how does weight loss cause hair loss
By Tamim Hamid Updated on 06/16/2024

How Does Weight Loss Cause Hair loss?: 6 Possible Causes & Preventions

Have you ever noticed a sudden hair loss after weight loss? If so, you're not alone. Many individuals have reported experiencing hair falling out and even hair thinning during or after significant weight loss.

Hair loss and weight loss are two common concerns affecting individuals on their journey toward better health and well-being. While they may seem unrelated, the two have an interesting connection. Rapid weight loss can stress the body and disrupt its nutritional balance, affecting the hair growth cycle. A study in 2018 showed that 57% of the participants who underwent metabolic and bariatric surgery (a type of weight loss surgery) experienced temporary hair loss within 3 to 6 months after surgery. Younger age, female sex, low folic acid levels, low zinc levels, and low ferritin levels were associated with it.

In this article, we will explore the link between hair loss and weight loss in simple terms. We'll help you understand why some people may experience hair fall after weight loss and what you can do about it.

How Weight Loss Leads to Hair Fall

Experiencing hair loss after weight loss can be concerning. Understanding the causes behind this hair loss is essential to address the issue effectively. The main causes and reasons of hair loss (sometimes called “hair fall “) after weight loss are:

1. Nutritional Deficiencies

Nutritional deficiencies, which means not getting enough of your body's essential nutrients, can contribute to hair fall after weight loss. When you lose weight quickly or follow very strict diets, you may not get all the necessary vitamins (C & D), minerals, amino acids, and proteins your hair needs to stay healthy and side effects like hair loss can occur. These nutrients play a crucial role in supporting hair growth and strength. Similarly, if you had gone through bariatric surgery and hair fall lasts even after the 6 months then its possibly due to zinc and iron deficiency.

Discover the role of nutrients in hair growth.

When your body lacks these essential nutrients, it can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle and increase hair shedding. So, focusing on eating a balanced and nutritious diet during weight loss is essential to ensure you get all the nutrients your body and hair need to stay healthy.

2. Telogen Effluvium

Telogen Effluvium is a common condition and a side effect of weight loss that can lead to hair loss, It occurs when a large number of hair follicles shift into a resting phase called "telogen" at the same time. During weight loss, your body may go through physical stress, disrupting the normal hair growth cycle. After a few months, the hairs in the resting phase start to shed, and you may notice more hair falling out than usual. This shedding is temporary, and the hair usually grows back once your body adjusts and the hair growth cycle returns to normal.

So, if you experience hair loss after weight loss, it could be due to Telogen Effluvium, and it's important to remember that it's usually a temporary condition. If your hair doesn't grow back, try Theradome to deal with Telogen Effluvium.

3. Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes can be another cause of hair loss after sudden weight loss. Losing weight can affect the levels of hormones in your body, such as those related to thyroid function and insulin regulation. These hormonal imbalances can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle and lead to hair thinning and shedding. 

Hormones play a crucial role in maintaining healthy hair, so when they are out of balance, it can negatively impact hair health. It's important to note that hormonal changes can vary from person to person, and not everyone will experience this type of hair loss after weight loss.

4. Psychological Stress

Psychological stress also can contribute to hair fall after weight loss. When you embark on a weight loss journey, it can bring about various stressors and emotional challenges. The pressure to meet weight loss goals, concerns about body image, and adapting to new lifestyle changes can all cause increased psychological stress, which can lead to hair loss. Prolonged and chronic stress can disturb the normal hair growth cycle, leading to excessive shedding. Managing stress through relaxation techniques, self-care practices, and seeking support from loved ones can help minimize the impact of psychological stress on hair health during weight loss.

5. Scalp Inflammation

Scalp inflammation is one of the reasons for hair fall after weight loss. Weight loss doesn't directly impact scalp inflammation. However, following very low-calorie diets or extreme exercise regimens during weight loss can create an imbalance in the nutrients your body needs. This imbalance can lead to inflammation in the scalp, which can disrupt the normal functioning of hair follicles. When the hair follicles are affected, it can increase hair shedding.

6. Genetic Effect

Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to hair loss, which means their genes make them more susceptible to experiencing hair thinning or shedding. These genetic factors can accelerate hair loss when combined with the physical stress of weight loss. It's important to understand that genetics are not something we can change. Still, by taking a gradual and balanced approach to weight loss and promoting good hair care practices, you can help minimize the impact of genetic factors on hair loss during this process.

How to Prevent Hair Fall After Weight Loss?

how to prevent hair fall after weight loss

While some hair shedding is normal, it's not common to experience excessive shedding. Here are some tips to help minimize hair loss after weight loss:

1. Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is important to prevent hair fall while losing weight. It means eating various foods that provide all the necessary nutrients for your body. When you're trying to lose weight, it's important to make sure you're getting enough protein, iron, vitamins (especially vitamin D and biotin), zinc, amino acids, and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients help keep your hair healthy and strong. So, in your meals, include lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Eating a balanced diet ensures that your body gets the right nutrients to support healthy hair growth and reduces the risk of excessive hair fall during weight loss.

Also Read: Importance of Vitamin D in Hair Growth

2. Avoid Rapid Weight Loss

Rapid weight loss means losing weight very quickly, which can stress your body. When you lose weight too fast by drastically cutting calories, your body doesn't get enough nutrients like proteins, vitamins, and minerals to keep your hair healthy. Instead, focus on gradual and steady weight loss by making healthier food choices and being physically active; take it slow and steady when trying to lose weight to give your body and hair the time they need to adapt and stay healthy.

3. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is important to prevent hair fall after weight loss because being hydrated helps keep your hair healthy.  During dehydration, your hair can become dry and brittle, making it prone to breaking out and falling out. Drinking enough water keeps your scalp moisturized and supports the hair growth process. It also helps deliver essential nutrients to your hair follicles, promoting healthy hair growth. Drinking enough water is not only beneficial for your hair but also for overall bodily functions. Proper hydration supports the optimal functioning of your body's systems, including those involved in hair growth.

4. Scalp Care

Scalp care is essential because a healthy scalp creates a favorable environment for hair growth. After weight loss, hair fall can occur due to various factors, including nutrient deficiencies and hormonal changes. By practicing proper scalp care, you can support the overall health of your hair and reduce the risk of excessive hair loss. Keep your scalp clean and free from build-up. Regularly washing your scalp with mild shampoo helps to detoxify hair that can clog follicles and hamper hair growth. But remember to avoid the use of hair products or shampoo that contains harmful ingredients.

5. Gentle Hair Care

Gentle hair care refers to adopting a careful and considerate approach when caring for your hair. Avoid aggressive brushing or combing, which can cause unnecessary tension and breakage. Instead, use a wide-toothed comb or a brush with soft bristles to detangle your hair gently, starting from the ends and working your way up.

Also, minimize the use of heated hair stylers, as excessive heat can weaken the hair shaft and lead to hair breakage. It is also advisable to avoid tight hairstyles that pull on your hair, such as tight ponytails or braids, as this constant tension can weaken the hair follicles and contribute to hair fall. Settle on for looser hairstyles that put less strain on your hair. Practicing gentle hair care helps protect hair from unnecessary damage and reduces the risk of hair fall after weight loss.

6. Stress Management

You can formulate different strategies and techniques to cope with and reduce stress levels. When you experience significant stress, it can disrupt the natural hair growth cycle and contribute to hair loss. Managing and reducing stress can minimize its impact on your hair health. Engaging in physical exercise, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and seeking social support can help lower stress levels and promote a healthier environment for hair growth. Moreover, maintaining a balanced lifestyle, prioritizing self-care, and getting enough sleep can reduce stress and help prevent hair loss during weight loss.

Is Hair Loss Due to Weight Loss Permanent?

Hair loss from weight loss is often temporary. It is usually a condition that resolves on its own. Your hair should start growing back normally after a few months.

When you lose a lot of weight quickly, your body undergoes various changes, including changes in hormone levels and nutritional imbalances. These changes can affect the hair growth cycle, leading to temporary hair loss, increased shedding or thinning of hair. But once your body adjusts, the hair loss should stop. The duration of hair loss and regrowth can vary from person to person. For some individuals, hair may start to grow back within a few months, while for others, it may take longer. As long as you are eating a healthy diet with enough nutrients and following a gentle hair care practice, your regular hair growth cycle will return within 6 to 12 months.

Theradome for Hair Treatment After Weight Loss

When treating hair loss after weight loss, Theradome presents a promising option for regrowing and revitalizing your hair. As a laser hair growth device in the form of a helmet, Theradome utilizes advanced laser phototherapy to stimulate hair follicles and promote hair regrowth.

Theradome's convenient and user-friendly design allows for at-home use, making it a convenient addition to your hair care routine. By consistently using Theradome for a few sessions weekly, you can experience noticeable improvements in hair thickness, quality, and overall health. Remember to combine this treatment with other preventive measures, such as maintaining a balanced diet, practicing scalp care, and managing stress for comprehensive hair health and growth.

FAQs

Is there a connection between weight loss and hair loss?

Yes, there is a connection between weight loss and hair loss. Significant weight loss, mainly when it occurs rapidly, can trigger a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium. This condition occurs when many hair follicles enter the resting phase simultaneously, leading to increased hair shedding.

What are the common causes of hair loss after weight loss?

Hair loss after weight loss can be due to several factors. Nutrient deficiencies, hormonal changes, and physical and emotional stress are some of the reasons for hair fall with weight loss.

How do I stop my hair from falling out after weight loss?

To prevent hair loss during weight loss, ensure a balanced diet with adequate protein and essential nutrients. Additionally, avoid crash diets and extreme calorie restrictions, as they can contribute to hair loss.

How long does hair shedding last after weight loss?

Hair shedding after weight loss can vary from person to person, but it is typically temporary and may last for 3-5 months.

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Tamim Hamid

Tamim Hamid

Inventor and CEO of Theradome

Sayyid Tamim Hamid, Ph.D, is the inventor of the world’s first FDA-cleared, wearable phototherapy device to prevent hair loss and thicken and regrow hair. Tamim, a former biomedical engineer at NASA and the inventor of Theradome, brings with him more than 38 years of expertise in product development, laser technology, and biomedical science. Tamim used his laser knowledge, fine-tuned at NASA, and combined it with his driving passion for helping others pursue a lifelong mission in hair loss and restoration. He is now one of the world’s leading experts.