Other then Fall fashion trends inspiring us to change our hair color to Golden Chestnut Brown, or perhaps add some Auburn highlights, are there actual physiological changes that influence our hair as well? With a lovely new Season upon us, a lot of our patients have been wondering if and how the Seasons can affect their hair.
Because we treat women experiencing hair loss/thinning, patients often tell us they notice more shedding during certain times of the year. Because everyone’s hair cycle is different, we can certainly see a correlation of hair growth or shedding with certain seasons for some patients.
This phenomenon that occurs in seasonal shedders can be explained by evolution. Just as the leaves fall from the trees in Autumn, it is possible to experience a “fall” of hairs as well. During the Summer months, the body tends to hold on to hairs to protect the scalp against the harsh midday sun. To compensate, the hair follicles tend to elongate their growth phase in order to provide coverage and shelter for the scalp. As the sun’s threatening rays start to diminish during the changing season, the hairs return to their usual cycle and start to shed as a result. Clever little follicles huh? Not so fast…
Although that all sounds fascinating, and we like to think our follicles are seasonally savvy, usually this evolutionary effect is minimal! As a modern society, we aren’t necessarily roaming the plains exposed to extreme weather conditions day in and day out. In reality, we are in and out of heated and air-conditioned buildings, in addition to being out and about in varying outdoor temperatures. Therefore, the change is not very noticeable in the majority of people. The truth is, there are other factors such as age, styling, hormones, and genetics that play a more dominant role in our changing hair.
Yes, Winter can be drying to hair, but arguably so could Summer! Salt and chlorine water in the Summer, and dry air in the Winter can both cause split ends or weak roots. These can lead to increased hair shed. The best way to deal with these seasonal insults to your hair is to protect it and provide the hair with proper nutrition so it could be resilient and regrow amidst all weather extremes.
Making sure you condition dry hair, eat right, hydrate, and physically protect your hair with a wide brimmed hat in the Summer and a knitted cap in the Winter will also help.
The point is, if you think you are experiencing a seasonal shed, I suggest wait for the season to change, chances are the shedding will too! However, when in doubt, it might be helpful to consult a hair loss/regrowth expert. Getting a hair regrowth expert’s opinion will guide you correctly towards maintaining your hair and keeping it healthy to promote growth. In fact, it will also help you to assess whether there are any other causes to hair loss, other than the change in season.
Posted by Lacey Sellati, RN, PA-C