New Google Data Supports Theory Of Seasonal Human Hair Loss

Woman with problematic hair

As if you didn’t have enough reasons to worry about losing your hair, seasonal hair loss may be normal, new data finds. According to a study recently published in the British Journal of Dermatology, hair loss experienced during the summer and fall months is an ordinary occurrence experienced by many around the globe.

Time Magazine reports that seasonal hair loss has long been predicted by scientists and researchers, but studies have never been comprehensive or widespread enough to accurately apply the results on a global scale. Surprisingly enough, researchers E.Y. Hsiang, Y.R. Semenov, C. Aguh, and S.G. Kwatra from Johns Hopkins and Washington University were able to compile data from eight different countries in four hemispheres using Google Trends data.

The researchers compiled search rates for the phrase “hair loss” between 2004 and 2016. After comparing the volume of searches by month and season, the results were that “hair loss” and related phrases were searched for more often in the summer and fall months than in those during winter and spring. However, despite these findings, the authors of the study said more research would need to be conducted to understand why this happens.

“Mildly increased hair loss in the summer and fall is normal,” said Dr. Shawn Kwatra. “This is speculative, but from an evolutionary perspective, one of the roles of hair loss is to provide warmth. This would be less necessary during the summer months.”

Many mammals shed their hair during the summer and grow thicker hair during the winter, making the concept of seasonal hair loss in humans that much more plausible. Additionally, although gender wasn’t indicated in the Google Trends data, Kwatra says seasonal hair loss is more often reported in women than men. Up to 21 million women in the U.S. are currently experiencing hair loss.

However, seasonal hair loss and hair loss caused by female or male patterned baldness are different conditions. Losing between 50 to 100 hairs every day with a slightly higher number during warmer months is normal, according to the American Academy of Dermatologists. Losing a greater number than 100 hairs a day, especially during the winter or spring, may warrant a doctor visit.

Nearly a third of all American women choose to change their hair after a breakup or divorce. However, stressful events such as these as well as changes in diet or lifestyle choices can also sometimes spur hair loss.

Those who are concerned by their hair loss or are losing significant amounts of hair may want to consider a doctor’s visit, Kwatra says, as significant hair loss may be a sign of an underlying health problem. But for those distressed by a slight increase in hair loss during the warmer seasons, there’s no reason to be concerned.

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