The Relationship Between Weight Loss and Hair Loss

So, you’ve decided to embark on a weight loss journey; a step towards making significant changes that will benefit your health and appearance. And while your goal is to lose weight, you certainly don’t want to sacrifice your hair along the way.

Yet the fact remains that weight loss can lead to hair loss, especially if the weight loss occurs at a rapid pace.

Why do some people lose their hair during weight loss?

On average, hair grows about half an inch per month during what is called the anagen phase. This phase can last 2 – 5 years (people of Asian descent can remain in anagen for up to 7 years), until the hair enters the catagen phase – a short transition that signals the end of active growth of a hair while it converts to “club hair”. During this process, the hair is cut off from its blood supply along with the cells that produce new hair. Once that process is completed, hair enters the telogen, or resting, phase, which lasts approximately three months. During this time, hair strands remain in their follicles but are not actively growing. On average, 50 to 100 hairs are shed each day from a normal scalp, which allows the cycle to start anew.

When a body undergoes a shock to its system, such as illness, childbirth, menopause, and yes – weight loss – it can send a higher percentage of hair into the telogen phase, which means the number of hair follicles producing hair is greatly reduced. This results in excessive shedding and can occur all over your scalp but typically is noticed in areas already predisposed to thinning or balding, like the top of the head.

How can hair loss be prevented while losing weight?

Whenever possible, individuals undergoing weight loss should attempt to do so slowly while monitoring their diet to ensure they are getting the vital nutrients needed to fuel their bodies. So, while a crash diet might get you the weight loss results you seek, it may do so at the cost of good nutrition which can have negative effects on your overall health, including hair. In fact, some going through the weight loss process may require medical supervision to monitor any adverse side effects as they arise.

Weight loss advocate or not, if you’ve already lost enough hair to cause you concern and consider a hair transplant, come talk to the medical team at DiStefano Hair Transplant Center with five locations in Southern New England. Click here to schedule your free consultation today.