Despite the fact that winter, for the most part, didn’t really seem to make much of an appearance this year, the weather gurus are assuring us that spring is on its way. The arrival of spring is usually associated with the Easter bunny and umbrellas, and maybe even some shedding? If you have ever been a pet owner you are probably very familiar with seasonal shedding and have the extra fancy vacuum cleaner to prove it, but have you ever noticed this pattern in your own hair?
Our hair grows in cycles. There are three main stages to each cycle. The hair cycle begins with a growth phase, which is when the growing of the hair strand takes place. Eventually the hair stops growing, enters a resting phase, and finally falls out, making room for growth of a new hair and the start of a new hair cycle. Therefore it is completely normal to lose an average of 50-100 hairs in any given day.
Moreover both hormones and environmental signals have been observed to influence the hair cycle1,2. Variation in daylight hours in particular has been shown to have an impact1. During the shorter days of the winter, the proportion of hairs in the growing phase of the hair cycle is higher3. By summer, these hairs have reached their maximum length3 and are ready to be shed by the fall, completing the hair cycle4. Even body hairs follow a similar pattern3. Of course not every single strand of hair on your head will conform to this seasonal cycling but there might be a big enough increase from your regular shedding to be noticeable, especially if you prefer a longer hairstyle. As the second-most popular time of the year for shedding, you might notice the additional hair loss in the spring as well4.
Fortunately seasonal shedding is usually mild and self-limiting, with new hair growth occurring as part of the cycle5. The up-coming spring shed is something to consider however when trying new hair restoration procedures and medications. Those previously diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder may be impacted even more6. Overall, keep in mind the time of the year and your own seasonal hair shedding trends when assessing your hair restoration progress.
Article by: Dr. J.L. Carviel, PhD, Mediprobe Research Inc.
1 – Ebling, FJG. The hormonal control of hair growth. Hair and Hair Diseases (Orfanos CE, Happle R, eds) Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1990: 267-99.
2 – Messenger, AG. The control of hair growth: an overview. J Invest Dermatol 1993: 101 (Suppl.):4-9.
3 – Saitoh M, lizuka M, and Sitkamato M. Human hair cycle. Invest Dermatol 1970: 54:65-81.
4 – Courtois M, Loussouarn G, Hourseau S, and Grollier JF. Periodicity in the growth and shedding of hair. Br J Dermatol 1996: 134(1):47-54.
5 – Headington JT. Telogen effluvium: new concepts and review. Arch Dermatol 1993: 129:356-363.
6 – Wehr TA, Duncan Jr WC, Sher L, Aeschbach D, Schwartz PJ, Turner EH, et al. A circadian signal of change of season in patients with seasonal affective disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2001: 58:1115-6.