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June 1, 2021 • read
Hair health with the change of season
Canadians look forward to the lazy, hazy days of summer all year, but the warm, humid weather isn’t always so hot for your hair. That thick, moist air doesn’t just weigh you down, it also flattens your curls. If you have straight hair, the humidity is all but guaranteed to frizz it out. But the change in season won’t just ruin your hairstyle, it can also affect the overall health of your hair. Here’s how to counteract some of the stress the change of season has on your hair.
Hair health and the sun
Getting out from under your winter toque into that warm sunshine is a glorious feeling, but those sun-kissed highlights come with a cost. Just like your skin, your hair is also vulnerable to the sun’s rays. Summer sunshine gives you those natural highlights because your hair is being bleached by UV rays. While your hair colour might be killer, the trade off is drier, more brittle hair.
If the pandemic is keeping you from your regular salon visits, your hair’s dryness may be even more noticeable this summer. To counteract this, bring along a hat with UV protective fabric if you know you’ll be out in the sun for a while. If you have fine or thin hair, this will do double duty and protect your scalp from sunburn as well. You can also use a weekly deep-conditioning treatment to add some additional moisture to your hair, and if you’re a daily hair washer, try alternating days to leave some of your hair’s natural oils intact.
Chlorine is not your friend
Few things are more relaxing than lounging by the pool in the summer. Chlorine, however, is enemy number one when it comes to your hair. Chlorine strips the natural oils from your hair and your skin, leaving both in desperate need of moisture. It can also cause chemical reactions in colour-treated hair and natural hair colour. So if you’re going to take a dip, go prepared. If you regularly swim laps, a bathing cap is a must to keep your hair healthy. For simply lounging in the water, ditch the rubber cap and hang out with your head above water. If that doesn’t work, you can apply a deep conditioning treatment before you take the plunge. Alternatively, you can rinse your hair with cold water before going under. Your hair can only absorb so much water, so it’s better that it takes in the freshwater rather than the chlorine-infused pool water.
Style for the season
If you’ve ever used a clothes iron to straighten your hair, you know that it leaves your locks pin straight and thoroughly fried. The heat from a summer’s day isn’t as drastic, but in combination with hot styling tools, it quickly adds up. If you colour treat your hair, it’s likely to be even more susceptible to damage from heat and the sun. The good news is that summer calls for a more carefree approach to styling. If you can, opt for natural styles over ones that require a curling or straightening iron. And if you have to use a hot styling tool, make sure to protect the health of your hair with a leave-in conditioning treatment first.
Your hormones and your hair
Testosterone is usually thought of as a male hormone. It’s actually present in both sexes, however, and your levels of it are usually higher in the spring and fall. Since fluctuations in hormonal levels can cause you to shed more hair than usual, many of us see additional hair loss during seasonal shifts. Melatonin is another hormone that regulates how the body grows hair, and your body makes less of it with the increased sunshine of the summer months. This likely contributes to having more resting follicles during summer, which are essentially hairs that are just waiting to fall out — so if you notice more hair loss during the dog days of summer, you’re probably right.
Diet and hair health
What you take into your body manifests externally. For some, the change in season comes with a significant change in eating and drinking habits. If your summer diet means drinking more alcohol than usual, or upping your junk food intake, you might see the effects in your hair. Deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals may cause hair loss. Less extreme cases, however, can cause dry, stringy, and dull hair. Limit these effects by eating a balanced diet. Aim for five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and make sure you’re taking in enough protein and fat.
There’s no doubt that the change in season can affect your hair. But if you find that your hair is going through a major transformation, it might be more than just a transition of the equinox. Thyroid disorders, stress, some medications, and illness can all trigger hair changes. If you notice that your hair brush is fuller than usual, or you have to buy a robot vacuum to deal with all the shedding, it’s worth taking stock to see if you have any other symptoms. Your hair loss might be attributable to something other than the change of season.