Why you’re more likely to experience hair loss in the autumn – and how to treat it

Seasonal hair loss more commonly occurs during the autumn months. (Getty Images)
Seasonal hair loss more commonly occurs during the autumn months. (Getty Images) (Rattankun Thongbun via Getty Images)

If you’ve noticed that you’ve experienced more hair loss than usual over the past month or so, you’re not alone.

It’s a phenomenon called seasonal hair loss, and studies have found that it is more likely to occur during the autumn months.

While some hair loss or hair thinning, such as male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss, can be due to genetic factors and be more permanent, seasonal hair loss is instead temporary and caused by a lack of nutrients.

What is seasonal hair loss?

"Seasonal hair loss is when, on a regular basis at a certain time of year, you experience more hair shedding than at other times," trichologist Eva Proudman of UK Hair Consultants, says.

Proudman adds that seasonal hair loss typically occurs from September through to the end of November.

Seasonal hair loss causes and treatment

Proudman explains that seasonal hair loss is caused by lack of vitamin D in the autumn and winter months as days get shorter and we have less sunlight exposure.

"The increase in vitamin D from the sun and longer days in the summer cause hair to stay in the growing phase for longer than is usual during the summer months," Proudman says.

sun vitamin D
Vitamin D from sun exposure can help with hair growth. (Getty Images) (Westend61 via Getty Images)

"When the sunshine hours reduce, levels of vitamin D that we are exposed to reduces too and the hair that has been in the growing phase starts to shed which causes seasonal shedding. It is just the growing and shedding cycle returning to normal and not hair loss."

Proudman adds that seasonal hair loss is "nothing to worry about" and that taking a vitamin D supplement can be beneficial, along with eating a balanced diet filled with protein.

Difference between seasonal and permanent hair loss

While seasonal hair loss generally only occurs for two to three months each year, more permanent hair loss can happen on an ongoing basis.

"If the shedding persists beyond three to four months, this is a sign that it may be more than seasonal shedding," Proudman explains.

"If there are patches of loss, or areas of scalp that seem more visible, these are all signs that it is not seasonal and you should seek a diagnosis so that you know and understand what you have and how to treat and manage it."

Along with speaking to your GP or a dermatologist to determine what is causing your hair loss, Proudman suggests addressing your diet and mental health and these can also be factors in hair shedding.

asian man standing in front of mirror is concerned about hair loss or alopecia
Some hair loss can be permanent. (Getty Images) (PonyWang via Getty Images)

"Eating a good balanced diet, keeping hydrated with good quality sleep is a good start," she adds.

"Trying to manage and limit stress is also beneficial to the hair as is some regular exercise. If you experience excessive itching or flaking to the scalp, with lots of shedding or thinning then seek advice as it may be a number of different conditions, all of which are very manageable and treatable."

The NHS says that male pattern baldness and female pattern hair loss are permanent, and are usually inherited through genetics. It adds that, along with seasonal hair loss, temporary hair loss can come from an illness, stress, weight loss, cancer treatment and iron deficiency. So it’s worth determining the cause of your hair loss before starting treatment.

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