What is Seasonal Hair Shedding & How To Deal With It

Updated on November 4th, 2020
Seasonal Hair Shedding

Noticing hair in your brush is normal: We shed. But if an individual begins losing an unusual amount of hair, it can be concerning. Losing hair usually doesn’t affect your warmth or appearance, as your head is abundant to make up for the daily loss.

But there can be a more significant reason for your hair loss when you start seeing your bald spots or scalp [1].

When we think of hair loss, we may think of the genetic reasons, such as male pattern baldness. Thyroid problems, hormones, and other diseases can all cause hair loss too. So, what are these multiple causes, and how do you know if they’re to blame for your excessive shedding?

We are aware that changes in the season can trigger skin changes: As winter and fall overcome the summer humidity, our skin begins to get a touch irritation-prone and drier. On the other hand, come summer, maybe you’re dealing with a bit more blemishes and oil than you’re used to. Hair comes with its own set of fluctuations, too.

Few may be obvious—uh, who among us doesn’t combat a bit of additional frizz during extreme humidity? Or a drier scalp comes frigid temperatures?—but others, not very much.

Like, say, did you know that when you come to a new chapter in the calendar, you may experience “seasonal hair shedding”? Well, it’s a real concern and can explain why we deal with extra strays post-shower or see a few more hairs in our comb

Here, what you need to know.

What is “seasonal hair shedding”?

The description’s in the name, really: It’s spiked by changes in your environment or shedding during transitional weather. Seasonal shedding is majorly caused by hormonal fluctuations in our body induced by temperature and climate changes and the amount of daylight that we are exposed to [4]. 

Typically, we know, the average person loses fifty to a hundred hairs a day. So “increased shedding” can mean nothing to you if your typical fallout is consistent, low, and relatively stable. But for others, who have extremely sensitive hair fluctuations, you may observe when temperatures shift or an uptick around daylight saving time. 

This winter and fall may be a bit different. Not only could we be going through a (completely natural) seasonal shift, but the stress of the present atmosphere could be compounding said shedding: Certain individuals have been suffering from severe shedding because there’s been so much stress for so many individuals for so long.

We truly believe COVID-19 has been exacerbating the symptoms of hair loss dramatically.

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What should we do about severe shedding:

Given how much daylight you’re exposed to or can’t control the seasons, you may just have to live with the reality that you currently have a bit more hair loss. But that’s not to say we can’t treat hair loss from a proactive viewpoint. 

1. Figure out the root of the issue

The initial step in handling hair shedding is ensuring that the amount of hair you’re losing is the normal amount. A trichologist /dermatologist can tell you whether you have hair shedding or hair loss. Trying to count the amount of hair strands you lose in a day is a herculean task (ain’t nobody got time for that).

2. Re-evaluate your hair products. 

Hydrating, high-quality, and scalp-healthy ingredients go a long way toward supporting a healthy environment for growth and helping us retain hair. Avoid irritating synthetics, harsh surfactants, and silicones, and look for fatty acids for nourishment, botanical oils for conditioning, and antioxidants for protection. 

[Also Read: 6 Best Hair Masks Products ]

3. Limit excessive processing and hot tool use 

Overprocessing and hot tools —via dyes or perms —really do a number on hair, including shedding but also simply garden-variety breakage. If you are bothered about the quantity of shedding you are experiencing (at any given time), your processing habits are an excellent place to, uh, cool it. 

4. Minimize stress as much as possible

Since stress triggers hair loss—a phenomenon that is well documented via studies, experts, and anecdotal evidence—you need to find ways to handle your anxiety better. 

5. Enrich your diet. 

There is a remarkable connection between hair health and diet. Deficiencies—specifically iron, zinc, and vitamin Bs, like biotin—have been linked to hair loss.

By ensuring you are taking a diet rich in minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, and amino acids, you’ll likely see enhancement in your strands over time.

(Of note: This is not an instant fix, and you must be consistent with your healthy habits.) You may also consider supplementing with things like biotin, collagen (which contains amino acid peptides), and antioxidants to help ensure you are getting adequate daily.

[Read: Best Vitamins for Hair Loss]

6. Everything feels better after a haircut 

To help with seasonal changes specifically, getting a haircut at the beginning of the summer will eliminate the dead ends that would have been further destroyed by the summer sun. The longer you leave damaged hair on your head, the more you will experience breakage and hair shedding.

If you are over-styling your hair or over-processing your hair with chemicals, getting regular haircuts is particularly important since you’re damaging your hair at a much quicker rate and, therefore, will experience more hair shedding than someone with healthier hair. 

Bottom Line

Hair shedding is prevalent (reminder: we lose anywhere from fifty to a hundred a day!) and may increase during environmental shifts like season changes. This is a normal process that you may not even realize is happening—but if the amount of loss you’re seeing is of concern, there are effective ways to tend to the problem.

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