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Expert Tips for Protecting Your Hair in Cold Weather

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.
  • Reduced hair growth in the fall and winter 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:

  1. Don't go outside with wet hair: When it's freezing outside, it's tempting to wash your hair and run out the door. But 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Don't overwash: While it's essential to keep your hair clean, 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Trim your hair regularly: Getting regular trims is essential for maintaining the health of your hair. Trimming off split ends can help to 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.
  14. Avoid the sun: Like your skin, your hair is susceptible to damage from the sun's ultraviolet rays. To protect your hair from sun damage, wear a hat or scarf when you're outside for extended periods. 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.

These tips help keep your hair healthy, smooth, and shiny all winter. Don't let the cold weather get the best of your hair – with the proper care, you can keep your tresses looking their best all season long.


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Randall, Valerie Anne and F. J. G. Ebling. "Seasonal changes in human hair growth." British Journal of Dermatology 124 (1991).
Kunz, Michael, Burkhardt Seifert and Ralph M Trüeb. "Seasonality of Hair Shedding in Healthy Women Complaining of Hair Loss." Dermatology 219 (2009): 105 - 110.

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