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Tips For Handling Wet Hair With Telogen Effluvium (TE)
A lot of the emails that I get from folks who are struggling with telogen effluvium ask questions about the best way to deal with shedding hair when it is wet. When we get right out of the shower or are done with washing and conditioning our hair, this is when we would comb or style it if it was healthy and wasn’t shedding. But, when you have TE, combing wet hair might mean that tons of it falls out.
But, if you don’t comb it, it can dry in a very non flattering way. Meaning it can be unmanageable, flyaway, or be lacking in any decent style. I recently heard from someone who said “my hair is pretty long and I’ve had telogen effluvium for about four months. After I very carefully wash my hair, I’m not sure what to do. Because every time I comb or brush my wet hair, I find that so much more falls out. This makes me not want to manipulate or touch my hair. But if I just let it dry, I have unruly strands of hair going everywhere. How can I style my hair when it’s wet if so much more of it falls out every time I touch it? When I wait for it to dry, it’s too unmanageable.” I will try to address these concerns in the following article.
I came up with a regimen that worked pretty well for me when I had CTE (chronic telogen effluvium) and I will share it with you now. When your hair is shedding, it’s very important that you don’t pull or over manipulate it. As you probably already know, just touching your hair will make it more likely to fall out. And, from a psychological standpoint, it’s important to avoid this as much as possible.
In my case, I would gently pat my hair dry as best as I could. I would avoid combing or brushing my hair until it was completely dry (and I would only do this as needed.) I would add leave in spray conditioner to my hair to make it easier to manage. (Be careful that this is a light weight conditioner so that your hair doesn’t look greasy.) I would then sort of very gently run my hands along the shaft of my hair to make it lay down nicely. I would then lay that same hair in a towel and put it on top of my head to dry. The act of putting the hair up in the towel would add volume. And gathering it together first would help to keep it from becoming wild and flyaway. I would leave my hair to dry in the towel for as long as possible. On a good day, I could let me hair completely dry before I took it down. If that wasn’t possible, I would blow dry my hair through the towel and then take it down once it was dry.
Now, once I took my hair out of the towel, it wouldn’t look too bad and the hairs that would’ve fallen would be collected in the towel, saving me the hassle of having to pick the spent hair off of my clothes. Of course, there would be some flyaway hair so I would either smooth them down with my hands, fingers, or if necessary a wide toothed comb. This type of comb is very important because it doesn’t pull nearly as much. When my hair was shedding very badly, I had to avoid curling irons or rollers because it just made more hair fall out. But this towel method allowed me some volume and style. And if I wanted wavy hair, I would gently turn the hair I gathered (sort of like a pony tail) and I would twist it gently prior to putting it in the towel. This would create some loose waves.
The important thing is to not pull on wet hair. This isn’t a good idea when your scalp and hair is healthy and isn’t shedding, but it’s a horrible idea when it is or when you have TE. Seeing your hair shed is bad enough but accidentally pulling more of it out can be nearly unbearable. That’s why it’s important to treat your hair very gently but to manipulate it in a way that it will look nice once it dries so that it won’t require much work to get it to style or look nice.
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