At first I thought I was imagining it: Every Jan. 1, my already-fine hair seemed to look thinner than it had at Thanksgiving.
Then, last week, I talked with a hair expert who cleared up the mystery of the missing locks. Plenty of 50+ women, it turns out, complain about this seasonal syndrome.
So even if I never recapture my Melania Trump mane, I do expect what's left to last! Here are a few ways you, too, can save your scalp.
Learn to handle holiday stress. With its weird ability to telescope time, the period from mid-November to New Year's Day has a million ways to stress you out: work parties and work deadlines, family get-togethers that seem to go on forever, gift shopping, crowds, travel chaos and more.
According to Alan J. Bauman, M.D., a Boca Raton, Fla., specialist in hair loss and restoration, "elevated levels of cortisol — a type of steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland — can contribute to temporary hair loss. This is known as telogen effluvium, or excessive shedding." Add in other factors affecting our menopausal hair follicles — lack of sleep, poor nutrition, hormonal wackiness — and the result is wimpy hair.
Enough with the crash dieting already! Have you had your OMG moment on the bathroom scale this month? If so, you're right on schedule. I think we're all struggling to fit into those jeans (or that drop-dead dress) as the holiday countdown begins.
But proceed with caution, please. "Deprive your body of nutrition," warns Dr. Bauman, "and you will see some degree of hair fall, depending on the length and severity of the diet. The most common triggers of damaged locks are caloric, iron and protein deficiencies. When your body thinks it's starving, it doesn't manufacture 'luxury' items such as hair."