Changing seasons, for most of us, means changing the clothes we wear and getting ready for warmer or colder weather. For some, however, a shift into a different season can mean a noticeable increase in the amount of hair they shed. If that doesn’t sound like you, don’t dismiss the idea just yet. We all lose hair every day as part of the normal hair growth cycle, so sometimes it’s hard to tell if we’re losing a bit more or a bit less than that. And when we do notice, it can be difficult to see a pattern or to remember if something similar happened in previous years.
This article is going to examine the issue of seasonal hair loss. By the time you’ve finished reading, you should be able to judge more accurately if you’re a seasonal shedder. Scroll down to find out more!
What is Seasonal Hair Loss?
There is still some debate over whether there is such a thing as seasonal hair loss. Some hair experts maintain that the hair growth cycle is consistent throughout the year. Others disagree. A study carried out in 2009 by researchers in Switzerland concluded that their ‘results confirm the findings of former authors who have indicated seasonal changes in human hair growth.’ Research work carried out by a respected university hospital department that supports the findings of other studies can’t just be ignored, right? So, what is it about seasonal change that triggers increased hair loss?
Seasonal shedding is similar in some ways to telogen effluvium, the hair loss condition brought on by stress or trauma. That condition causes a greater proportion of our hair to be pushed into the telogen or resting phase of the growth cycle. Under normal circumstances, about fifteen per cent of our hair is in the telogen phase. When telogen effluvium strikes, that figure rises dramatically. Hair doesn’t fall when it is in the telogen phase, but the shedding happens in the exogen phase that follows soon after. The more hairs that are in the telogen phase, the greater the hair loss when they start to fall.
With seasonal hair loss, the ‘stress trigger’ seems to be a change in temperature that affects the hair follicles. Warmer weather in spring and summer acts to push hair into the telogen phase, resulting in noticeable hair loss in the autumn months. As with telogen effluvium, the hair loss is spread right across the scalp as a general thinning rather than being concentrated in patchy areas.
While it can happen to both men and women, it tends to be women who report the condition most often. More research is needed to determine why this is the case, and why it affects certain individuals more than others.
Dealing with Seasonal Hair Loss
If you do notice extra shedding in the autumn, what can you do? There are a few simple changes you can make to your haircare routine that will help lessen the impact. It helps if you keep your hair and scalp clean and well moisturised. Back this up by using a deep conditioning mask once weekly. Choose your shampoo and conditioner carefully. You should be looking for a product that is gentle on your scalp and hair; products containing parabens and sulphates should be scratched off your list. Avoid tight, attritional hairstyles like braids or ponytails, and limit your use of heat styling tools where possible.
Eat healthily, making sure you get enough of the vitamins and minerals that play such an important role in maintaining the health of your hair. At this time of the year, dietary supplements can be useful in getting B vitamins, zinc, iron and selenium into your system to help combat hair loss. It’s important that you speak to your doctor or a nutritional expert before embarking on a course of supplements. Remember, too much of a good thing can sometimes be as bad as not enough.
Seasonal hair loss can be alarming if you’re unaware of what’s happening. People get anxious, fearing that what they’re experiencing is the start of long-term, permanent hair loss. The good news is that seasonal hair loss is temporary. Your hair will return to its normal cycle within a few weeks. Once you’ve identified that the problem is a seasonal issue only, you will be better placed to take the action necessary to adjust to it.
If you have concerns about any aspect of haircare, get in touch with Vinci Hair Clinic and share your worries with a genuine hair expert. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to all our new clients, so you can get answers to your questions without committing to anything. Contact us today and book your appointment!