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January 1980

Effluvium vs Defluxion

Author Affiliations

New Orleans

Arch Dermatol. 1980;116(1):21. doi:10.1001/archderm.1980.01640250023010

To the Editor.—  The phrase "telogen effluvium" was introduced to the Archives by a learned and brilliant man1; it has now become part of our vocabulary, being found in such standard textbooks as that of Fitzpatrick et al.2I would like to suggest that "effluvium" is not a felicitous term. According to the Oxford English Dictionary,3(p54) it means, inter alia, "In modern popular use chiefly a noxious or disgusting exhalation of odor," eg, a fart, a word no longer ineluctably unspeakable according to the esteemed New England Journal of Medicine.4It strikes me that it would be better to use "telogen defluxion"; the latter word is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary3(p149) as a "falling off (of hair)." True, it is a rare word, but dermatologists use rare words daily.CREAM 1% ® HC (HYDROCORTISONE ACETATE) Description: Carmol HC contains micronized hydrocortisone acetate, USP. 10

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