Shedding (pardon the pun) some light on seasonal hair loss

A friend recently suggested I write a post on ‘why we lose more hair in the summer.’ First, I wasn’t even sure this is true…so, the best I could do to shed some light on this topic was to do some research online, look for consistent reports, and compile some info here for you. I hope you find this helpful!

Some hair loss is completely normal:

  • Most people lose anywhere from 50 to 100 strands of hair each day (that’s alot!), according to the American Academy of Dermatology. On the days when hair is washed, people can lose up to 250 strands. But don’t avoid washing in an attempt to keep the hair, as it will fall out eventually, anyway

Other hair facts:

  • Hair has a life span of about 6 years, and some people experience shedding during the summer or winter months
    • Hair grows faster when the weather is warm. Not only does hair grow faster in the summer, but it goes through cycles of growth and rest all year long. Each complete cycle typically lasts several weeks
    • Hair grows in three different cycles: anagen, catagen, and telogen. About 90% of the hair on the head is in the anagen, or growth phase, which lasts anywhere from two to eight years. The catagen, or transition phase, typically lasts 2-3 weeks, during which  the hair follicle shrinks. During the telogen cycle, which lasts around two to four months, the hair rests
  • The myth that ‘stress can make your hair fall out’ is true…although your hair is falling out all the time, it’s possible that you may lose a few more strands when you’re “catastrophically” stressed, meaning you have had a major life change such as a divorce, lost job, or surgery. Other culprits are pregnancy or antibiotics. After a few weeks, it will almost certainly grow back
  • Hair growth rate is genetically determined, and varies from person to person. It also grows more slowly with age, and is affected by both internal states and environmental conditions

Things to remember:

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Wash Your Hair: it won’t lead to hair loss
  • Avoid (heavy) Brushing or Teasing: both can lead to hair loss. Use a wide-toothed comb instead
  • Try a New ‘Do: a style with layers will help your hair look fuller. You can even perm or color your hair; medically, there’s no reason not to. Just avoid a weave or any other style that can put prolonged tension on your hair or cause it to break, which can lead to further hair loss
  • Am I Losing It?: the truth is, you are–everyone is. Most of us shed 50 to 100 hairs a day. Once a hair is shed, a new hair from the same follicle replaces the lost strand
  • Here are two for-women-only causes of temporary hair loss.
    • Giving Birth: during pregnancy, the rise in hormones sends hair into its resting phase, so hair that would naturally fall out doesn’t. Several months after delivery, hormones return to normal, and some women experience an increase in hair loss (all over the head, not just at the top). This can last between 1 and 6 months; then, it usually corrects itself
    • Starting the Pill: some women lose hair while taking birth control pills. The reasons: shifting hormone levels (caused by the Pill) and heredity. If this happens to you, talk to your gynecologist about switching to a different Pill or birth control method.

Sources: WebMD, eHow.com, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health

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