A very common question in regard to hair loss is whether or not hair loss slows down in the winter months. This is a fair question since it seems like many things tend to slow down a bit when cold weather moves in, but do shortening daylight hours and colder temperatures affect the growth or loss of our hair? The answer may surprise you.
The British Association of Dermatologists conducted a study about the relationship between seasonal changes and hair loss. Their study found that the majority of hair loss seems to occur during summer and fall. However, another study found that as the seasons shift between late fall and early winter more of our hair follicles tend to enter the shedding or exogen phase. This is what many refer to as winter hair fall or seasonal hair loss. And while this type of seasonal hair loss is typically normal and temporary, it can be quite alarming if your hair is thinning already. But shedding hair isn’t the only cause of hair loss during the winter months. Winter hair loss may also be due in part to the dry air of the season. The extremely low humidity levels pull moisture from the scalp making it prone to dryness. A dry scalp results in dry hair that quickly becomes brittle and prone to breakage, making the problem of thinning hair worse. Fungal scalp infections and dandruff can further contribute to dryness, flakiness, and hair loss. Those coping with already thin or thinning hair need to be especially careful during cold weather to protect their hair and scalp by keeping them both well moisturized.
So what can you do to help prevent or minimize winter hair fall? While you might not be able to completely prevent seasonal hair loss there are some things that you can do to lessen the effects of winter on your mane. Here are seven steps you can take to help maintain thicker and healthier tresses this winter. 1. Get regular trims. It is recommended that you maintain a regular schedule of trimming your hair every four to eight weeks to remove split and damaged ends to prevent breakage and keep your strands strong and healthy.
2. Hot oil massage. To prevent your scalp from drying out it is good to give it a massage at least once a week with a good quality scalp oil. Warm up the oil to stimulate circulation and help your scalp absorb the nourishing oils. Massage gently into your scalp for 3-5 minutes and then shampoo and condition as usual.
3. Switch all of your hair care products to moisturizing formulas. Moisturizing shampoo, conditioner, and styling products contain humectants, emollients, and moisturizing oils that will help keep your hair and scalp hydrated and much less prone to breakage.
4. Deep condition at least once per week. It is absolutely vital that you replace the moisture lost to dry air in winter to keep your hair strong and healthy. Applying a moisturizing deep conditioner at least once per week will help to maintain a healthy texture and combat the damaging effects of dry heat and cold winter winds.
5. Avoid hot showers. While a hot shower may feel amazing to your joints and muscles on a chilly winter day, the heat is incredibly harsh and drying for your hair. So keep the heat low in the shower as much as you can, and always finish with a cool rinse for your hair to seal the cuticle to prevent moisture loss.
6. Air dry your hair. While you should not go out with your hair wet in cold weather, you should also avoid blow-drying as much as possible. The heat from the blow dryer is both damaging and drying for your hair and can lead to breakage and thinner hair. So try to wash your hair when it will have plenty of time to air dry before heading out the door.
7. Cover your hair. Wearing a hat or scarf can help to protect your hair from frigid winds when spending time outdoors in winter. Keep in mind though that some materials can cause friction with your hair that can lead to breakage. So look for head coverings with a silk or satin lining which will create less friction with your hair.
If you have been noticing more than the usual amount of strands in your brush or shower drain as the weather has turned colder, it is well worth your time to consult a hair loss expert to determine the cause and explore possible solutions. You do not have to simply live with hair loss and accept it as normal. There are treatments and strategies you can employ to slow or even reverse hair loss to have a thick, shiny, healthy-looking head of hair again.
The caring hair loss professionals at the Hair Restoration Institute are here to help you with all of your hair loss questions and concerns. We will discuss your concerns in a discreet and private appointment where we will assess your overall health, your degree of hair loss, your concerns about hair replacement, and your hair replacement goals. Then we will create a customized hair replacement plan to meet your unique needs. You can find us at 1201 West Lancaster Avenue in Fort Worth, Texas, or call 817-854-HAIR (4247) for a discreet and complimentary consultation.