Blocked shower drains alert! Why does our hair fall out in winter?

17th November 2017 / Gabriela Czwarnos 

I bloody love sharing a house with 4 girls; countless film nights in (usually with bubbles, let’s be honest), 3-hour long brekkie chats on Saturday mornings and clothes that circulate from room to room (you know, one person’s trash and all that). But there is one thing that is becoming a massive pain, especially lately: permanently blocked shower drains. Unfortunately, we’ve all noticed that we have been losing more hair than usual.

Let’s not panic yet though, according to scientists we are not going bold! Hair loss during cold months is completely normal. So here’s how it goes: your hair grows between 2 and 6 years. At any time, 90% of it is growing and only 10% is in a resting state for 2 to 6 months, before it finally falls out. The hair follicle then rests for approximately 3 months and the whole process starts again. According to researchers, we have the highest proportion of resting hairs in July and they start falling out around 100 days later, which means, now.

If you are like me and are a bit of a geek, then you probably want to ask – in the words of every 3-year old – ‘but, why?’ There are few theories… some scientists think that this seasonal hair loss is occurring to protect the head from harmful UV rays in summer by holding onto hair longer and releasing them once it’s cloudier. Others believe that this pattern might be evolutionary and it’s something we’ve inherited from our furrier ancestors.

In addition, according to doctors, when the temperature drops our body focuses on keeping blood going to the vital organs first, leaving the hair follicles to become its least worry, as we don’t need it to survive.

As you can see, we can’t really stop this process. However, there are things we can do to make sure our hair is in top condition all year round. We’ve asked Anabel Kingsley, Trichologist and Hair Care Expert at Philip Kingsley to share her top tips with us:

Keep it clean

You cleanse and moisturize your face in the morning with products for your skin type, so start your day by shampooing and conditioning your hair with products formulated for your hair texture. Physiologically, hair health is closely interlinked to scalp health, so frequent shampooing cleans and optimizes the scalp environment. In addition, clean hair also reflects light much better than dirty or coated hair.

Go halfway up

One of the most common causes of limp hair we see is an incorrect application of conditioner. Only apply conditioner to your mid-lengths and ends, where the hair is older and it’s needed the most. If you use it too close to your roots you will simply weigh them down.

Look at your diet

At least once a day we have someone sitting in our consultation room professing they are eating an incredibly healthy diet. They do not snack and have fresh fruit for breakfast followed by a salad for lunch with a bit of chicken or fish. While this may be fine for your body, it’s simply not enough for your hair – and the wrong diet is a very common cause of excessive daily hair loss.

While hair is incredibly important to us psychologically, physiologically our body could not care less. Any nutrients ingested first go to essential systems, with hair (a non-essential tissue) receiving whatever is left over. To help ensure you are in-taking adequate nutrients for hair growth, eat at least 120g of protein at breakfast and lunch as hair is made primarily of protein (think: eggs, fish, beans, nuts, cheese). Energy to form hair cells drops four hours after eating, so if longer than this is left between meals, snack on a nutrient dense carbohydrate, such as fresh fruit or whole grain crackers.

Brush it… up! 

Incorrect detangling can cause a lot of breakages, which can lead to thinner mid-lengths and ends. To detangle, start at your ends and gradually and gently work your way up. Brushing from the top can worsen tangles and snap strands.

Colouring done right

Colouring your hair can give it depth and warmth. Highlights may also make fine or thinning hair appear thicker as they add texture and swells strands. You just have to ensure that the benefits of colouring are not negated by damage. Try not to process your hair more than every 8 weeks, or you will notice your hair overlapping and breaking. To keep your hair healthy in-between colour, use a weekly intensive pre-shampoo conditioning treatment. However, there is no evidence to suggest that colouring hair causes it to fall out more, or lead to thinner hair diameters.