If you’ve been staring at your brush or your shower drain and feeling like you’ve been losing a lot of hair lately, don’t freak out. A new British Journal of Dermatology study suggests that shedding more strands in the summer and fall is totally normal.
A seasonal pattern of hair loss has been long suspected; it’s been observed anecdotally and documented in previous small studies. But those studies have focused on just one demographic or geographic location, so it hasn’t been possible to know if those findings apply to everyone.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins and Washington University changed that by compiling Google Trends data from eight countries in four hemispheres with high search rates for the term “hair loss.” They looked at search volume from 2004 through 2016, and compared the data month to month and season to season.
Across all eight countries, the results were the same: People searched the Internet using phrases related to hair loss more frequently in the summer and fall compared to the winter and spring. The finding is relevant to doctors whose patients complain of hair loss in those two seasons, the authors say, and it may be useful in assessing how effective certain therapies are at treating the condition. But more research is needed, they add, to determine exactly why this pattern happens—and how much patients should care.