women

I've reviewed the differences between AGA and TE before but now is a good time to review features again. Often women have both features. 


 AGA is genetic hair loss and a key feature for women is

1. hair fibers get thinner and thinner over time. 

2. shedding occurs in the early stages just like TE

3. more is lost in the frontal and middle than the back but it can be all over

4. treatments like minxoidil, spironolactone, laser, PRP and sometimes hair transplants help. Without treatment, hair loss is progressive over time. 


TE, or telogen effluvium, refers to shedding of hair, more than the daily average


1. hair fibers are shed from the scalp

2. the fibers stay the same size there is simply less of them

3. shedding occurs all over - the front of the scalp is just as affected as the back

4. often a trigger causes the shedding in the first place - like stress, low iron, medications (especially starting and stopping birth control), crash diets, and a range of illnesses

5. Treatments are geared to fixing the original trigger. If iron is low, the iron must be fixed. if thyroid problems are identified this must be addressed. A TE often stops once the trigger is properly and completely addressed but it may take 6-9 months. 


Often women have both TE and AGA.


Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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