I sometimes hear from people who notice that their shedding from telogen effluvium improves after they get a hair cut. Often, they are quite encouraged by this and they wonder if more cutting would help the situation even more. I heard from a woman who said: “I have been shedding for four and a half months. I had put off getting my hair trimmed because any time I even touch my hair, it sheds. So I didn’t want to be embarrassed by tons of hair coming out in the stylist’s hands. However, my hair got so shaggy that I just could not put it off anymore. Unbelievably, when I cut my hair, I had almost zero shedding for the next three days and this was only for a trim. So I’m wondering what would happen if I got a real cut and took off quite a bit of length. Would this type of drastic hair cut stop my telogen effluvium?”
I can only tell you my opinion about this, which I’ve seen proven correct many times. It’s very common for your hair loss to get better after you color and cut your hair. Why? Because when we are shedding so badly, we develop the habit of handling our hair extremely carefully. We learn to wash it especially gently and we take special care when we brush or groom it. However, our stylist doesn’t take this type of care. So, it’s probable that a lot of hair comes out when she is cutting and styling it. (And we usually do not see this because we don’t have eyes in the backs of our heads.)
Because of all of the hair fall at our appointment, we have a reprieve in the days following this. Sometimes, this lasts for a week or so. But typically, no matter how short we cut our hair, the shedding resumes (unless the telogen effluvium resolves internally, which is possible.) The reason for this is that, other than cutting your hair, you haven’t made any changes that would affect your shedding. And cutting your hair only affects it externally. Telogen effluvium typically only stops when it has finished its cycle. What this means is that once you start to shed, your hair cycle goes from growing to shedding. And likewise, the shedding stops once your cycle switches back to growing again. This happens internally. And nothing that you do externally affects this process. Cutting your hair can certainly help your hair’s appearance and as I said it can give you a break from the shedding. But, unless you just coincidentally get your hair cut on the day that your shedding resolved itself and went back into the growing phrase, you aren’t likely to see it stop just because you got a hair cut.
With all of this said, the woman in the above scenario had been shedding for four and a half months. Telogen effluvium is said to resolve itself after three months. So, it was possible that she had another type of hair loss happening. So while cutting her hair could provide her with some relief, it wasn’t likely to stop the shedding until either her hair resumed its normal cycles or until she identified the reason that she was really losing hair. But there’s nothing wrong with cutting your hair if you think that it will look better. Frankly, shorter hair can be easier to deal with when you are shedding because it takes up less room on your clothing and furniture.