Apparently, You Lose More Hair In The Summer — Here's What To Do About It
If you're experiencing increased shedding right now, you're not alone. No, seriously: Not only is hair loss an extremely common condition (for a variety of reasons), but the timing may play a significant role.
Stay with me here: Apparently, you lose more hair during the summer (and it's backed by research!). So if you're noticing some extra strands nestled in your hairbrush or swirling down the shower drain, you may be able to blame the scorching weather. Here's exactly what's going on in those follicles and what you can do to manage the summertime gripe.
Apparently, summer hair loss is a thing.
"Yes, seasonal hair loss actually can occur," says board-certified dermatologist Iris Rubin, M.D., founder of SEEN Hair Care. "Studies have shown higher rates of telogen hairs, or resting hairs, in the summer months, which then lead to shedding." (If you're curious, here's a study showing that the number of shed hairs reached a peak around August and September1; another one documenting the higher telogen hair rates during summer2; and another report noting Google searches for "hair loss" were highest during the summer and early fall.)
See, a healthy scalp has around 85% of follicles in the anagen stage (or the growth stage) of the hair cycle, which means usually 15% or so of those hairs are in the resting, or telogen, state. But because summer may bring higher rates of telogen hairs, that percentage may jump—and if more follicles go dormant, you will experience increased shedding.
So summer hair loss is a thing—and it's pretty common. As for the why, it's not totally clear: Interestingly, some experts wonder if there's an evolutionary perspective at play—since one of hair's roles is to provide warmth, which would be unnecessary during sweltering months. Another theory, says Rubin, is that the increased exposure to UV light could influence this seasonal shift, "though more research is needed to confirm whether this is the cause."
What to do about it.
Again, seasonal hair loss is, well, seasonal—which means it's likely temporary. However, Rubin does suggest a few tips to manage increased shedding in the summer months:
- Sun protection: "In case UV light is contributing to summertime hair loss, wear a hat," she says. You can also opt for a scalp sunscreen; find our recommendations here. She also advises looking for products that contain antioxidants to fend off free radicals and protect the strands (like SEEN's nutrient-rich curl cream).
- Moisturize: Moisturized hair is strong hair; on the flip side, hair that's dry is more easily prone to damage or breakage. While hydrated hair has no season, take the extra steps during summer to send some love to the strands: Opt for regular masks, seal in water with oils, and find other ways to moisturize your hair here.
- Be gentle with your hair: Minimize damage as much as you can by reducing your heat styling or at least lowering the temperature setting on your hot tools. Rubin says you can also towel-dry with a microfiber towel pre-blow-dry to reduce drying time (and thus, extra damage). "Avoid tight hairstyles and overprocessing your hair with color, bleach, or other chemical treatments," she advises.
Increased shedding during summer is incredibly common, and if it's happening to you, know that you're not alone. While you might not be able to prevent seasonal hair shedding, you can always take steps to make sure your hair is healthy and strong—which, in the name of hair growth, is never a bad idea.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.