Hair loss is unfortunate no matter when you experience it. But new research found that people may be more likely to shed during certain times of the year.
According to a new study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, summer and fall is the season for follicle fall out — or, at least, that’s when more people are concerned about it. For the study, researchers analyzed seasonality and hair loss by looking at Google Trends data from eight different countries. And, no matter what country the subjects were from, people consistently searched online for information about hair loss in August and September.
Of course, this doesn’t prove that more people lose their hair during these seasons but it does, at least, indicate that they notice it during that time. Apparently it’s no coincidence — doctors see this in their offices, too.
“This is something that we’ve observed in clinical practice for a long time,” Gary Goldenberg, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, who didn’t work on the study, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “The number of patients I see for hair loss is higher in the summer and beginning of autumn than other times of the year.”
Ken L. Williams Jr., D.O., FISHRS, a surgeon and founder of Orange County Hair Restoration in Irvine, Calif., and author of Hair Transplant 360 – Follicular Unit Extraction, agrees. “We know that as seasons change, it affects the human physiology and that can affect the hair, too,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
The study specifically focused on telogen effluvium, which is temporary thinning on the scalp. Telogen effluvium can happen about six months after a physical stressor like pregnancy or an illness, or after emotional stress. Winter can also be a stressor, Goldberg says, since people are more likely to get sick during the colder months and may experience seasonal depression. People also tend to have more hair breakage when it’s warm out, which can reveal underlying hair loss or shedding, he adds.
Nutrition may also play a role. People tend to eat poorly on vacation or while traveling (which happens a lot in the summer), which can contribute to hair loss, Goldenberg says.
If you’re experiencing hair loss, don’t write it off as one of those things you have to deal with. Telogen effluvium in particular is temporary, but it’s hard to know what kind of hair loss you’re dealing with when you notice it. If you spot hair loss, Williams recommends taking a deep breath and then calling your dermatologist or a hair loss expert. It’s completely normal to have hair changes with seasons, but your doctor may recommend a treatment like topical minoxidil (aka Rogaine) to help you ride it out.
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