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.
“Mildly increased hair loss in the summer and fall is normal,” co-author Shawn Kwatra, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, tells Health. “This is speculative, but from an evolutionary perspective one of the roles of hair loss is to provide warmth,” he says. “This would be less necessary during the summer months.”
According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, it’s normal to lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day. Noticing a little extra hair in the shower drain may be nothing to worry about, says Dr. Kwatra, especially if it’s during a warm-weather month.
In addition to seasonality, hair loss can be caused by a stressful event (like childbirth or a high fever), weight loss of more than 20 pounds, or a change in birth-control pills. Factors like diet, heredity, and thyroid levels can play a role as well.
Luckily, not all hair loss is permanent, and your doctor may be able to suggest remedies—like supplements or topical treatments—that may help to slow the process. Significant hair loss may also indicate another underlying health condition, says Dr. Kwatra, so it’s important to get checked out by a pro.