Why do you lose more hair in autumn?

You might have noticed significantly more hair on your hair brush in the autumn months, especially around October and November – know that you are not alone. Not only shifts in temperatures that causes that, but also some evolutionary as well as hormone-related factors that comes into play for autumnal hair loss. So what exactly happens in autumn that leads you to lose more hair?

Humans tend to shed between 50 and 100 hairs every day, a direct result of the hair growth phases. A typical strand of hair has a life cycle of between 24 and 72 months (2 and 6 years) during which time it will grow normally. However around 10 per cent of your hair may be in a “resting” phase (known as telogen), at which point the hair falls out. But hair doesn’t fall out as soon as it enters the “resting” phase – in fact it takes some time to leave the follicle, namely 3 months (90-100 days).

Hair loss peaks in early autumn

Studies show that humans experience slightly higher rates of telogen during the summer months of July and early August – and, seeing the affected hairs falling out leaving the follicles around 90-100 days later. This falls around mid October to November, also known as autumn hair shedding or “autumn shed”.

Exactly why this happens is unclear, but some suggest that stress brought on by summer heat on your scalp may provide some explanation, as well as some evolutionary hypothesis of our primate ancestors needing to “change the fur” ahead of the colder winter months. Your hormones and endocrine (hormone secretion & regulation) system are also fluctuating with the changes in seasons – with some studies reporting lower activity of your thyroid which can result in changes in hair growth patterns.

This graph shows amount of hair lost over a period of 4 days by month. There is a visible spike of hair loss between August and October.

Another factor plays into this is lifestyle. Although you might have spent your summer relaxing, in a way some of these changes in your behaviour, might have actually put you under stress. Think about caring for your kids that are out of school for the summer, navigating planning and getting to your vacation destinations, eating unfamiliar foods when you’re away, not sleeping as much, drinking more “cocktails by the pool” and “beers in the sun” than usual. All those can finally catch up with you and your hair health by the time autumn comes.

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To top that, as autumn approaches, not only your hair loss might have increased but the hair growth rate has also slowed down. The graph below shows, as the summer passes by and autumn approaches – the amount of hair in anagen (growth) stage decreases:

Anagen hair growth stage based on seasons
This graph from the study in University of Bradford shows a visible dip in the amount of hair in anagen (growth) stage) as the summer is coming to an end. This means that less of your hair will be growing as autumn arrives.

Ways to tackle autumnal hair shedding

To support your hair growth in autumn months, ahead of the winter season – it’s important to restart your regular regimen of caring for you and your hair ahead of winter months:

  • take your vitamins – usual A-Z that you can get at any drugstore to support your hair growth from within
  • ensure you continue taking sufficient amount of fibre through fruits & vegetables – as well as protein, necessary for your scalp to growth healthy hair
  • developing a scalp care regimen that focuses on the blood flow to your scalp to support your hair follicles to start regrowing hair that’s falling out
  • continue spending time outdoors, as this positively influences your mental health and as a result – your hair health
  • getting in tune with your body and finding the exercise that will inspire you to stick to it
  • do a blood check – to identify any specific deficiencies your body might have

Unhealthy and unbalanced body can’t grow healthy hair and when you spent your summer caring for others, autumn offers a great opportunity to turn inwards and care for yourself. Our hair growth calendar helps you back into a balanced and healthy approach to your hair.

Sources:

  • Seasonal changes in hair growth (1)
  • Seasonal variation of estradiol, follicle stimulating hormone, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate in women and men (2)
  • Hormone seasonality in medical records suggests circannual endocrine circuits (3)

Who we are:

The Hair Fuel is an all-natural hair growth mask created by Laura Sagen, who lost a third of her hair after a terrible visit to a hairdresser while suffering from a life-long condition of PCOS associated with androgenic hair thinning. She developed the formulation rooted in science of scalp blood flow, which has become The Hair Fuel growth mask. Since then, her company has helped thousands of people like you to start growing healthy hair.

We work closely with our lab and manufacturers to ensure the highest quality product. But a product alone is never enough – so we hold your hand throughout your own, unique hair growth journey. Our flagship product, The Hair Fuel mask coupled with tailored advice, digital tools and online support are there to help you grow the best hair you can. It’s a big claim – but we’re unafraid to make it. Check out our starter bundles >>

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