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The scientific reason why you shed the most hair in the fall and winter


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Photo: Stocksy/Susana Ramirez

It’s a tale as old as time: Once fall rolls around, your showers may end with what looks like a small, furry animal hanging around the drain. But this doesn’t mean you’re going bald (but keep your stress in check to help maintain healthy follicles)—there’s actually a scientific reason why you shed more in the colder months.

“There is evidence that people can note increased shedding in the late fall and winter months,” dermatologist Emily Wise, MD, told Allure. “In the summer months, we hang on to more hair to provide increased protection from the sun.”

“In the summer months, we hang on to more hair to provide increased protection from the sun.”

Then, as summer ends, it’s not uncommon for women to start losing some of the hair they held onto during the summer for a late-onset “shed” phase. But the increase in shedding is likely just temporary, Dr. Wise continued.

Aside from keeping your scalp hydrated and moisturized, as well as taking your vitamins (biotin and iron, in particular!), there’s not much you can do about seasonal shedding. And, according to dermatologist Jeremy Fenton, MD, docs aren’t in total agreement about why the scheduled shedding happens in the first place: Some think it’s based on evolution, and others believe it’s the body’s way of lessening shedding come wintertime.

“These hairs are not necessarily lost forever, as a healthy hair follicle will then eventually cycle back into its growth phase,” Dr. Fenton told Allure.

So don’t let extra shedding get you down—or send you into a panic. Instead, invest in a pretty hair catcher for your drain and daydream about the first day of spring.

This coconut oil hack could make your hair grow faster. And if you’re ever in need of a hair-protecting treatment, make your own with apple cider vinegar.

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