For many of us, wintertime brings the joy of festive gatherings and crisp, cool air. But it can also be a time when wellness requires a little extra work. Whether you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, have skin conditions that flare up in the drier air, or find yourself down with the sniffles seemingly every other week, winter can put excess stress on our bodies. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising, then, that many people feel hair loss increases during the winter. Add it to the list of ways this season strains us! Still, does the science support this anecdotal issue? Well, we’re going to snowmobile right into it and give you our thoughts! Plus, read to the end for our best tips to deal with the potential winter and hair loss connection.
Do You Lose More Hair in the Winter?
The good news is, there isn’t any science to back up a true correlation between winter and hair loss. Now, you might be steeling yourself for some bad news in the form of a “it’s just you” statement, but that isn’t the case either. In fact, we think the answer to this question involves good news all around.
Hair health experts believe that the winter and hair loss connection is valid. But rather than having a science-backed root cause, they feel it likely comes down to lifestyle changes. There are a few natural shifts that occur in our behaviors once the weather chills, and this could be partially to blame for winter hair loss. Add to that the domino effect of dry air, and you’ve got a real correlation.
Factors Contributing to Winter Hair Loss
First on the list is the frequency with which you wash and brush your hair. In the winter, you might still be working up a sweat in the gym. However, you might not generally feel as sweaty from everyday happenings, and this results in less frequent hair washes.
While washing your hair less often can be a good thing, it also reduces the frequency with which you are clearing out the normal shedding of your hair. This means that when you do shower, it might seem like more hair is pulling away as you shampoo, condition, and brush out your hair. In reality, it is likely the same amount, but you're pulling those loose strands from the mass of your hair less often so it seems like more when you do.
The second culprit is a fascinating one: UV protection. According to Iris Rubin, MD, in an interview with Byrdie, “More sunlight during the summer may trigger hairs to enter the telogen (or resting) phase, perhaps as an evolutionary form of extra sun protection.” The idea is that by encouraging the hair to stay thicker (the exogen, or shedding, phase comes after telogen), the body shields the scalp from excess UV.
This is a theory on Rubin’s part, but the idea makes sense! If you can prioritize spending a little extra time in the sun this winter, it might help your mental health and your hair growth.
Now, here comes the real kicker you’ve been waiting for: Yes, the dry air hurts your hair! As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, hair health is essentially an extension of scalp health. Do you know what your scalp doesn’t like? Being dry!
The combined effects of drier air and the dryness that comes with running the heat inside can wreak havoc on the scalp. If you notice any sort of irritation, itchiness and/or flaking, your scalp is dehydrated. This is a key factor in the winter and hair loss conversation, because a dry scalp can contribute to weaker follicles and more brittle strands.
How to Combat Winter Hair Loss
So, what’s the solution? Happily, there are many changes you can make to protect your luscious locks this winter! Let’s talk about them.
1 Don’t panic if you see increased shedding during wash days or brushing. This should only be a concern if you are certain your frequency hasn’t changed.
2 Run a humidifier, especially in your bedroom overnight. This will help to combat the general dryness that running the heat will contribute to your indoor environment.
3 Invest in a super hydrating, scalp-friendly hair care routine. Ahem, we’ve got a full collection to help you achieve this in a jiffy! Explore our DeeplyRooted shampoo, conditioner, serum, and supplement for your best hair ever (winter or otherwise!). Don’t forget to read the reviews, because there are some wintertime nuggets of wisdom in there.
4 Download the dminder app for some helpful daily reminders to get outside and take in that vitamin D. Your mind and body will both thank you on multiple accounts.
We hope this exploration of the connection between winter and hair loss has been informative! Even more so, we hope our tips and tricks can help you enjoy this winter without stressing over excess shedding.
To learn more about all things hair loss, be sure to explore our library of blog posts.