No, you're not imagining things — seasonal hair loss most definitely exists, and it could be the reason you're losing hair in winter. A widening hair part or pulling out clumps in the shower is enough to send anyone into a tizzy, but this shedding is totally normal, experts say.
The reason people experience more hair loss in the winter and late fall months is related to fewer hours of sunlight. When the sun shines bright in the summer, our bodies produce more hair to give our sensitive scalps some cover. The body lets go of these extra hairs in the autumn and winter because the days are shorter and subsequently there's less sun. It may look like you're losing more hair than normal, but that's only because your hair is returning to its winter baseline.
"There has been some research that has shown that there is some seasonality to [shedding]," dermatologist Jeremy Fenton, MD, told Allure. "One study showed that human hair has the highest number of hairs in the telogen phase in July, and a second smaller peak in April. Hairs in the telogen phase generally fall out 100 days later, which means that people would see a shedding at the end of the summer and into the fall. These hairs are not necessarily lost forever, as a healthy hair follicle will then eventually cycle back into its growth phase."
While there may not be much you can do to prevent this natural hair loss during winter, you can do your best to protect and strengthen the hair you do have. Cold weather and wind can be brutal on hair, so a thickening shampoo and conditioner and a rejuvenating hair mask will do wonders in terms of restoring volume and shine. Fenton also recommends taking hair-fortifying supplements like biotin and avoid wearing hats frequently, as this can cause friction that leads to hair breakage.
If you notice hair loss in localized patches, you may want to bring this up with your doctor, as this may be unrelated to natural hair loss during the winter season and a symptom of another underlying condition.
Doesn't Mother Nature make you want to pull your hair out sometimes? Still, it's comforting to know that seasonal hair loss shouldn't be the cause of any meltdowns.