Is Hair Loss Seasonal?


Hair loss is an issue that concerns many people around the world. It can be caused by many factors including seasonal changes. Seasons may affect hair shedding and growth pattern. If you realize your hair shedding is increased in during specific seasons then you can find reasons and ways to prevent in this post.



So, is the hair loss seasonal? To be clear, hair loss can be caused by many reasons. However, seasons impact hair loss, your hair loss situation may not be caused just by seasons specifically. Hair loss can be a symptom for a further important situation. This is why consulting a specialist is important. Seasons affect the growth cycle of the hair. Several studies indicate that hair may get thicker in the spring while in the fall it starts to fall and gets thinner. The change in the sunlight level we are exposed to according to seasons influences and causes the hair loss.



How Seasons Affect Our Hair

People lose 50-150 hair strands a day on average which is the result of the hair growth phrases. On the other hand, you may notice that you shed more in some specific seasons and your hair can get thinner.

Seasonal hair loss is concerned more during the months of September and October. Before fall, we get exposed to constant sunlight during the summer. Because of this high sunlight level that we are exposed to, our body begins to not producing much melatonin as it did during other seasons. The hair follicles in the anagen phase reach a peak at the beginning of spring and fall steadily after the fall season.



Melatonin is a hormone that regulates basically sleep cycle and it plays an important role for hair growth. Melatonin induces the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle. Anagen phase is the phase where active growth is happening. Without as much melatonin which may be caused by the high sunlight level, we are exposed to during summer, the hair moves from the anagen phase to the catagen and telogen phases which are the phase that hair fall begins. And this phase occurs at the same time as the fall season.


However, the sun is not your enemy and escaping from the sun in order to increase producing melatonin will not help you. Besides, the sun promotes hair growth. Getting enough amount of sunlight plays an important role in decreasing the prolactin level your body produces. Prolactin is a hormone that causes hair follicles moving to the catagen phase. To be clear, melatonin is your friend while prolactin is your enemy. So, boosting melatonin and reducing prolactin is the key.



To keep in mind that, seasonal hair shedding is not a thing to be worried unless you notice slow regrowth or not growing, and hair falling out in a specific pattern. Apart from these symptoms, seasonal shedding is perfectly normal and not a thing to concern about. It is a reversible phenomenon and its effects last approximately 2 months. However, if your hair shedding increase more, then the further diagnosis is a must.

How to Reduce the Effect of Seasonal Hair Loss

To minimize the seasonal hair loss, here there are some tips for you:



Change Your Diet

Making healthy choices with your diet is always the first step for every type of hair loss. To fight with the hair loss which generally begins in the fall season, you should take steps at the beginning of the summer. Increasing the amount of melatonin level that our body produces is the key. To increase it, you should consider consuming fruits such as orange, banana, cherry, pineapple, berry, etc. Besides, some foods such as fish, cheese, zucchini, broccoli, and peas are helpful to increase the melatonin level.



Protect Your Hair from the Sun

Uv radiation from the sun causes hair damages, breakage, and loss. As I stated before, it also forecloses your body to produce melatonin. If you are planning to be outside for a long time during hot summer days, then you should consider wearing a hat that is breathable or applying a natural mineral sunscreen onto your scalp.

On the other hand, it is important to keep your prolactin levels low to reduce hair loss. In order to keep it low, you should enjoy the sun at least 10 to 15 minutes every day. It is not just important to keep it low but also to boost the vitamin D in your body. Vitamin D deficiency is another factor that leads to hair loss. In order to add, make sure that you keep within bounds the sunlight session you enjoy.



The Right Hair Care Routine

During hot summer days, with all sunlight and salt water of the seas, our hair can be damaged and tend to fall easily. That is the reason why you should try to keep your hair nourished and moisturized especially during summer when our hairs tend to dry easily. In order to do that you may use natural oil masks or natural oily hair products to use during the day. Coconut, magnesium, castor and almond oils are recommended. also, to avoid the dry and brittle hair, minimizing the use of hair products with hot temperatures such as hair straighteners and dryers is important.



Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)  

As we all know the stress and depression are one of the main causes of hair loss. Seasons can affect our body and mental health easily. Thus, SAD may be affecting your hair loss. So, what is seasonal affective disorder and what leads to it?   

SAD is a type of depression disorder which is related to seasonal changes. Most people are affected by fall and winter SAD and less often some people are affected spring and summer SAD. It begins and ends at the very same time every year regularly.  



Symptoms for fall and winter SAD may include oversleeping, tiredness, low energy, craving more for foods high in carbohydrates thus weight gain. On the other hand, symptoms for spring and summer SAD lead to poor sleeping (insomnia), poor appetite thus weight loss and anxiety.   

If you notice that you feel depressed based on seasons, consulting a specialist is important. Some of the treatment methods for SAD are light therapy or called phototherapy and medications. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is perfectly normal when our mood affected by seasons and have some days you feel down. But if you are feeling unwell for days and it affects your daily life and activities badly, you should consult a specialist. Also, it is important if your sleep pattern and appetite have changed or you feel hopeless and think about suicide.



What Causes to Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Based on seasons your biological clock, serotonin, and melatonin levels are affected and they may cause the seasonal affective disorder. Serotonin is a brain chemical that affects mood and melatonin plays an important role in sleep patterns. The reduced sunlight in fall and winter disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm, a drop in serotonin and melatonin levels. All of these may trigger depression. Also, family history with SAD or another form of depression is important to detect the factors that cause the seasonal affective disorder.



Hair Care in Winter

Cold and dry weather during winter months can damage your hair and lead to split ends and breakage. During these times of the year, our hair tends to be dry, frizzy, less smooth and shiny. To prevent your hair from the damage, you should extra moisturize your hair. In order to that, you can use oil-based moisturizers, conditioners, masks, and other hair products. Leaving conditioner on your hair at least 5 minutes may also help you to moisturize your hair and avoid from the brittle, dry, and static hair. Also, you should avoid frequent use of heat styling.


Another solution is steam treatment. You can use a hot towel and cover your hair then wait at least 10 minutes. Steaming your hair helps to maintain the Ph balance of your scalp. Besides, to avoid itchy and flaky scalp you should shampoo less often during these times.

Another thing is our diet in winters. During winter times people tend to consume more oily and spicy foods. These types of foods are not good for our hair. You need to make sure that you take a good amount of nutrition and eat seasonal fruits to keep your hair healthier and nice.



Hair Care in Summer

During hot summer days, our hair becomes dry and frizzy because of the chlorine filled pools, excessive sunlight, salted sea water and going lighter. These facts damage the hair during summer days. To avoid split-ends, breakage and hair shedding, you should use hats, conditioners that contain SPF, oils, and serum to split ends and to avoid greasy roots wash your hair regularly with paraben-free and predominantly natural shampoos. Besides, when it comes to food, try to choose foods that contain more nutrients.



Hair Care in Autumn

After the hot summer days, our hair can be damaged and you may notice that you have more split-ends. Before going into cold winter days which affect our hair badly, consider trimming or cutting your hair a bit. Because of the ruins from summer, our hair tends to fall more during this season of the year. Besides, during this season rains get more heavily. You should avoid wet hair for a longer duration because wet hair causes more split ends and makes hair frizzier which lead to more hair shedding. Be sure that you carry your umbrella or protective caps. Do not forget to wash your hair regularly with conditioners and shampoos which contains natural ingredients and paraben-free.



Hair Care in Spring

In this season, our hair becomes thicker, unlike the fall season. however, before going into summer season make sure that you do your hair care. Try to enjoy sunlight (not excessively) and wash your hair regularly. Also, do not forget to make your oil treatments and massages to your scalp and hair.



Anatomy and Natural Cycle of the Hair

Hair is made out of two main parts which are the root (or follicle) and the shaft which is the visible part of the hair. The hair follicle contains two main parts which are the bulb and the dermal papilla. The dermal papilla is where capillary vessels are held which supplies blood and nutrients to the hair follicle. On the other hand, the bulb is where the cells divide to grow new hair.

The hair shaft is the part we see. It is made from the cells that divided from the bulb and eventually it emerges thus results in the hair growth. The hair shaft consists of 3 layers which are the cuticle, cortex, and medulla. In order to add, the hair consists of 65%-90% proteins, 1%-9% lipids, water, polysaccharides, and trace elements.



The natural cycle of the hair processes through 3 phases. First, there is ‘’Anagen’’ phase. This phase is known as the growth phase. Your hair follicles grow longer the more this phase lasts. The phase lasts from 2 to 6 years. The second phase is ‘’Catagen’’. It is the phase where the growth part ends. You can think of it as the transitional stage. The final phase is the ‘’Telogen’’. At this stage, your hair follicles are inactivated for 3 months and it leads to the sub-phase called ‘’Exogen’’ then your hair starts to fall out. If you experience excessive hair shedding and you notice that your hair doesn’t grow back then the hair growth cycle might be disrupted.



Why We Lose Our Hair?

The hair loss can be caused by many factors. The reasons can be genetic, seasonal, stress, imbalanced and wrong diet, hormonal changes, medications, wrong hair care routines, alcohol and more. It is important to get diagnosed and get the right treatment if you notice you are experiencing excessive hair shedding and your hair doesn’t grow back.

How can you understand that you are experiencing hair loss and not just normal shedding? Well, it may be confusing and the process can be stressful. To keep in mind that people shed up to 150 strands a day. To understand if you shed normally or not you can pick like 50-60 hairs and pull. If 20 or more strands come to your hand when you pull then you may consult a doctor. Also, if you notice that there is a difference with your scalp then going to a specialist is better again. However, there are plenty of treatment methods that are developed in today’s circumstances. So, the right treatment that your doctor advice you would cure this excessive hair shedding.



Treatment Methods

If you are diagnosed with any kind of hair loss disorder and looking for alternative treatment choices here there are some:



1- Medications

When it is considered to help to fight with hair loss, there are 2 popular medicines; Minoxidil and Propecia.

Minoxidil: Minoxidil is a drug that can slow hair loss and stimulate hair growth for who experience male pattern hair loss or baldness. It activates blood vessels to carry more oxygen and helps to carry nutrients to your hair follicles thus it slows hair loss and stimulates hair growth. It makes the hair which is in the telogen phase to shed and helps to replace it with the new hair which is in the anagen phase. In order to get perfect results, you need to use Minoxidil regularly.

Propecia (Finasteride): Propecia is a drug likely as Minoxidil to stimulate hair growth and slow hair loss. As it is said, Propecia is more effective than the Minoxidil however its side-effects are stronger. It may cause depression, hypersensitivity reaction, and reproductive system problems. It would be wise to take under doctor examination.



2- Mesotherapy

Mesotherapy is a treatment that is used to baldness of both males and females. This alternative treatment helps to reduce hair loss, stimulating hair growth and slowing pattern baldness. In this treatment, nutrient boosters are injecting to the scalp and with initiating cell metabolism, strengthening the hair follicles, nourishing and hydrating of the scalp the treatment is designed to stimulate hair growth.



3- PRP

PRP stands for platelet-rich-plasma. It is a therapy for people who suffer from hair loss in a three-step medical treatment. First, the patient’s blood is drawn, second that blood is processed and then it is injected to the scalp. It increases the blood supply to the hair follicles, the thickness of the hair and promotes natural hair growth.



4- Hair Transplant

The hair transplant is a treatment procedure for people who are diagnosed with hair loss. The surgeon moves hair from the back or another hairy part of the body to the bald area of the scalp. The hair transplant process is typically made under local anesthesia. The hair transplant session may take hours depending on the baldness. You may require more than one session to achieve full coverage. Your stitches are going to be removed about 10 days after surgery. Most of the patients are allowed to use shampoo after 2-4 days from the surgery. It is important to protect the scalp from the sunlight and infections after surgery. Thus, generally, antibiotics are given to the patients.



Hair Loss Types Related to Sexes

Male Pattern Hair Loss:

Male pattern hair loss which is also known as androgenic alopecia, may begin after puberty and proceed over the years among men. One cause of this type of baldness is genetics. The male pattern baldness is related to male sex hormone called androgens which also regulate hair growth. Male pattern baldness occurs when your hair growth cycle weakens. However, there is no need to be getting worried because the male pattern hair loss can be cured with medication, surgery or alternative treatment methods.

Female Pattern Hair Loss:

Female pattern hair loss is also called androgenetic alopecia, can be caused by medical conditions, medications, physical or emotional stress, heredity, and as a part of aging. The female pattern hair loss generally leads to hairline recedes. It is also can be cured with the right treatment plan that your doctor made.



RELATED QUESTIONS

What Is Hair Loss?

Hair loss is a part of our daily lives while it can be a clinical issue sometimes. Hair loss is also called alopecia or baldness. We shed up to 150 strands per day on average. When shedding is excessive, the hair doesn’t grow back and you notice a difference on your scalp or body parts, the hair loss may be a clinical issue. Generally, excessive hair loss is a symptom of some diseases or side-effect of medications. However, hair loss also can be hereditary. Physical and mental stress, depression, medications, thyroid problems, cancer treatment, hormonal changes which are triggered by pregnancy, childbirth and menopause for women, imbalanced diet, excessive alcohol-using and smoking can cause hair loss. Nevertheless, with today’s developed alternative treatments for hair loss, curing it and promoting new hair growth is possible. If you are concerned for excessive hair loss, then consulting a specialist and being diagnosed and getting the right treatment plans are important.  



Is Hair Loss Sign of HIV?

HIV is a virus that leads to Aids syndrome. It stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV virus attacks the immune system which fights the infections and it makes easier for you to get sick. Nevertheless, people with HIV may suffer from hair loss, it is not a typical symptom or a sign. Also, the HIV treatment does not cause hair loss but people with HIV can experience hair thinning which is unrelated to neither the condition nor treatment.



Is Hair Loss Sign of Cancer?

There are many reasons that cause hair loss including cancer treatment, chemotherapy as a side-effect. The cancer is not the exact reason that causes hair loss in the first place.



Is Hair Loss Sign of Anemia?

Anemia stands for iron deficiency in the body. Anemia shows a variety of symptoms including the lesser-known side effect of hair loss. Hair follicles are in need of hemoglobin and oxygen. Anemia cause to iron deficiency thus not producing enough hemoglobin and not transferring oxygen to hair follicles to produce hair growth and repair.

Savaş Ateş

I'm a hair loss expert. The picture was taken 10 years ago :) I have been losing my hair. So I started to learn everything about hair loss and hair transplants. I contacted a lot of hair transplant doctors. We shared our experiences. I'm writing blog posts for people who have the potential of losing their hair. I give some tips about hair transplants and medical issues too.

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