How To Avoid Seasonal Hair Shedding During the Cold Months

Seasonal hair change

The colder season is upon us, and during these winter months it pays off to spend a little extra time and effort on your hair. In a previous post, three experts explained why seasonal hair shedding is occuring. We are continuing with this subject by asking dermatologists Jeremy Fenton and Emily Wise Shanahan what precautions you can take to avoid experiencing seasonal hair loss.

How to Keep Your Hair Health During the Winter Months

“It is always a good idea to make an extra effort in the winter months”, Dr Emily Wise Shanahan tells Nutrafol. “Keep the hair hydrated and moisturized. Use a deep conditioning mask. Likewise, limiting heat styling can be helpful for the same reasons,” she continues.

Dr Jeremy Fenton is of the same opinion: “To prevent breakage of winter hair it is recommended to moisturize with a conditioner. And avoid too much friction from prolonged wearing of hats.”

Another way to give your hair a helping hand when the temperature drops a few degrees is to do what your mother has been telling you since you where little: Take your vitamins!

“You can strengthen the hair that you have by taking supplements”, says Dr Fenton. “Biotin is one of the most effective options out there. And it is available over the counter at most drugstores. It may not prevent shedding, but it can prevent breakage, and also make the hair you do have actually appear thicker.”

What To Look For in A Supplement

seasonal shedding
One way to prevent breakage of winter hair is to moisturize with a conditioner.

Even if a supplement will not stop seasonal hair shedding, giving your body the nutrients it needs will show in the health of your hair. Nutrafol’s supplement is all natural and when regularly taken helps ensure your hair is as healthy and strong as possible throughout the year. One of the benefits of Nutrafol nutraceuticals is that they stimulates the follicles to enter into the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle. This can prevent some of your hair from entering that telogen phase of summer that we have mentioned in previous texts, and ultimately reduce the cold season hair shedding. When using the Nutrafol supplement, it is important to note you might have to give it a few months to notice a difference. As always when starting to take a new supplement, it takes time for the body to adjust to the change.

How Do I Know If It Is Seasonal Hair Shedding?

Make sure to pay extra attention to the part of your hair that is shedding. That way you will be able to tell if the hair shedding is seasonal or if there is a bigger underlying problem – like female pattern baldness. By looking closely, you will also be able to see if what you are experiencing is shedding or hair breaking off.

“With the winter months comes drier weather and hats rubbing against the hair. Dry, brittle hair is more likely to break, and the friction of hats can further contribute to this. Although this is not true hair ‘loss’, it can make your hair appear thinner,” says Dr Fenton.

When Should You Worry About Hair Shedding?

“There is no need to panic if you find a few strands on your pillowcase or clothes”, says Dr Wise Shanahan.

There is no need to push the “panic button” unless you find local bald patches, or if your hair shedding is focused to a specific area, such as the front of your hairline or the top of your head.

“This may represent a different type of hair loss and should be evaluated by a doctor”, Dr Wise Shanahan explains.


Movember and You – Tips on How to Make Your Facial Hair Grow Faster


With November comes a great responsibility for men, the responsibility of growing as much facial hair as possible during the length of the month. It is famously referred to as “Movember”, which is why a mustache is the preferred type of facial hair to grow, and it is meant to be a time of raising awareness for different types of cancer, in particular, prostate cancer.

The Movember Movement

The movement started in Australia in 1999 and has become so big that it raises not only awareness, but also hundreds of millions of dollars during November every year.

Preparation for Movember often starts the day before, on October 31st. Many men shave so that they can start growing out their facial hair as a symbol of awareness during the month. However, some men experience difficulties growing it out during such a short time frame. If you are one of the men having trouble growing a full beard or a thick mustache in just a month’s time, there can be a variety of reasons why this is so.

Why Isn’t My Facial Hair Growing?

Have you given it enough time? One of the most simple reasons could be just that – lack of patience and time. Some men tend to reach for the razor as soon as their beard starts to itch or they feel that it looks too scruffy.

  • So keep in mind…
    …that it usually takes around four weeks to grow a thick beard. However, it varies by individual so for some men it might take longer than four weeks. Take the opportunity this month to actually see how well your beard grows. Based on your results, you will be able to determine if genetics is the reason your facial hair is not growing in the desired way. Or if it is something else – like alopecia barbae.

What Other Reasons Are There?

How about taking a look at your diet? Keeping a healthy lifestyle is not only important for your body and your hair, it is also important for your facial hair. The rule of thumb to keep in mind is that your diet is an important part of all your hair growth. Many foods have vitamins that help promote healthy hair growth.

Movember is here!
Keeping a healthy lifestyle is not only important for your body and for your hair, it is also important for your facial hair.

Vitamin A regulates the synthesis of retinoic acid in the follicle and is an essential component of hair growth and maintenance. It works with zinc to prevent the drying and clogging of the sebaceous glands in the scalp and lubricates the follicles and roots.

There are eight B Vitamins and they are often referred to as the Vitamin B-complex, which includes B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12. This complex plays a huge role in keeping you healthy. They affect your energy, metabolism, nerves, muscles, skin, nails and hair. The vitamin B-complex promotes cell growth and cell division, which is important for facial hair growth. If you feel like your hair is not growing as fast as it normally does, you might have a vitamin B deficiency. In that case, make sure to take your supplements.

Vitamin C has an important role as an antioxidant, that prevents free radicals from damaging the hair follicles. It is also responsible for the synthesis of collagen in the body. Collagen in turn, keeps our skin and scalp healthy and flexible. Vitamin C also works to block the production of DKK-1, a protein that many people who suffer from hair loss have too much of. DKK-1 is sometimes known as “the baldness protein”.

Impossible to Grow a Movember Beard? You Could Have Alopecia Barbae

Alopecia Barbae and facial har

Movember is upon us and with that a lot of unshaven beards and mustaches. November is the month that represents the fight against diseases that primarily affect men, prostate cancer in particular. To show solidarity with this cause, thousands of men drop their buzzer and let beards grow freely for the month. But this is easier said than done for some. Not all men can easily grow facial hair, and though it can have genetic reasons, there could also be an underlying medical reason.

Genetic Reasons Why Facial Hair Will Not Grow

The main reason why some men cannot grow a full-length beard is that they are less sensitive to the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone synthesizes into another hormone called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. DHT decides how much facial hair you grow. If you are more sensitive to these hormones you will grow more facial hair and vice versa. If this is the case, there is nothing you can do about it. However, there is also a possibility that you are suffering from a medical condition called Alopecia Barbae.

Movember Could Help Reveal Whether You Suffer From Alopecia

You will not know whether you are capable of growing a full beard until you try. So Movember could be the perfect opportunity to find out whether you may suffer from a particular type of hair loss. Alopecia barbae only affects facial hair, not the hair on the head.

The most common type of hair loss, androgenetic alopecia, affects most men and women as we age. For men, it is most common that it begins with a receding frontal hairline. In women, the hair normally thins out gradually and begins on the crown of the head. There is also a form of hair loss called alopecia areata, which is considered an autoimmune disease. If you suffer from this, your immune system attacks your hair follicles and they stop producing hair.

Alopecia barbae is more specific embodiment of the general condition, alopecia areata. Both are caused by an autoimmune disease, but alopecia barbae is the diagnosis when the facial hair is affected. It usually starts with a small bald patch in your beard, but can quickly become several bald patches. Many men ignore it at first, not paying much attention to a small bald spot. But identifying it early on can make it easier to find a solution.

What to do About it

Unfortunately there is no good cure for this type of hair loss as it is the body’s own immune system attacking the follicles. Some have seen results with steroid injections or tacrolimus cream.

When it comes to natural treatments, there is little science to back up their efficacy. Pure aloe vera and a combination of essential oils of thyme, lavender, rosemary and cedar wood applied on the effected spots, are said to have produced positive results in some men. Aloe vera is a well known anti-oxidant, that can help remove toxic elements from the skin.

Alopecia Barbae
Alopecia barbae only affects facial hair, not the hair on the head. So, movember could help reveal whether you suffer from it.

You can also check for other symptoms, like hair loss on the scalp, fatigue, changes in your weight, or trouble sleeping. This could mean you have a thyroid disorder, which is treatable.

Make sure you get a nutritious diet and all the essential vitamins you need to grow healthy hair. You can get these essential nutrients for healthy hair growth by adding a natural vitamin supplement. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important for all your hair growth. On top of a balanced diet, make sure you exercise, get enough sleep and drink enough water. And remember, you can still support Movember and the fight against prostate cancer, even if you do not grow a beard!

Movember and Hair Growth – This Could be Why Your Beard is Not Growing

Movember is the month when men stop shaving to show their support for the fight against prostate cancer – but growing a beard can be hard. Not everyone is genetically able to grow facial hair. Many are the men who claim that this leads to beard envy, something that makes the dark month of November even tougher to deal with than it already is.

What is Movember?

The Movember movement was launched by two buddies in Australia in 2003. Their purpose was to bring the mustache back into fashion. A year later, they decided to take it to the next level and register a foundation to raise money to fight prostate cancer. 480 people donated to the cause. Today, in 2017, 20 countries are participating in Movember. It is ranked as number 49 out of the top 500 non-governmental organizations around the world.

Why Growing a Beard is Harder For Some

Those who cannot grow facial hair easily may feel left out among all their hairy friends during Movember. Growing a beard is supposedly a sign of being masculine and strong, and society has us believe that men “should” be able to do it. But do not despair! You can be just as manly without a beard, and there are many ways you can show your support for cancer patients that does not require facial hair.

The most common reason why some men have a hard time growing a beard is genetic. It is the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is synthesized from testosterone, that is responsible for growing facial hair. Those who are sensitive to testosterone will grow more facial hair, while those who are less sensitive to testosterone will have less facial hair. On the other hand – if you belong to the first group who has an easier time growing a beard, you’re ironically much more likely to go bald on the head. That is because DHT is the hormone that is responsible for shrinking the hair follicles on our head, something that slowly kills the hair production.

It is well known in beard circles that Asian men have a particularly hard time growing a beard. According to a small survey by the website Beardbrand, 56% of the Asian men that participated in the survey had tried to grow a beard but were not able. 

Back in the 1960’s, scientists tried to remedy the problem by applying testosterone in a cream directly to the scalp of balding men. The study was supposed to go on for ten months, but most subjects dropped out of the study before the end. No results could be confirmed.

How to grow a beard
If you are sensitive to testosterone, you will grow more facial hair. But if you are less sensitive to testosterone, less facial hair.

How to Get That Beard Going the Natural Way

If you want to grow a beard but it seems impossible, there are natural ways to put your facial hair on the right track. There are many medications that claim to increase hair and beard growth.

Look at your general lifestyle and review whether you get enough exercise, sleep, water and nutrients. All of these factors will affect how your hair grows and what kind of beard you could possibly get.

There could also be a medical reason behind your issue. If your levels of testosterone are abnormally low, a doctor can prescribe hormones. Another reason for your loss of facial hair could be a medical condition called alopecia barbae, which starts with a small bald batch in your beard.

One final piece of advice comes from the captain of Beard Team USA, Phil Olsen, who travels the world to take part in international beard and mustache competitions. He has a foot long beard and emphasizes the importance of eating a lot of proteins. He also thinks beer plays a part.
“All I can say is I’ve been to many beard competitions, both in the U.S. and Europe, and there’s a very high correlation between beard growing and beer drinking,” he says in a recent interview.

Study: Biotin Deficiency in Women with Hair Loss

Biotin Deficiency and hair loss

Many hair growth supplements contain biotin, but science is skeptical about its effectiveness.

Biotin – also known as vitamin H or vitamin B7 – is a popular ingredient in many hair growth supplements. It’s an important factor in many biological processes, including the growth of healthy skin, nails, and hair. Symptoms of biotin deficiency include hair loss, face rashes, red eyes, and even psychological symptoms such as depression. Hair loss usually only occurs when there is a more severe deficiency. In people with a biotin deficiency, taking a biotin supplement can help, but can biotin improve hair growth in otherwise healthy people?

Study Looking at Biotin Deficiency in Women with Hair Loss

A study by Dr Ralph Trüeb, MD, published in 2016 in the International Journal of Trichology, looked at how often biotin deficiency was seen in women with hair loss. What he found casts doubts on the indiscriminate use of biotin supplementation.

A total of 503 women and girls between the ages of 9 and 92 who contacted the Center for Dermatology and Hair Diseases Professor Trüeb, with complaints of hair loss – and whose biotin levels were measured – were included in the study. Those of the patients who were taking a biotin supplement during the time were excluded.
The 503 women were divided into three groups:

  • 1. Those who were biotin deficient
  • 2. Those who had suboptimal biotin levels
  • 3. Those with optimal biotin levels

4 in 10 Women with Hair Loss are Biotin Deficient

The result showed that 38% of the hair loss patients were considered biotin deficient and ended up in the first group. Only 13 % of these women suffering from hair loss had optimal levels of biotin (group 3). The rest, 49%, had suboptimal levels.

In other words, almost 4 out of 10 women in this study had a biotin deficiency. The results indicate that it is more common to find a biotin deficiency in women experiencing hair loss, than to find that they have optimal levels of the vitamin.

Biotin benefits for hair loss
Biotin supplementation has shown to be effective, but in women with optimal biotin levels, taking additional biotin would not improve hair growth.

Taking a Biotin Supplement Will Not Help Everyone with Hair Loss

The result also shows that it is possible to experience hair loss even with perfect biotin levels, meaning that biotin levels alone are insufficient to explain hair loss across the group. Therefore, taking a biotin supplement will not fix the hair loss problem for everyone. Essentially, Trüeb’s study shows that hair loss in women is due to multiple factors, with biotin deficiency being only one of many possible causes.

How Helpful are Trichograms in Detecting Biotin Deficiency Hair Loss?

Furthermore, the study looked at the results of trichograms (a hair analysis method that involves plucking about 100 hairs from different parts of the scalp and examining them under a microscope) – a procedure that roughly half of the women in group 1 and group 3 had performed. The trichograms detected diffuse telogen effluvium (a particular form of hair thinning where the hair strands goes into the resting phase prematurely) in 24% of the women in both groups. Since the percentage of women with diffuse telogen effluvium was the same between the groups, it shows that trichograms are not very helpful in detecting hair loss relating to biotin deficiency since they are neither sensitive nor specific.

Seborrheic Dermatitis Only Found in Women with Biotin Deficiency

More interestingly was the result when looking closer at the women where diffuse telogen effluvium was detected. In the biotin deficient group, 35% had associated seborrheic-like dermatitis – a common skin disease that can look like eczema and can result in dandruff among other symptoms. In the group of women with optimal biotin levels, not a single one had the dermatitis condition. This may indicate a connection between the presence of dandruff and a biotin deficiency, and taking a patients biotin levels is advisable when dandruff or, more specifically, seborrheic dermatitis is found.

Conclusion – the Connection Between Biotin Deficiency and Hair Loss

This study indicates that biotin deficiency is a potential cause of hair loss in women, but that it is not the only cause of hair loss. In cases of known deficiency, biotin supplementation has shown to be effective, but in women with optimal biotin levels, taking additional biotin would not improve hair growth.

The quantity and quality of a person’s hair is very much influenced by their diet. Calories, protein, and vitamins and minerals play a vital role in growing healthy hair, and there are several nutritional deficiencies that can affect hair growth. This study showed a relationship between low biotin levels and hair loss, but it does not support using biotin as a hair growth supplement for cases where biotin levels are normal. It is worth noting that biotin deficiency is quite uncommon as intestinal bacteria produce more than the body’s requirements. Instead of indiscriminate biotin usage, this study recommends testing patients with hair loss for biotin levels, both to avoid an unhelpful remedy and to encourage discovery of the specific reason for hair loss.

Research Review: Is Biotin Supplementation Worth the Hype?

Biotin benefits

Biotin is included in most supplements for hair and nails, even though biotin deficiency in humans is rare. Researchers are starting to question if it is worth the hype. So what’s the answer? Is biotin supplementation really effective?

The Function of Biotin in Our Bodies

Biotin belongs to the B vitamin complex and is also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H. It is an essential nutrient that serves multiple functions in the body. It’s involved in processing fats and carbohydrates, it maintains nervous system function, and it is an essential component of healthy hair and nails.

A deficit in biotin can cause rashes, anemia, depression, and hair loss among other things, and supplemental biotin has been shown to reverse these effects. But biotin deficiency is actually very rare. Most people’s gut bacteria make more than enough biotin for a person’s daily needs. Deficits are only seen in people with certain genetic conditions or in people who are being depleted of biotin through other means – such as gastrointestinal disorders or as a side effect of certain drugs. But although biotin deficiency is rare, biotin is included as an ingredient in most nutritional supplements for hair and nails.

What Does Science Say About Biotin Supplementation

There are numerous studies that look at the effectiveness of biotin supplementation in hair loss treatment. A summary of these studies called “The Infatuation with Biotin Supplementation” have been put together by Dr Teo Soleymani, Dr Kristen Lo Sicco and Dr Jerry Shapiro and published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. The review looks at the results of the studies done on biotin to determine who can benefit from its use and whether it deserves its reputation as a panacea for hair problems.

Biotin effects
A deficit in biotin can cause rashes, anemia, depression, and hair loss, but biotin deficiency is actually very rare.

Biotin a Routine Treatment for Hair Loss in the 1980s

Biotin supplementation was used in the 1980s as a routine treatment for hair loss from any cause (Shelly – Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 1985;13:97-102). Even though there were no scientific studies to back up its use, and an earlier study even found that it was ineffective (Pawlowski – Polish Medical Journal1965;5:447-452).

However, a study done on dogs in 1989 showed that biotin supplementation had a positive impact on nearly all animals with poor coat quality (Frigg – Schweiz Arch Tierheilk, 1989 131:621-625). 91% of them showed some improvement in hair quality and quantity after a period of 3 to 5 weeks.

When applied to humans, the same results have not been realized (Famenini – JDD, 2014 Jul;13:715-724 and Rogers – JAAD, 2008;59:547-56). A study that looked at biotin’s effect at the molecular level also failed to show that it had an impact on the expression of keratin (the building blocks of hair) in hair producing cells.

Biotin Supplementation No Longer Supported as Blanket Treatment

The results of these studies are not encouraging for the use of biotin as a blanket treatment for hair loss and indeed, the medical community no longer supports using biotin in all cases of hair loss. There are, however, several situations in which biotin can be a helpful part of hair loss therapy. In cases where hair loss is due to biotin deficiency, supplementation has been shown to be effective in restoring hair condition.


Conclusion: Biotin is Not for Everyone

The evidence for biotin use is quite clear in cases of specific deficiency, but there is no evidence to support its use for the average person looking to improve their hair quality. However, marketing and celebrity endorsements have given biotin a reputation as a key supplement for beautiful, shiny hair. This can lead to disappointing results for people who use these supplements.

While it is true that biotin is a component of healthy hair, the same can be said for other vital vitamins that we need for our bodies to be healthy. Biotin supplementation for hair is only recommended in a small number of cases. More scientific research into the causes of hair loss is needed to create effective supplements that can help a larger number of people improve their hair quality.

Menopause Symptoms and Hair Loss – How They Are Connected

Menopause Symptoms

Menopause is inevitable, but many women are not aware that hair loss is one of the symptoms of this phase. Unlike male pattern baldness, female hereditary hair loss is subtler and more spread out over the whole scalp. This makes it more difficult to notice, but also harder to treat in time since you may not know about it. But luckily, there are steps you can take to avoid losing your hair.

What Are the Most Common Menopause Symptoms

This physical change in women occurs around the age of 50. But signs of what is coming can be noticeable years before, sometimes as early as in your 30’s. Some menopause symptoms include hot flashes, irregular periods, trouble sleeping, mood swings, forgetfulness and physical changes. The hair and skin will get drier and thinner, and the hair can even start falling out.

Why Do We Lose Our Hair During Menopause?

Menopause symptoms are mainly caused by a change in your hormones. As you get older, your body produces less of the female sex hormone, estrogen. This starts in the period leading up to menopause, known as the perimenopause. Then, when you have not had your period for a full 12 months, it counts as menopause. The ovaries have then stopped releasing eggs and stopped producing most of the estrogen. During the years following this phase, the symptoms slowly cease. This period goes by the name of postmenopause.

The female hormones estrogen and progesterone help our bodies produce hair on our head. They also keep the production of androgens, a male sex hormone, at bay. But when the female hormones decrease, androgens increase. This contributes to hair thinning on the head and increased hair growth elsewhere.

Other Contributing Factors

But there are other possible factors that can cause hair loss during this time of life, and they are the ones we can do something about. Some menopause symptoms include depression, fatigue, insomnia, and irritability.

Increased Cortisol Levels

When we are depressed, stressed or not getting enough sleep, our bodies produce more of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to cause hair loss. Reducing stress, eating well and getting enough sleep is important if this is the reason for our hair loss.

Thyroid Disorder

Make sure that you are not confusing your menopause symptoms for a thyroid disorder. The two conditions share many symptoms, and treating one could actually help the other.

The thyroid is a gland in our neck and is responsible for the thyroid hormones T4 and T3, also called the beauty hormone, which affects our skin, nails, hair and overall health.

When you have an over-active thyroid, it is called hyperthyroidism. The symptoms of this disorder include weight loss, a more rapidly beating heart, irritability and heat intolerance. Hypothyroidism is when you have an underactive thyroid, and these symptoms are even more similar to those of menopause. You could feel more tired than usual, get an irregular period, gain weight, feel depressed, cold and lose hair. To find out for sure what the cause of your symptoms is, go to your doctor and get diagnosed.

Medications That Can Cause Hair Loss

If you take certain medications, and in some cases birth control pills, they can also cause hair loss. That means that your struggle to defeat menopause symptoms will not have any effect on your hair. Look over your medications and see if they could be the real cause of why you are losing hair.

Check the Health of Your Scalp

You might have a scalp disease, like scalp fungus, which sometimes causes hair to thin or fall out.

If you lack a vital nutrient or do not eat a sufficiently nutritional diet, your hair growth could also be in danger.

Menopause Symptoms and Hair Loss
Menopause symptoms are mainly caused by a change in your hormones. These hormones include estrogen and progesterone that help our bodies produce hair on our heads.

What to do About it

To cure hair loss, look at the whole picture. Is your diet healthy enough? How much exercise are you getting? Do you take any medication with hidden side effects? Do you feel stressed or depressed? If you are sure that menopause is the culprit, the problem can still be helped by adding some extra nutritious food, vitamins or a hair supplement.

Use a Topical Scalp Treatment

You can also get a topical treatment to apply to your scalp, which can help getting your hair growth back on track.

Protect Your Hair from the Elements

Protecting your hair from weather and wind is always a good idea. Wear a hat in the sunshine and a scarf when it is windy and cold. Very dry or hot air wears the hair out, and the sun damages not only your skin but also your hair. You can also use a sun protection spray if you spend a lot of time out in the sun.

Laser or Surgical Treatments

In severe cases of hair loss, there are options like laser treatment or surgical procedures like hair transplants and hair cloning to consider.

Avoid Worrying About It

But above all, try to stay calm, keeping in mind you have options. Often when we worry, we stress ourselves out and the effect causes the problem to get worse. The majority of symptoms related to menopause slow down after the initial onset.