While it seems simple enough that hair growth and loss follows a predictable pattern, you may have noticed your own patterns when it comes to the changing seasons and an increase in shedding.
Well, you’re not noticing things. In fact, studies have shown that hair loss does follow a seasonal trend and this has a lot to do with the changes in the amount of sunlight you’re exposed to.
The good news is that you can combat the hair fall, even if you can’t simply turn off the sun. In this article, we take a closer look at this issue.
Make sure to pay close attention to the tips at the end of this piece, because we have some great ways for you to continue your quest of beating hair loss the natural way.
The Science Behind Melatonin and Hair Loss
Seasonal hair loss is most pronounced at the start of autumn during the months of September and October.
While this problem is something you may notice each year, there is nothing magical about the fall that causes you to shed more than the upper limit of 100 hairs a day.
To figure out the key to the problem, we need to go back a bit further to the months of June and July. June 21st marks the longest day of the year, and July is often the hottest month.
You’re simply exposed to a great deal of sunlight in the summer.
When you are exposed to a lot of sun, then your body stops producing as much melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain’s pineal gland that helps to regulate your wake and sleep cycles. Basically, melatonin is released in the evening, after sunset, to make you feel drowsy.
Your hair follicles have receptors for melatonin and also synthesize it.
While melatonin has long been known to play a role in hair growth, studies, like one published in the Journal of Pineal Research, take a closer look at look at melatonin, hair follicles, and the synthesis of melatonin.
Research tells us that melatonin may play a more important role in hair growth than once thought
We now know that without as much melatonin, the hair moves from the anagen or growing phase to the catagen and telogen phases.
After several months, your hair reaches the exogen phase, where it begins to fall out. This is when you start to notice hair loss in the fall.
Prolactin and Hair Loss
While is may seem as though you could simply stay out of the sun so your body produces more melatonin, it’s not that easy. Your body naturally reacts to the number of daylight hours present throughout the day.
Also, getting a good deal of sunlight can help to decrease the amount of prolactin that your body produces.
Prolactin is a hormone that is produced by the pituitary gland that causes hair follicles to move into the catagen phase, where the hair stops growing.
Research shows this, and it confirms the fact that too much prolactin can stunt hair growth.
This means the sun can be good for your hair. The sun also stimulates hair growth due to the exposure of the head to the UV rays.
Hair growth is used to protect the scalp from the ultraviolet rays by growing fuller and stronger.
Fighting Seasonal Hair Loss With Your Diet
If you want to fight the seasonal hair loss that begins in the fall, then you see how you need to start at the very beginning of the summer. Specifically, you want to increase the amount of melatonin that your body produces naturally.
According to one study, certain tropical fruits have been shown to increase melatonin production in humans. Six fruits were tested, but only three showed an increase in melatonin secretion based on urine tests. These fruits include pineapples, bananas, and oranges.
Melatonin Boosting Smoothie
The most satisfying and easiest way to help your body make melatonin is by creating and drinking a fruit smoothie.
A concoction made at least every other day during the summer months is best to provide the body with the nutrients it needs to retain consistent levels of melatonin.
Make your smoothie in your blender. Cut up one banana, one orange, and enough pineapple to fill a one cup measuring cup. Add the pieces to your blender and drop a handful of ice cubes in as well.
Use the pulse function on the appliance to blend the ingredients, pour the smoothie in a cup, and enjoy.
Make sure to always use whole fruits when creating your smoothie instead of fruit juice. Whole fruits contain more antioxidants than juice, and antioxidants promote hair growth.
Protecting Your Hair From The Sun
Sitting out in the sun for at least 15 or 20 minute every day can help you combat seasonal hair loss by keeping your prolactin levels low.
The sun can also boost the amount of vitamin D that you body produces. You may already know that a vitamin D deficiency can lead to hair loss, so the sun works two-fold to keep thinning at bay.
The UV rays from the sun can also induce production of nitric oxide in the capillaries in the scalp consequently increasing blood flow.
While the sun has its benefits, UV radiation can cause substantial hair damage. This leads to breakage and hair loss.
You can prevent sun damage by gently rubbing a natural mineral sunscreen along the scalp and the hair.
Simply place a pea-sized dab of zinc oxide sunscreen in your palm, rub it between your hands, and gently smooth your hair with your palms.
Wearing a wide brimmed hat can help too, but make sure the hat is made from a breathable material like cotton, so the scalp is provided with good airflow.
Oil Treatments For Your Hair
If your hair starts to feel dry and sun damaged, despite your efforts, then you should apply an oil treatment to both the scalp and the hair.
Coconut oil is a good choice, but you should purchase a virgin or unrefined product. This type of oil is healthier and more beneficial due to reduced manufacturing.
As we have already discussed, magnesium oil can encourage hair growth, so now is a good time to use the oil as well.
Create your treatment by adding four tablespoons of coconut oil and two tablespoons of magnesium to a dish. Mix with a spoon and use your hands to massage the oil into your skin and scalp.
The graph below shows how coconut oil reduces protein loss in different hair types.
Allow the oil to rest on your head for 30 minutes and then wash your hair.
Use the treatment as needed when you hair appears dry.
Seasonal shedding can be troublesome and confusing, but you can combat the problem by boosting the amount of melatonin that you body produces naturally.
You can also seek out the sun to keep prolactin levels in check and boost the amount of vitamin D that your body makes. Just make sure to follow the steps in this guide to protect your scalp and your hair from sun damage.