Is it a beauty myth, or do we really experience a hair growth spurt during summer months? Read on to learn more about the hair cycle and how warmer summer weather can influence the speed of hair growth.
How does the hair growth cycle work?
Every hair goes through what is known as a ‘growth cycle’, which starts at the root or follicle. The first three phases – anagen, catagen and telogen involve the activity of hair follicles, followed by exogen, where the hair sheds (with new hair usually waiting to take its place). Each phase of the growth cycle has its own unique timeline.
Hair growth is also influenced by a variety of factors such as genetics, age, nutrition and medical conditions. For women, we are also subject to hormonal changes that happen throughout our lives which can impact upon our hair cycle – such as pregnancy and menopause.
Does hair really grow faster in the summer – and if so, how?
Yes – your hair growth rate really does speed up during the warmer months of the year. According to the National Institute of Health, hair grows 10% faster during the summer compared with cooler winter months.
Scientists and medical experts are divided on exactly what influences hair’s faster growth rate during summer – but it’s thought to be linked to increased sun exposure and higher temperatures.
Some experts believe that humidity influences hair growth – but research so far suggests that it’s a combination of factors which cause us to experience accelerated hair growth as a result of warmer weather.
As temperatures rise, the body doesn’t need to work as hard to keep our vital organs and extremities warm – improving blood circulation overall. This has a knock-on impact on the health of our hair as blood flow to the scalp increases. With it, the blood brings fresh nutrients which contribute to healthy hair growth.
Vitamin D also plays a part. Just as deficiency in this vital nutrient can result in hair loss, higher levels due to increased sun exposure can actively help the hair to grow more quickly.
We typically tend to see less breakage and friction during summer months, too – as thick and tight-fitting hats and head coverings are packed away for the winter and the hair and scalp can breathe.
How can I support healthy hair growth all year round?
Hair naturally goes through different stages of growth – and each individual hair is following its own growth cycle. Roughly 5% of hair is in the catagen stage at any given time.
There are a number of different factors which influence the overall health of hair, including:
*Healthy, balanced diet: Eating a whole foods diet low in processed, refined, sugary or fatty foods is key to maintaining overall health as well as supporting beautiful skin and hair. Our diet influences many different processes in the body responsible for hair growth, such as vitamin levels and hormones.
*Supplements: Although not a substitute for a nourishing diet, supplements can help to maintain hair health and prevent hair loss, especially for those with medical conditions and those who have dietary restrictions or take certain medications which can affect hair health. Always consult your doctor before introducing any new supplement to your diet, and choose high quality products from reputable sources.
*Handle with care: Always brush and handle your hair gently, taking time to detangle with fingers or a wide-toothed comb first. Never brush your hair when wet, and take extra care with longer hair to avoid snagging and knotting. It’s also best for overall health and the health of your hair and scalp to avoid toxic shampoos and hair products, opting for clean natural alternatives instead.
*Hair protection: Always protect your hair as you would your skin, especially during summer months. SPF sprays specifically designed for the hair and scalp are now available, which can help to prevent damage to hair follicles from sun exposure as well as lessening dryness and breakage.
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