There is a saying in Spanish which roughly translates as "in aubergine season, women lose their hair" and in this case, as so often happens, the old wives' tales happen to be right. Whereas we ordinarily lose about 100 hairs a day, in autumn it can be twice as many.
Although this may seem rather alarming when it happens, dermatologists say it is actually a normal process where the hair falls out because a new one is growing underneath. It is a fact, though, that this happens to a greater extent at this time of year. According to the experts, between 12 and 15 per cent of our hair is in the process of being replaced at any one time, and it means that it takes around four years for all our hair to be renewed in this way.
This is why specialists insist that we should see this hair loss as normal, as long as there is no serious loss of density which, for example, leads to patches where the scalp becomes clearly visible.
Products to combat hair loss
Although, as we have seen, the lost hair will be replaced within three or four months, many women try to counteract the problem by using special products or dietary supplements.
In the case of shampoos, the experts recommend the ones that aim to stimulate the growth of new hair. They also point out that, as a general rule, commercial treatments are less effective than those prescribed by a doctor or specialist.
However, they warn that shampoo is never in contact with the hair for long and therefore the active ingredients do not normally penetrate the hair follicle, so the results do not occur overnight.
With regard to dietary supplements, although these can be useful in some cases, such as women with nutritional deficiencies, they are not necessary for those who are healthy and eat properly.
A healthy larder
In the autumn or, in fact, at any time of year, a good way to look after our hair and skin is to increase the amount of fruit, vegetables and pulses which are rich in amino acids, trace elements and vitamins in our diet. These include broccoli, spinach, carrots, kiwi fruit, lentils, wholewheat cereals and brewer's yeast.
A healthy diet will also include eggs, nuts and fish which, because of their high vitamin content, not only have a lubricating effect on the hair follicles but also increase the production of the hemoglobin which transports oxygen through the scalp, and biotin, which increases healthy growth of nails and hair.
It is also a good idea to eat seasonal fruit and vegetables such as pumpkin, grapefruit, celery and pomegranate.
If the hair loss lasts for more than 100 days, which is the time it takes for the hair to fall after entering into the resting phase, it is best to consult a dermatologist and have a blood test to see if an underlying health problem could be causing it, such as a lack of iron or hormonal changes.