Many of us will notice that during the (mostly) warmer summer period, we experience more hair shedding than usual. Summer hair loss or ‘seasonal hair loss,’ is indeed well-known in both and men and women and can be due to a mixture of both internal and external factors. Most people will assume that with the increased heat, summer hair loss would naturally occur as our bodies find a way to keep us cooler when such effective insulation is no longer needed. And according to scientific studies in Scandinavia, this is true.
According to the Swedish researchers, who monitored hair loss in 800 women over 6 years, there is a greater proportion of resting follicles over the summer months. Resting follicles shed their hair in preparation for regrowth, meaning it may in fact be not until autumn that the greatest amount of shedding occurs.
Why do the follicles remain dormant for longer in the summer?
The first reason is the exposure to sunlight which leads to your body producing less melatonin, which affects the hormone levels in your scalp. It effectively signals hair follicles to carry out their natural shedding phase for longer periods of time than usual. The other major factor is the effect of testosterone, levels of which are usually higher in spring and autumn. Although testosterone is often thought of as a male hormone, it exists in both men and women and is known to trigger summer hair loss. We will all therefore experience a certain amount of shedding which, it’s worth noting, may not fully occur until the early Autumn months so can easily be confused with another type of hair loss such as Alopecia Areata or Tellogen Effluvium.
Beyond summer hair loss: what if your hair loss is more than seasonal?
Summer hair shedding or seasonal hair loss shouldn’t be anything to be concerned about; each person’s hair growth and loss will fluctuate throughout the year. However, if you notice that consistent, heavier shedding is occurring in specific areas of the scalp such as the crown or temples, there may be a wider hair loss issue at play. Male pattern balding starts with recurring hair loss over the crown area and temples and the person will find that regrowth does not occur, even though shedding may be slow. With female pattern balding, hair loss tends to be diffuse to begin with, with possible larger bald patches occurring around the temples and the crown. If you feel that your hair loss is something more, seek the help of a professional as there are a number of options for protecting hair growth or restoring lost hair.
3 tips for summer hair loss
Luckily there are some treatments you can try to encourage your follicles to wake up and grow new hairs. You don’t need to do anything complicated to look after your hair – even under harsh summer conditions where it may be coping with salty or chlorinated water, strong sunlight and the drying effect of sun and wind.
Hair masks or warm oil scalp massage
Applying a warm (not hot) oil to the scalp and massaging the hair roots once a week can be a much-needed boost for summer hair loss. With stimulation of the hair follicles, natural regrowth will be encouraged not to mention nourishing the existing hair after periods of heat, styling or salty sea water.
We recommend coconut oil since it’s completely clean, natural and pleasant smelling. It also suits all hair types. For the perfect oil treatment follow these simple steps:
• Comb your hair to remove tangles – you don’t want them to become knots!
• Warm the oil to make it easy to apply. Either place a bowl containing the oil into a larger one containing hot water or pop it in the microwave for a few seconds (stir well to avoid scalding hot spots). The oil needs to be pleasantly warm to penetrate the hair and follicles.
• Apply the oil to your hair. Gently massage it into the scalp and along the shaft of the hair. Be gentle to protect the delicate scalp skin.
• Wrap your hair in a hot damp towel to allow the oil to really penetrate into your scalp. Leave it in place for about an hour, then gently wash with lukewarm water to close your pores up again.
Try to avoid heating your hair immediately after treatment (yes, that means no blow drying!) and tying it back into tight hairstyles.
Wear protection against summer hair loss
The most stylish and traditional way to protect your head is to wear a sun hat or scarf, but not everyone likes to do so. There are now a huge range of protective hair products available to combat brittleness, dryness and damage caused by sun, sea and open-air tourist sites. Brazilian women, for whom beach life is daily life, are fans of using protective hair oil for every moment of exposure, ensuring that their hair stays nourished and smooth and completely summer hair loss free.
When styling your hair be careful not to scrape it back into a tight knot. Putting pressure on the follicles will make them more likely to release their hair. Summer is the time for letting your hair loose or twisting it gently into a messy bun or low ponytail.
Diet and hydration
At The Wimpole Clinic we often warn our clients about the perils of a lacking diet on hair growth. Your hair needs nourishment to grow and as hair growth is an optional extra from your body’s point of view deficiencies will often show up in your hair long before the rest of your body shows any symptoms.
Summer hair loss can be just as much influenced by a lack of adequate hydration (harder to keep up with in summer) and less attention paid to eating balanced meals each day, full of nutrients we need to keep us going in outdoor weather. Many people feel that with the hotter weather, eating round meals is less palatable however nibbling rather than nourishing can have serious effects on hair loss, especially if the hair is already dry due to the hot weather. If you prefer to eat smaller meals in summer that’s fine – just keep an eye on the bigger picture to ensure adequate nutrition. Take care to keep up a balanced diet, hydrating with plenty of fresh water and limiting alcohol and caffeine at BBQs, evening cocktails and holiday snacks.
If you need more help get in touch
The Wimpole Clinic, established in 1975, provides a range of hair loss and hair restoration options for those suffering from ongoing hair loss issues. We specialise in natural-looking hair transplant procedures and can also provide expert advice on non-invasive hair loss solutions such as lotions and medication. We offer all our new clients a completely free, no obligation hair loss consultation with our leading hair specialist. Get in touch with us now to find out more.