Not all Beach Waves and Texture
When Summer equals Hair Fall
Beach parties, pools, and ice cream! Summer comes with its fair share of goodies, one thing it also comes with? Fall.
I’m talking hair fall.
Did you know that August is national hair loss month? Yeah me neither until this article, but I suppose it makes sense. In July and August, as the temperatures rise so too does your risk for hair fall. For like mammals we humans also follow a shed cycle.
Hair Truth and the Summer Difference
First, though, let’s understand the cycle of hair shall we?
First there’s the “growth phase” (anagen). This can last between two to seven years after which it goes into its “regressing phase” (telogen). That lasts for about two months until it starts being shed and the circle of hair growth starts all over again.
It’s important to remember that all hair is not doing this at once, in fact at any time 80–90% of hair is growing leaving 10–20% of hair follicles in the “resting state”.
It is normal to lose 50, 100 or even 150 hair per day (of course this ratio is changeable depending on race, color and hair type.) However — yes the dreaded sentence extender that makes one’s very core sink when reading anything about hair problems *gulp*- “normal” is not by nature defined.
Environmental shock, think stress (from nature, emotion, surgery, illness, etc.), prescription medications, and diet can be a cause for acute telogen effluvium.
Telogen Effluvium is a non-scarring form of alopecia — of course as with anything else there are more chronic or severe versions. Here we’ll focus more on the type caused by “shock”.
Type 1.) The hair follicles stay in a prolonged dormant state (telogen) instead of returning to a growth phase resulting in shedding.
Type 2) The follicles don’t stay dormant but rather cycle through truncated growth cycles. When this happens, the individual experiences thin scalp hair and persistent shedding of short, thin hair fibers
The shed hairs are typically telogen hairs, which can be recognized by a small bulb of keratin on the root end. Whether the keratinized lump is pigmented or unpigmeted makes no difference.
Now when “shock” occurs growing hair follicles decide to go into a resting state for a while. You won’t usually see the effects until two to four months after the shock has occurred and it will last about six months — but don’t panic. New hair starts growing right away and as long as the “shock” doesn’t continue the fall out should wane. Most of the time no one but you will be able to tell anything is amiss.
Up to 70% of hairs can be shocked into resting. Often times the fall out is described as pulling out “handfuls” of hair and most is lost in the process of shampooing/washing — explaining the drain woes. Often, the hair on top of the scalp thins more than it does at the sides and back of the scalp. Still, you’ll most likely be noticing it more then anyone else.
You can’t stop nature:
Tree’s do it. Animals do it, so why not do it too?
July and August, November and December (into mid January) are the two times of year most notable for seasonal shedding due to extreme temperatures/environmental shock.
Daylight exposure significantly alters prolactin levels and that has a significant effect on molting/hair loss.
It’s all perfectly normal and natural, but if more hair falling out makes you panic take it as a sign; you’re worried for a reason.
Use it as an excuse to show your hair a little more TLC in the form of hot oil treatments, deep conditioning, more natural product use, and as a reason to heat style less. You could even use it as a reason to make an appointment with a dermatologist since they have the skills and resources to help you determine if your hair shed is excessive, sometimes just by looking at a follicle! It’ll be okay and your hair will recover and be just as healthy and wonderful as ever!