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Does hair grow faster in summer?

For those wondering if human hair is on a seasonal schedule, read on.

By Rich_Maloof May 9, 2013 5:44PM

Dandelions. Daylight hours. The yearning to leave work early.  

All of these things grow longer and stronger in summer. But does your hair grow any faster?

With due respect to your mom, if she’s the one who told you, it’s just not true. It may feel like the hair on your head is coming in fast when you wish for less of it on a hot day, and the heat and humidity of summer months may make your hair appear fuller or more frizzy for days on end.

Photo: Girl with long hair / courtesy of Discovery.com But all of your hair growth is genetically programmed and is not affected by seasons or weather. Hair doesn’t grow faster in summer — nor do we get a thick, bushy coat in the winter like a border collie.

Discovery News debunked the summer story and other myths about hair growth in a recent video. All of your body’s hair follicles, Discovery explains, produce hair in three cycling stages: the anagen stage, during which hair grows; the catagen stage of rest; and the talogen stage, during which hair naturally falls out.

Human hair  generally grows at a rate of about half an inch per month. People with more extended anagen stages can grow longer hair; that is, their hair has a longer time to grow before it hits the next stage. Ever wonder why you have to schedule a regular cut for the hair on your head while you never have to go in for an arm hairdo? First of all, you’re apparently thinking too much about body hair. Second, the hair on your arm, like your eyelashes or the hair on your legs, is programmed for a shorter anagen stage. It simply can’t grow longer before it falls out.

A study in the British Journal of Dermatology provides some scientific evidence that seasonal changes don’t affect human hair growth. Researchers found that the 14 men in their study group – aged between 18 and 39, and apparently lucky enough to have hair – all had anagen stages that reached a peak in early March and fell steadily in September. That means they may have had more hair on the head during summer months, but not that it was growing faster.

Thinking it through, there’s no biological reason that growth would accelerate in summertime. The rate of hair growth doesn’t depend on sunshine, heat and fertilizer like a nice lawn does. Chalk this one up to other myths a well-intended mom may have told you, like you’ll drown if you swim after lunch or that your eyes will stay crossed if you keep making that face.

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Photo: courtesy of Discovery.com

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