Hair loss is incredibly common, affecting both men and women alike as they age, but new research has found that hair loss peaks during summer and fall. These findings could lead to more effective hair loss treatments aimed at keeping thinning to a minimum.
For the study, published online now in the British Journal of Dermatology , researchers from John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Maryland used Google trends to measure patterns in hair loss Google searches. Google trends is an online search tool that allows users to see how certain keywords or subjects have been searched over a specific period of time.
The researchers specifically looked at peaks of the search term “hair loss” from January 2004 to October 2016 in 8 different countries in both hemispheres.
Using this data, the study concluded that across all eight countries in both hemispheres, summer followed by fall were associated with greater hair loss searches compared to spring and winter. According to lead researcher, Dr. Shawn Kwatra, these findings could help lead to better hair loss treatment.
"This finding is clinically relevant for patients presenting in the summer and fall months with worsened hair loss and has implications in assessing the effectiveness of therapies,” Kwatra said in a recent statement. “Future research will further clarify this association and examine the physiology of the hair cycle."
Of course the study has limitations, with the most apparent being that Google Trend data can shift slightly depending. In addition, the research fails to point to a biological reason as to why hair loss is more common in summer and fall months. This is not the first study to suggest a link between summer and fall hair loss increases.
One hypothesis is that scalp hair is necessary to protect the tops of our heads from the harsh rays of sun, protecting our tender scalps from sunburn. As temperatures cool and sunlight hours shorten in late summer and fall, this need lessens. As a result, hair loss increases. The study suggests that UV index variations may also play a role in hair loss patterns, but emphasizes that more research is needed to confirm this.
Hair loss is normal and healthy, with a 2008 study suggesting that we lose as many as 100 hairs a day. That rate varies slightly depending on your age, with those under 40 losing more hairs on an daily average than those over 40.
Hair loss is pretty inevitable and not brushing or washing hair often will not reduce hair loss, so it’s best to just accept that which you can’t avoid. On the bright side, at least you’ll be in good company.