Losing strands of hair when you brush or untie a ponytail is completely normal, but if your hair shedding has been a bit more extreme recently you shouldn’t panic; there’s a good reason.
A new study from the British Journal of Dermatology found that losing more strands of hair in the summer and autumn is pretty standard practice, no matter where you are in the world.
Researchers compiled Google Trends data from eight countries in four hemispheres with high search rates for the term ‘hair loss’. The findings were observed over a 12-year period, and compared season to season to find that searches relating to hair loss increased in the summer and autumn compared to winter and spring.
Although seasonal hair loss has long been expected, previous studies have only focused on one geographical area, making them less conclusive.
While the study has proven the seasonal theory, authors say more research is needed to find out exactly why this pattern happens, and whether it should affect us.
Co-author Shawn Kwatra, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told Health: “Mildly increased hair loss in the summer and fall is normal. This is speculative, but from an evolutionary perspective one of the roles of hair loss is to provide warmth,” he says. “This would be less necessary during the summer months.”
While it’s normal to lose a certain amount of hair each day (between 50 and 100 hairs), if you’re worried that your shedding is extreme it could be worth seeing a doctor. Hair loss can often be caused by stress, sudden weight loss, diet or even a change in contraceptive pills.
Dr. Kwatra also notes that significant shedding could be a symptom of an underlying health condition, so always best to get checked out if you’re concerned.