What Is Anagen Effluvium?

Anagen effluvium is a hair loss condition that is common among those treated for cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. In the comparison of anagen effluvium vs telogen effluvium, the onset of anagen effluvium happens more quickly and can cause you to lose all your hair. 

What Causes Anagen Effluvium?

One of the most common causes of anagen effluvium are the drugs used to treat chemotherapy. Severe hair loss is known from users taking doxorubicin, nitrosoureas, cyclophosphamide, bleomycin, dactinomycin, daunorubicin, systemic fluorouracil, and high doses of methotrexate.


Ingesting toxic substances like arsenic, thallium, gold, or bismuth can also cause anagen effluvium. Also, people with scalp infections or autoimmune diseases are susceptible.

What Does Anagen Effluvium Look Like?

Compared to telogen effluvium, anagen effluvium tends to cause more dramatic hair loss and much more quickly. Anagen effluvium may leave the scalp completely or partially bald and can result in up to 90% hair loss in a rapid period (over a couple of days or a few weeks).


Hair may fall out in clumps, or you may notice the excess on your pillow when you wake up in the morning – or on your brush or collecting at the bottom of your shower drain. There’s not typically any redness or scarring, but the scalp may feel sore and tender.


In addition to the scalp, people afflicted with anagen effluvium may also experience hair loss across their entire bodies. The ends of the hairs themselves will appear tapered, narrowed, broken off, or somehow irregular.

Does Hair Grow Back After Anagen Effluvium?

In many cases the hair lost due to anagen effluvium is not permanent. Once the underlying causes are addressed or removed, the hair follicles should slowly begin resuming their normal growth patterns. The process will take time and – at first – the new hair may seem to have a different quality from the original hair.


Hair after anagen effluvium from chemotherapy may be thinner or have a different texture… but this typically improves with time. Cancer patients can typically expect to see hair begin to regrow 3 to 6 months after their final treatments. Again, the hair that grows may be different in texture or color – it might even be gray – until the cells that control the pigment in the hair begin to work again.

Is Anagen Effluvium Permanent?

In most cases anagen effluvium is not permanent. Once the cause is removed (or treatment concluded), the hair should begin to regrow in a manner of months.


Of course, if the toxic substance or medications persist then so will the hair loss. The most important thing a person can do is consult with a healthcare professional to obtain a proper diagnosis and understanding of proper treatment.

Talk to Our Hair Restoration Experts

The experts at HairMD have performed more than5,000 hair transplants… including ARTAS® robotic-assisted procedures that deliver natural-looking results with minimal downtown. We also offer nonsurgical treatments to preserve and enhance your existing hair. Contact us today to set up a consultation. Let’s get to the root of your hair loss and create a plan to achieve the hairline you desire.

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