Over the past few weeks we have heard from a number of patients regarding concerns that they are seeing an increase in shedding. It seems like we see an increase in complaints of shedding every year beginning in July and August and lasting through September and October. Which begs the question, is seasonal shedding real, and if so, what can we do about it?
Before we can answer this question, there are two important points to know. First, shedding is normal. On average we shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day. Secondly, we need to understand that our hair follicles are constantly going through a life cycle of three stages:
- Anagan – The growth phase. Typically lasts three to five years and this is when new hairs grow from the follicle and are healthy and thick.
- Catagen – The transition phase. Typically lasts around 10 days and the hairs detach from the blood supply.
- Telogen – The resting phase. Typically lasts around 3 months and the hair dies and falls out.
This growth cycle of the follicle is constantly happening and not all of the hairs are in the same phase at the same time. However, when an increased number of hairs are in the telogen phase, that is what can cause an increase in shedding. Studies have shown that there is cyclicality to when a greater number of our hairs tend to be in the telogen phase. According to one study published in 2009 (Seasonality of hair shedding in healthy women complaining of hair loss.), after reviewing the cases of 823 women, the authors found that there were two times when telogen rates where at their highest, the first was in the summer and the second was in the spring. Since the telogen phase lasts around 3 months, we would expect the increased shedding to occur 3 months after these peak times, which would be mid-summer and fall. It is not completely known why we see an increase in the percentage of hairs in the telogen phase during the spring and summer, but many people believe it has to do with the extreme weather we experience in late spring and summer.
While we cannot change the weather, there are some tactics you can utilize to try to improve the health of your hair during the spring and summer. In the summer heat, hair tends to get dry and damaged, so make sure you are using a good conditioner. Supplements like Nutrafol or Viviscal can ensure that your hair is receiving all of the necessary building blocks to stay healthy. Lastly, low level laser therapy has been shown to slow down and stop increases in shedding.
Lastly, if you notice an increase in shedding this fall, remember that it is most likely due to seasonal shedding. Seasonal shedding is even more likely in the fall than in the summer. If you are ever concerned that what you are experiencing is more than just seasonal shedding, make sure to see a hair loss specialist that can evaluate your hair and provide proper guidance.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team