Anagen effluvium

Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2013 Sep-Oct;79(5):604-12. doi: 10.4103/0378-6323.116728.


Disturbances of hair follicle cycling lie at the heart of most hair growth disorders, and have dramatic effects on visible hair growth and shedding. The two common disorders due to aberration in hair follicle cycling are telogen and anagen effluvium. Though a lot of literature addresses the problem of telogen effluvium, there are not many reviews on anagen effluvium or anagen hair loss. Anagen effluvium is considered synonymous with chemotherapy-induced alopecia and other causes are rarely considered. In this review, we try to discuss the etiopathogenesis, clinical presentation, differentials, and management issues in anagen effluvium. Anagen effluvium is the abrupt loss of hairs that are in their growing phase (anagen) due to an event that impairs the mitotic or metabolic activity of hair follicle. Chemotherapy, radiation and toxic chemicals, and sometimes inflammatory diseases like alopecia areata and pemphigus are also capable of diminishing the metabolic activity of hair follicles resulting in anagen hair loss. Although it is reversible, and hair regrowth occurs after a delay of 1-3 months; sometimes it can lead to permanent alopecia and can be psychologically devastating with negative impact on individual perceptions of appearance, body image, sexuality, and self-esteem. For some patients, the emotional trauma may be so severe that it may lead to discontinuing or refusing therapy that might otherwise be beneficial. In such cases, a psychosomatic approach as well as empathic consideration of the patients concerns and fears as well as the provision of practical medical-aesthetic and styling tips are equally important and can be integrated in management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alopecia Areata / chemically induced
  • Alopecia Areata / diagnosis*
  • Alopecia Areata / etiology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Loose Anagen Hair Syndrome / chemically induced
  • Loose Anagen Hair Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Loose Anagen Hair Syndrome / etiology*
  • Pemphigus / complications
  • Pemphigus / pathology
  • Scalp / pathology