This Is the Time of Year That People Lose More of Their Hair—but No One Knows Why

Updated: Feb. 26, 2021

Don't worry, you're not getting old—it may just be the seasons.

HairlossPopTika /Shutterstock

In our society, a full head of luscious locks gives your face an attractive and youthful glow, but we can’t all bask in the fountain of youth forever. As the days go by, Father Time steals our taut skin, our limber joints, and eventually our thick mane of hair. But a new study reveals that age may not be the only hair loss culprit—the seasons play a role too.

In fact, summer and fall are the most popular seasons to search for “hair loss” on Google, according to a study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The researchers used Google Trends, a tool that shows how certain keywords or subjects have been searched over time, to track people’s patterns for hair loss web searches during a 12-year period. As the results pooled together, hair loss searches peaked in summer and fall amongst eight different countries across the globe.

But the catch here is that the study can’t explain why there’s greater hair loss during these two seasons. One hypothesis that’s been circulating in the medical community is the importance of scalp hair, which is needed to protect the tops of our heads from damaging sunburns. But as the days shorten and temperatures cool in late summer and fall, the biological need for this protective head of hair lessens, which means hair loss increases.

And that’s why future research is still needed to confirm the connection and reasoning behind seasonal changes and hair loss.

“This finding is clinically relevant for patients presenting in the summer and fall months with worsened hair loss and has implications in assessing the effectiveness of therapies,” senior author Shawn Kwatra, MD, said in a statement. “Future research will further clarify this association and examine the physiology of the hair cycle.”

Besides cluing you into what season it is, here are eight other things your hair is trying to tell you about your health.