Studies have shown that hair is thicker in the summer months, with people shedding more hair in the fall and winter. In addition to increased hair shedding, the cold weather outside and the dry indoor heating can make your hair look dry, frizzy, and lifeless.
What is seasonal hair loss?
Seasonal hair loss, or seasonal telogen effluvium, refers to increased hair loss during certain times of the year. The peak of hair shedding occurs in late summer, which can result in thinner hair during fall and early winter.
What are the causes of seasonal hair loss?
Several factors can contribute to seasonal hair loss:
- Thicker hair in the summer may protect the scalp from damaging UV rays; in winter, having thinner hair allows better vitamin D absorption.
- In the fall and winter, reduced hair growth results from cold exposure, causing the follicles to switch from active growth to the resting phase.
- Hormonal changes are another possible cause of seasonal hair loss. For example, during winter, the body produces more melatonin, which can also slow down hair growth.
- Our diet changes based on the seasons, which can be another cause for changes in hair growth.
Best treatments to reduce seasonal hair loss
Several treatment options are available for those experiencing seasonal hair loss. Medications, such as topical minoxidil or plant-based serums, can effectively promote hair growth and prevent further hair loss. Increasing your intake of vegetables and protein in your diet and specific vitamins and minerals can also improve the health of your hair.
Top 14 expert tips on how to protect your hair in winter:
- Don't go outside with wet hair: When it's freezing outside, it's tempting to wash your hair and run out the door. However doing so can cause severe damage to your hair. When hair is saturated with water and freezes, it can cause the hair strand to expand and lose its protective cuticle tiles. This leads to damaged hair. To avoid this, try washing your hair before bedtime so it has time to air dry.
- Adopt a cold weather wash day routine: The harsh chemicals in some shampoos and conditioners can leave your hair damaged and weak. To avoid this, use a shampoo and conditioner that provides your hair with the nutrients it needs for long-term health.
- Avoid hot water: While turning up the heat in the shower during the cold winter is tempting, resist the urge. Using hot water to wash your hair strips it of its natural oils, making it dry and frizzy. Instead, rinse with cool water to seal in moisture and hydrate your scalp.
- Don't overwash: While keeping your hair clean is essential, overwashing can strip it of its natural oils. To avoid this, try increasing the time between wash days. If you're used to washing your hair daily, try going two or three days between washes and see how your hair responds.
- Use a high-quality peptide hair repair oil: Between wash days, dry shampoo can help keep your hair looking and smelling clean. Use a dry spray underneath a protective headgear, such as a beanie, for extra absorption. Choose a beanie lined with silk or satin to avoid rough fibers damaging your hair.
- Wear the right hat: Speaking of hats, choose one lined with silk or satin to protect your hair from the rough fibers found in most caps. Cotton hats should also be avoided, as they can strip your hair of moisture. Wear a silk bonnet or hat lining underneath your favorite winter hat to add extra protection.
- Try a protective hairstyle: Even with a hat on, your hair is still exposed to the elements. Try a protective hairstyle like braids or twists to give it extra protection. These styles can help keep your hair moisturized and reduce breakage.
- Avoid heat styling: The heat from styling tools can further damage already dry and brittle hair. To avoid this, try to limit your use of hot tools and opt for styles that can be achieved with minimal heat or none at all.
- Use the right conditioner: A good conditioner can help protect your hair from heat and keep it looking smooth and shiny. In addition to nourishing and moisturizing your hair, these products seal in the cuticle, preventing damage caused by heat. As a result, your hair will appear more polished and put-together, reducing frizz and flyaways.
- Avoid over-styling: While it can be tempting to style your hair with hot tools constantly, it's essential to give your hair a break and let it rest between styling sessions. Over-styling with hot tools can lead to heat damage and breakage, leaving your hair looking dry and lifeless. If you need to style your hair with hot tools, use a heat-protectant hair oil like this one and avoid using the highest heat setting.
- Invest in a quality brush: Using the right brush can make a big difference in the health and appearance of your hair. Look for a gentle brush on your hair that helps reduce breakage and tangles. Natural boar bristle brushes are a good option, as they help distribute your hair's natural oils and leave it shiny and smooth. Avoid using brushes with plastic bristles, as they can be harsh on your hair and lead to breakage.
- Use a silk or satin pillowcase: Sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase can help reduce friction and breakage, keeping your hair smooth and healthy. Pillowcases made of cotton can tangle and break your hair, whereas silk and satin pillowcases minimize frizz and flyaways.
- Trim your hair regularly: Getting regular trims is essential for maintaining the health of your hair. Trimming off split ends can help prevent them from traveling up the hair shaft, causing more damage and breakage. Depending on the condition of your hair, you should get a trim every 6-8 weeks.
- Avoid the elements: Like your skin, your hair is susceptible to damage from the sun's ultraviolet rays. Wear a hat or scarf when you're outside for extended periods to protect your hair from cold, dry wind, and sun damage. You can also use a leave-in conditioner or hair oil with SPF protection to help shield your hair from the sun's damaging rays.
How Can Your Winter Diet Boost Hair Health?
- Fish & Seafood: Salmon, trout, lobsters, and crabs, rich in astaxanthin, combat inflammation and oxidative stress, promoting hair health.
- Nuts: Walnuts, almonds, and more, packed with omega-3 fatty acids, strengthen hair follicles and boost growth.
- Citrus Fruits: Oranges and lemons are not just vitamin C powerhouses, aiding collagen production for stronger hair, but also help in iron absorption.
- Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, and Swiss chard offer iron and vitamins A and C, which are crucial for hair follicle health and sebum production.
- Lean Meats: Protein-rich chicken and turkey provide the essential amino acids needed for hair strength and growth.
- Legumes: Lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas, and soy are excellent plant-based protein sources, vital for hair repair and growth.
- Grapes: Packed with vitamin E and resveratrol, grapes can support hair health and may encourage growth.
What is the Best Hair Oil to Use in Winter?
Keeping your hair healthy and moisturized becomes a top priority when winter rolls in. For this, finding the right hair oil is crucial. One of the best options is using a peptide-enriched hair oil. This type of oil is not just a mere moisturizer; it's a comprehensive treatment for dry, frizzy, and damaged hair, often exacerbated by the cold weather. Its formulation typically includes active peptides that delve deep into the hair structure, strengthening and repairing it from within. Natural ingredients like argan and avocado oils bring in much-needed nourishment, while components like Myristoyl Pentapeptide-17 work to improve hair health at the strand level.
This oil is often lightweight and free from silicones, making it suitable for all hair types and ensuring that it doesn't weigh down your hair. Additionally, the absence of sulfates, alcohol, and other harsh chemicals makes it a safe choice for color-treated hair. Regular application can improve hair texture, strength, and overall health, making it an ideal choice for winter hair care.
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1. What is Seasonal Hair Loss?
Seasonal hair loss, also known as seasonal telogen effluvium, is a phenomenon where increased hair shedding occurs during certain times of the year, particularly in late summer leading to thinner hair in fall and early winter.
2. What Causes Seasonal Hair Loss?
Seasonal hair loss can be attributed to various factors, including changes in hair growth due to exposure to cold, hormonal changes affecting hair growth, and dietary variations across seasons.
3. What Are the Best Treatments for Seasonal Hair Loss?
To combat seasonal hair loss, treatments such as topical minoxidil, plant-based serums, and a diet rich in vegetables, proteins, vitamins, and minerals are effective.
4. How Can I Protect My Hair in Winter?
Protecting hair in winter involves avoiding going out with wet hair, adopting a cold weather wash routine, avoiding hot water and overwashing, using quality hair repair oils and conditioners, and avoiding heat styling.
5. What are Expert Tips for Winter Hair Care?
Expert tips include not going outside with wet hair, adopting a winter-specific hair wash routine, using cool water instead of hot, reducing wash frequency, using high-quality hair repair oil, and wearing hats lined with silk or satin.
6. How Can Diet Boost Hair Health in Winter?
A winter diet that boosts hair health should include fish and seafood for omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, citrus fruits for vitamin C, leafy greens, lean meats for protein, legumes, and grapes for vitamin E and resveratrol.
7. What is the Best Hair Oil to Use in Winter?
The best hair oil for winter is a peptide-enriched hair oil. This oil is comprehensive in treatment, moisturizes without being heavy, and is suitable for all hair types, including color-treated hair.
8. Why is Regular Hair Trimming Important in Winter?
Regular trims are essential in winter as they help maintain hair health by removing split ends and preventing further breakage and damage to the hair.
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2. Kunz M, Seifert B, Trüeb RM. Seasonality of hair shedding in healthy women complaining of hair loss. Dermatology. 2009;219(2):105-10.
3. Courtois M, Loussouarn G, Hourseau S, Grollier JF. Periodicity in the growth and shedding of hair. Br J Dermatol. 1996 Jan;134(1):47-54.
4. Camacho-Martínez FM. Hair loss in women. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2009 Mar;28(1):19-32.
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