Weight loss with hair loss: Learn the connection
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Team Gabit
2 months ago | 6 mins

Weight loss with hair loss: Learn the connection


Discover the link between hair loss and weight loss. Learn insights on causes and strategies to overcome them. Explore a holistic approach towards wellness to preserve hair and health.

Embarking on a weight loss journey is typically seen as a significant transformation process that leads to better health and more energy. At the same time, amid all the successes, recognising the intricacies involved in such a process is essential. Among these is hair loss - a battle that is rarely talked about and one that many people face in silence.

Often, to gain the benefits of one thing, we end up jeopardising another equally significant, if not more significant thing. So is the case with weight loss and hair loss. Losing weight is not a difficulty anymore. The challenge lies in maintaining a balance between weight loss and preserving our internal well-being and the gorgeous hair that we often take for granted.

Understanding the science behind hair loss due to weight loss becomes crucial for us so that we can take steps to avoid it. From nutritional deficiencies to maladaptive dieting plans, our bodies respond to weight loss in ways that go beyond the weighing scale. 

Read this blog to help you overcome the challenge by knowing the causes and practical ways to prevent hair loss.

Understanding the link between weight loss and hair loss

The primary underlying link between weight loss and hair loss is the stress caused to the body during the process of losing weight. In our effort to lose weight quickly, we restrict our diets or go on crash diets which reduces our overall nutrient intake. This results in a condition called ‘telogen effluvium’, occurring 2-3 months after weight loss. A common side effect of weight loss, it is usually only temporary and lasts up to 6 months after rapid weight loss. 

This lack of nutrients in our body undoubtedly starts causing problems in our body. Thus, we start facing weight loss with hair loss.

know hair loss due to weight loss

Causes of weight loss-induced hair loss

After establishing how hair loss after weight loss occurs, it’s time to dig a little deeper to understand your specific root cause.

  • Weight loss surgeries - Research has shown that people who undergo weight loss surgeries are more likely to face hair loss due to weight loss because of deficiencies in proteins, vitamins and minerals in their body.
  • Nutritional deficiencies - Deficiencies can occur not only because of surgeries but also due to restrictive caloric intake that leads to a lack of minerals like zinc, biotin and even protein - all of which are important for supporting the growth and maintenance of healthy hair.
  • Hormonal changes - One can face hair loss during weight loss due to fluctuations in hormones like cortisol, androgen and estrogen. Rapid weight loss can increase the production of cortisol (stress hormone) inducing hair loss and weight loss.
  • Physical stress - Losing weight can put stress on your body either due to excessive stress or lack of adequate recovery. The stress forces your body on losing weight and hair loss.
  • Emotional stress - Weight loss is often associated with body image issues and other lifestyle changes putting our body in “fight or flight mode”. This exacerbates weight loss, hair loss and stress.
know hair loss due to weight loss

Nutrients essential for healthy hair during weight loss

To prevent hair loss due to weight loss, make sure to consume these nutrients:

  • Protein (Meat, eggs, dairy products, nuts and seeds, beans, chickpeas and lentils)
  • Biotin (Eggs, mushrooms, avocados, sweet potatoes, almonds)
  • Zinc (Oyster, black beans, red meat, pumpkin seeds)
  • Vitamin - A, B6, B12, C (Carrots, peanuts, soya beans, eggs, dairy, oranges)
  • Iron (Watermelon, raisins, beetroot, spinach, legumes and dried apricots)
know hair loss due to weight loss

Strategies for preventing hair loss during weight loss

Weight loss and hair loss may not always come together if we are smart enough to plan our strategies to prevent hair fall. Follow these few measures to get ahead of the curve:

  • Managing stress: Stress is found to be the leading cause of major health issues, including premature hair loss. Take steps to avoid the physical and psychological stress caused on your body by taking enough rest and engaging in activities that increase mindfulness like meditation and deep breathing.
  • Losing weight gradually: A sudden shift or change in weight can disrupt your body. Instead of going big on the first day, take small steps each day to reach your goal safely.
  • Correct hair care: Everybody is different and so is their hair type. Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner while washing your hair and avoid chemicals as much as you can.
  • Nutritious diet: A diet rich in protein, iron, vitamins and minerals like zinc and biotin is important to support hair growth and arrest hair loss due to weight loss.

Medicines for hair regrowth

Food is said to be the best medicine. Nonetheless, external medications may be required in a few cases. Here is a list of medications that could possibly help hair regrowth.

  • Topical Minoxidil
  • Antiandrogens
  • Antifungal medications

Note: Please consult your doctor before using any of these medicines.

know hair loss due to weight loss

Why can hair loss occur after weight loss?

A comprehensive list of what you should avoid during weight loss and hair loss.

  • Crash dieting: Crash diets are one of the methods used to lose weight quicker than usual, and are often characterised by restrictive diets that cause physiological and psychological stress on the body. The lack of nutrients coupled with the extreme stress causes your hair to fall and face long-term consequences that compromise overall health.
  • Very low protein diets: Protein is responsible for the production of keratin, the structural protein of hair. Since hair growth isn’t necessary for survival, your body prioritises it for functions like tissue repair and digestion. This lack of protein in your diet can weaken hair strands, eventually causing them to break and fall.
  • Restrictive diets: These diets put extreme limitations on food intake by excluding large food groups altogether causing hair loss. By cutting out entire food groups, we reduce our overall calorie intake. A lower caloric intake is reported to cause hair loss. Apart from this, a restrictive diet also bars nutrients from entering our body leading to deficiencies and hair loss.

Conclusion

Weight loss is something that we all desire. However, in the haste of wanting to lose weight, we make mistakes that cost us heavily through side effects like hair loss. Crash diets, disguised as quick fixes, upset our systems’ delicate balance and lead to dietary deficiencies, hormonal imbalances and increased stress, all of which cause hair loss. Understanding the science behind this helps us to take preventive steps such as reducing stress, practicing progressive weight loss and adding nutrients to our diet.

To conclude, a holistic approach that values both the number on the scale and the number of strands on our scalp is necessary in our pursuit of wellness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding the link between hair loss and weight loss

The thread that ties weight loss to hair loss is stress. Excessive stress through crash dieting and surgeries can disrupt our body’s balance resulting in hair loss.

Causes of weight loss-induced hair loss

Several causes can trigger hair loss due to weight loss. Some of them include hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies and increased physical and mental stress on the body.

Why hair loss can occur after weight loss?

During weight loss, our body is usually going through a transformation. It is possible for it to not get enough nutrients during this process, sabotaging other functions like hair growth, ultimately leading to hair loss.

How long does it take for hair to regrow after weight loss?

The answer differs for each person depending on their nutritional requirements and their body’s ability to absorb it. If you’re facing hair loss due to telogen effluvium, it can take up to 6-8 months for your hair to grow back. However, it is best to consult a dermatologist if you’re facing hair loss due to any other reason. 

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