How to Prevent Hair Loss During Weight Loss
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How to Prevent Hair Loss During Weight Loss
Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRSC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRSC)
Updated on May 17, 2022

There are a number of reasons to embark on a weight loss regime. Sometimes it’s to improve your physical or mental health. Other times, people choose to lose weight for the same reasons they opt for a hair transplant — to feel attractive and confident.

Our weight and body image can affect our self-esteem. It’s natural to want to enjoy the self-confidence that comes with feeling good about our bodies and looking our best.

But sometimes weight loss can lead to hair loss. In fact, increased hair loss during and after losing weight is a common problem. This can have a knock-on effect on your self-esteem, confidence, and appearance.

So if you’re planning to lose weight in order to look and feel better, find out how to prevent hair loss during weight loss.

The Link Between Hair Loss and Weight Loss 

Our bodies are complex systems, so changes can affect us all differently. But here are a few issues that are commonly associated with hair loss during weight loss.

Lack of Nutrition

Depending on your weight loss regime, one aspect that could affect your hair is your nutrition. Healthy hair requires your body to receive the right amount of vitamins and minerals, as well as plenty of lean proteins. If your new diet is lacking in any of these vital nutrients, any weight loss may be at the expense of the healthy functioning of your hair follicles and the appearance of your hair, potentially leading to hair loss [1].

Hormonal Imbalance

The food we eat can affect our hormones, which in turn can have physical side effects. Our skin, nails, and hair, in particular, can be a good indication of our internal systems and hormonal balance. Changes to your normal food and exercise regimes can impact your hormone levels. One possible result of these hormonal changes is hair thinning or loss.

Restricted calories

Reducing calorie intake can be a successful weight loss strategy. While caloric restriction has been shown to actually improve hair growth and retention [2], crash diets and extreme low calorie diets deprive the body of the energy and nutrition it needs to function well. As the body prioritises its processes to keep you alive during a ‘starvation period’, it will neglect less vital processes such as healthy hair growth.

Extreme exercise

If you begin to exercise much more often or more intensely than your body is used to, it can trigger a kind of shock reaction in your system. This kind of shock can lead to Alopecia Areata – a temporary hair loss or baldness, usually on the scalp – which means that your hair falls out more than normal.

Excessive Stress

A degree of stress is a natural part of being human. However, excessive or clinical stress can disrupt your hormone levels and your body’s restorative processes. If your weight loss regime leads to increased stress, anxiety or exhaustion, this can affect hair growth and the rate at which hair falls out. 

Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a type of sudden hair loss that occurs due to emotional shock. While there may not be an obvious link between this condition and weight loss, studies have shown that telogen effluvium can occur as a result of rapid or extreme weight loss.

How different types of weight loss can impact hair loss

Low carb diets

Low carb diets such as keto or Atkins are popular with many people who want to lose weight. But there is evidence to suggest that low carb diets can cause hair loss, as it restricts the nutrients you need for hair growth.

Low protein diets

Your hair is made from a protein called keratin. Keratin is formed by amino acids which are found in dietary protein. Low-protein diets often result in amino acid deficiencies, causing hair growth to stall.

Weight loss surgery

Weight loss surgery is a very effective weight loss strategy for many people — but hair loss is often an unwanted side effect. That’s due to the rapid nature of weight loss associated with weight loss surgery, including gastric bands and gastric bypasses. Like excessive exercise, fast weight loss can shock your body, causing sudden temporary hair loss.

Crash dieting

Restricting your calorie intake in a rapid, uncontrolled way can shock your body into preventing hair growth. When your body gets fewer nutrients than it needs — which often happens with crash diets — it focuses on key bodily functions like breathing and circulation at the expense of hair growth.

How to prevent hair loss during weight loss

Now that you know which issues can lead to hair loss during a new diet or exercise regime, here are a few tips to help you prevent it:

  • Get enough vitamins and proteinknow your nutritional needs before you choose your weight loss regime. Then you can select a programme that will provide the nutrients you need and balance your hormones in a supportive way.
  • Measure your calorie intake – avoid overly restrictive calorie-controlled regimes. These may compromise your body’s systems and lack the nutrients required for healthy hair.
  • Avoid cutting out specific food groups — our bodies need all kinds of nutrients to function well, including carbs and fat. Eat a balanced diet to maintain a healthy weight and healthy hair growth.
  • Lose weight gradually – avoid extreme regimes and crash diets. Aim for gradual weight loss that works with your body and supports its healthy functioning.
  • Manage stress – ensure that you include an element of stress relief in your new regime. Also, aim to find the right programme for you – one that isn’t excessively stressful.

Losing excess weight can be a wonderful boost to your health and self-esteem and with a little planning and awareness, you can enjoy a slimmer, healthier body without compromising your appearance and your confidence.

What to do if you’re worried about hair loss and weight loss

Speaking to a hair loss specialist can help you manage your hair loss as you lose weight. They can recommend hair restoration and give you strategies for how to prevent hair loss during weight loss, supporting you through your weight loss journey.

Talk to a hair loss consultant at the Wimpole Clinic to find out more.

How to Prevent Hair Loss During Weight Loss, Wimpole Clinic

Sources:

  1. Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use
  2. A Review of the Impact of Calorie Restriction on Stem Cell Potency
  3. Hair Loss After Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
  4. Alopecia in crash dieters
Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRSC)
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRSC)Updated on May 17, 2022
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.
Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRSC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRSC)
Updated on May 17, 2022

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