As temperatures start to get cooler for many of us, it is an ideal time to discuss “seasonal hair loss.”
Is it real or a myth?
Many men and women begin to notice additional hair loss at the start of autumn, particularly in October, leading many to believe that hair loss may be seasonal.
Around this time of year, many men and women – though particularly women – become aware of more hair being lost during shampooing or brushing.
Swedish researchers have confirmed that some hair loss is indeed seasonal.
Humans tend to shed between 50 and 150 hairs every day, as a normal and direct result of the hair growth phases.
A typical strand of hair has a life cycle of between 24 and 72 months (2 and 6 years) during which time it will grow normally. However around 10% of a person’s hair may be in a “resting” phase (known as telogen), at which point the hair can fall out.
Research suggests that women experience slightly higher rates of telogen during the summer month of July, which sees the affected hairs falling out around 100 days later, in Autumn, around mid-October or November.
Exactly why this happens is unclear, but some suggest that stress brought on by summer heat may provide some explanation.
Swedish scientists examining this phenomenon suggest that women grow more hair during summer months to protect their scalps from hot sun and ultraviolet radiation. Come autumn, however, this additional growth is no longer required and is therefore shed.
Is my hair loss seasonal?
Hair loss in October and November may be a purely seasonal phenomenon for many women, the results of which are barely visible. However, some women may have found themselves losing much more every day than the 50 to 150 generally expected.
It is only through close observation that you can know for sure. A good indication of whether you are experiencing excessive hair fall is to look at your parting – often, thinning hair will cause the parting to look wider. If your hair is long enough to form a ponytail, you may also find that this feels thinner than normal due to a drop in hair density.
Although some hair loss is perfectly normal, so too is regrowth. Occasionally people may lose significant amounts of hair on a daily basis, but speedy regrowth means that the loss is not noticeable.
If you notice slow regrowth, or hair falling out in a specific pattern, such as at the temples or the crown, this could be an indicator of a more permanent underlying hair loss condition.
For these reasons, as soon as you start to notice excessive hair loss, shedding or thinning, we strongly recommend consulting with a physician to determine the root cause. As genetic hair loss is progressive, the sooner you act, the better your chances to prevent and reverse it.
If it is determined that excess hair loss is nothing more than "seasonal shedding", we recommend the following tips to reduce it:
- Wear a hat: Cover your hair to shield it from snow, wind and rain. These elements dry your hair out and make it more prone to breakage.
- Buy a humidifier: A surprising way to fight dry hair in the winter? Use a humidifier. Indoor heating causes the air in your home to become very dry, pulling moisture out of your hair. Humidifiers help rehydrate the air and your hair to keep your locks looking lustrous.
- Get regular trims: Phipps also suggests getting regular hair trims every four to eight weeks to maintain hair health and keep your locks looking fresh. Take a half inch off the bottom to reduce the chances of developing dry, split ends.
- Lower the water temperature when you shower: Even though a steamy shower might be just what you’re after when the temperature is below freezing, hot water can zap moisture from your hair making it brittle and more vulnerable to breaking. Use warm water to lather up your shampoo and cool water to rinse.
- Let hair air dry: Allowing your hair to air dry is best. Blow drying draws moisture out of your hair increasing the chance of breakage. If you don't have enough time in the morning, consider taking a shower at night and let your hair dry while you sleep.
- Don’t leave the house with wet hair: Wet hair is more vulnerable to damage than dry hair. Walking outside in winter with a wet head can cause hair to freeze and break. While air drying is best, it’s better to blow dry your hair than go outdoors with saturated hair and scalp.
- Deep condition once a week: Moisturizing is the name of the game for winter hair care. Use a conditioner, such as the Hair Restore Conditioner, to replenish moisture and combat the effects of hot styling tools, indoor heating, and cold winter winds.
- Use shampoos and other products to promote hair growth: Unfortunately, almost all shampoos marketed for hair loss and thinning simply do not work. In order for a treatment to help prevent, halt and reverse hair loss and thinning, you must get to the root of the problem. To reverse hair loss and thinning, you need to use products that contain ingredients clinically-proven to promote the anagen (hair growth) stage of the hair life cycle. No shampoo contains more ingredients to promote the growth of stronger thicker and healthier hair than the Hair Restoration Laboratories' Hair Restore Shampoo.