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Do you lose more hair in the summer? 

    Quick Summary: Seasonal Hair Loss and Management

    Seasonal Hair Shedding: Research and Google search trends suggest that hair shedding peaks in late summer and early fall, with members of the public searching for answers as to why this occurs during these periods. 

    Contributing Factors: Increased UV exposure, heat, and humidity during summer can weaken hair and disrupt the hair growth cycle, leading to increased shedding.

    Practical Tips: Protecting the scalp, staying hydrated, maintaining a healthy diet, and using gentle hair products can help manage hair health during hot summer months.

    Professional Advice: Persistent or significant hair loss should be evaluated by a healthcare provider, with treatments ranging from topical solutions like Minoxidil to hair transplant surgery for severe cases.

    As the temperature rises and the days grow longer, many of us find ourselves shedding more than just our winter layers. It’s a common concern and so we explore whether we lose more hair in the summer in this article.

    Understanding the Hair Growth Cycle

    Before we delve in, it’s essential to first grasp the fundamentals of the hair growth cycle. Hair growth occurs in three distinct phases: Anagen (growth), Catagen (transition), and Telogen (resting). Typically, 90% of our hair is in the anagen phase at any given time, with the remaining 10% in the telogen phase, where shedding occurs1.

    Do You Lose More Hair In The Summer?

    Some researchers suggest that increased sun exposure and higher temperatures can accelerate the hair shedding process. Studies suggest that hair loss may actually peak during late summer and early fall rather than in the summer itself. For those interested, highlights of research into this topic can be found below:

    1. Seasonality of Hair Shedding in Healthy Women Complaining of Hair Loss, 2009

    Aim: To examine whether hair shedding in women shows seasonal patterns. 

    Method: Analysing trichogram data from 823 healthy women over six years

    Results: The study confirmed an annual pattern in hair shedding, with peak shedding rates occurring in the summer, specifically July, and a smaller peak in spring. The lowest shedding occurred in late winter. This pattern suggests that like many mammals, human hair growth may respond to environmental changes, although humans do not undergo complete moulting. 

    Conclusion: Understanding these patterns is crucial for accurately diagnosing and treating hair loss and can impact the effectiveness of treatments, as seasonal shedding can mimic symptoms of hair loss disorders. This information can be helpful for individuals experiencing seasonal increases in hair shedding by reassuring them that this is a normal part of the hair growth cycle and not necessarily indicative of ongoing hair loss conditions2.

    1. Monthly Changes in Hair Growth Parameters of Chinese Subjects, Observed Over 1 Full Year, 2014

    Aim: To investigate whether there is increased hair loss during certain times of the year among Chinese subjects. 

    Method: Analysing phototrichograms to evaluate hair growth parameters of 41 Chinese volunteers over a year.

    Results: A notable increase in shedding occurred around August-September time, suggesting a slight seasonal effect on hair loss. However, the changes were of lower amplitude compared to European data. The study discussed potential effects of geographic latitude and daylight duration on these seasonal changes, though no definitive conclusions were drawn.

    Conclusion: While there is a slight increase in hair shedding during late summer among Chinese subjects, the variations remain within the normal range for healthy hair. This aligns with earlier findings in other ethnic groups, suggesting a global pattern of seasonal hair shedding. This information can be particularly reassuring for individuals noticing minor increases in hair shedding during these months, underscoring that such changes are a normal part of the hair’s growth cycle and not usually indicative of alopecia3.

    1. Seasonality of Hair loss: A Time Series Analysis of Google Trends Data 2004–2016 and 2018

    Aim: To explore the relationship between seasonality and hair loss at a population level.

    Method: Analysis of Google search trends for hair loss across eight different countries. 

    Results: The highest number of searches was consistently found during the fall season. 

    Conclusion: This suggests that while summer may not be the peak season for hair loss, it may indeed contribute to a higher rate of shedding observed in the following months4.

    1. Seasonal Trends in Hair Loss: A Big Data Analysis of Google Search Patterns and Their Association with Seasonal Factors, 2023

    Aim: To explore how seasonal factors influence hair loss.

    Method: Analysing Google Trends data on hair loss searches from January 2004 to January 2020. 

    Results: This study revealed significant variations in search interest for hair loss throughout the year, with peaks in July, August, and September. Interestingly, the months with the highest average search interest were August, followed closely by September and July. The study found the lowest search interest in April, February, and December, indicating less concern about hair loss during these months.

    Conclusion: Concerns about hair loss increase during late summer and early autumn5

    Factors Contributing to Increased Summer Hair Loss

    Several factors can contribute to the increased hair shedding observed in the summer:

    • Impact of Sun Exposure: Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can degrade proteins found in hair, damaging and weakening the hair shaft. This leads to dryness, brittleness, and breakage. Additionally, UV radiation may contribute to oxidative stress, disrupting the hair growth cycle6.
    • Heat and Humidity: High temperatures and humidity can increase hair damage and alter the scalp’s condition, potentially leading to more hair loss. Sweat can also clog hair follicles, exacerbating hair shedding.
    • Changes in Diet and Hydration: Summer activities often lead to changes in diet and hydration levels. Dehydration, in particular, is harmful to hair health, as it affects hair growth and vitality6.
    • Hormonal Fluctuations: Hormonal fluctuations, particularly variations in oestrogen and testosterone levels, can influence hair growth patterns. While some individuals may experience increased shedding during the summer due to hormonal shifts, others may notice minimal changes7.

    Practical Tips for Summer Hair Care

    Whether you’re basking in the sun or seeking refuge in the shade, here are some practical tips to maintain healthy hair during the summer months:

    • Protect Your Scalp: Wear a wide-brimmed hat or apply a sunscreen specifically designed for the scalp to shield it from harmful UV rays.
    • Hydrate Regularly: Dehydration can impair hair growth and exacerbate existing hair loss conditions. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
    • Maintaining a Healthy Scalp and Choosing Gentle Hair Products: Keeping the scalp clean and free from sweat build-up is crucial. Regular washing with a gentle shampoo can prevent clogging of hair follicles and support healthy hair growth. Opt for sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners to prevent stripping natural oils from your scalp and hair.
    • Eat a Balanced Diet: Nourish your hair from the inside out by consuming a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein.

    For tips on nutrition and hair health, check out our blog post “Diet for Healthy Hair: The Ultimate Nutrition Guide”.

    Hair Loss Treatments and When to Seek Help

    If you notice significant hair loss, or if shedding persists beyond the usual seasonal pattern, it may be time to seek professional advice. Treatments for hair loss vary depending on the cause, but may include:

    • Topical treatments: Minoxidil (Regaine) is widely used to treat pattern hair loss by stimulating hair follicles to grow.
    • Oral medications: Drugs such as Finasteride are prescribed for androgenetic alopecia by preventing hormonal effects that cause hair loss.
    • Hair transplant surgery: For more severe cases, surgical options such as hair transplantation can be considered8.

    Conclusion

    The results of several scientific studies suggest that hair loss is significantly correlated with seasonality, and that hair loss occurs most frequently in the transition between summer and autumn.
    While summer might not be the peak season for hair loss, the environmental and lifestyle changes associated with it can contribute to increased hair shedding. By understanding these factors and implementing protective measures, we can better manage our hair health during the summer months.

    If you are concerned about your hair loss, The Treatment Rooms are always happy to provide guidance and treatment options tailored to your individual needs. Remember, prevention and proactive management are key to maintaining a healthy head of hair, regardless of the season.

    References

    1. Hair loss – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
    2. Kunz, M., Seifert. B., Trueb, R. M. (2009) ‘Seasonality of hair shedding in healthy women complaining of hair loss’, Dermatology, 219, pp. 105–110. Available at: https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/20699/1/216832.pdf
    3. Liu, C., Yang, J., Qu, L., Gu, M., Liu, Y., Gao, J., Collaudin, C. and Loussouarn, G. (2014) ‘Changes in Chinese hair growth along a full year’, International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 36(6), pp. 531–536. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ics.12151
    4. Hsiang, E. Y., Semenov, Y. R., Aguh, C., Kwatra, S. G. (2018) ‘Seasonality of hair loss: a time series analysis of Google Trends data 2004-2016’, British Journal of Dermatology, 178(4), pp. 978-979. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/bjd.16075
    5. Buontempo, M. G., Ingrassia, J. P., Shapiro, J., and Lo Sicco, K. (2023) ‘Seasonal trends in hair loss: A big data analysis of Google search patterns and their association with seasonal factors’, Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 37, e1458–e1460. Available at:https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jdv.19364
    6. Trüeb, R. M. (2003) ‘Effect of ultraviolet radiation, smoking and nutrition on hair’, Current Problems in Dermatology, 31, pp. 154-165. Available at: Effect of ultraviolet radiation, smoking and nutrition on hair – PubMed (nih.gov)
    7. Randall, V. A. (2007) ‘Hormones and hair loss: Influences of the hair growth cycle’, Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 6(2), pp. 132-139. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7432488/
    8. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Hair loss: Diagnosis and treatment. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/treatment/diagnosis-treat

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