Most of us like the idea of losing weight, and don’t see much of a downside to shedding a few pounds. There actually can be some negative consequences to weight loss, however—including hair loss.
How Weight Loss Leads to Hair Loss
How exactly does this work, though? What’s the connection between losing weight and losing hair? Generally, when weight loss contributes to hair loss, it’s due to a condition called telogen effluivan.
You see, normally, your hair has a cycle of growth and rest. Your hair will grow by roughly half an inch each month, for about two years, before the follicle goes into a resting phase. That resting phase eventually comes to an end, but before new growth can happen, the old hair has to fall out to make room for new hair. This shedding is perfectly normal and perfectly natural.
At any given time, you should have about 10 percent of your hair in the resting phase—again, perfectly normal and natural. With telogen effluvian, though, more than 10 percent of your hair goes into the resting stage, which means you’re shedding more and growing less.
Telogen effluvian is brought on by any kind of emotional or physical stress—and in some cases, sudden or extreme weight loss can have exactly that effect. The question is, what—if anything—can you do to avoid it?
Losing Weight Without Losing Hair
If you’re trying to lose weight, make sure you do so in a healthy way—a way that does not lend itself to hair loss. Here are some general tips:
Get enough calories. Yes, when you’re trying to lose weight, you’re probably cutting back on your calories a bit, but you still need to get enough to give your body some energy and to give your hair follicles the necessary nutrients. A general rule of thumb: Multiply your target weight by 10. Your daily calorie count should be somewhere in that area.
Eat protein. You need protein to grow hair—plain and simple. There are a number of ways to get it, but the healthiest way is to get a small serving of lean poultry with each meal—chicken or turkey, perhaps.
Eat a rich, varied, nutrient-filled diet. You also need things like iron, biotin, omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamin D in order to facilitate hair growth, so make sure your diet includes things like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, Greek yogurt, some occasional fish, and more.
Consider taking a daily supplement. Something as simple as a multivitamin can make all the difference in the world.
Head First Program. Our trichology program Head First can help stimulate blood flow and provide needed nutrients directly to the hair follicles.
Don’t try to lose weight too quickly. If you lose a couple of pounds per week, you’re in really good shape. Anything more than that is not recommended by the medical community.
The bottom line: You can lose weight without losing your hair—but you’ve got to be smart about it. And remember, if you do experience hair loss, you can find solutions at LH Hair. Come see us for a free evaluation today!