Hair Thinning and Hair Loss After Weight Loss: Myth or Truth?

by Viviscal Hair Expert on March 2nd, 2017
Weight Loss and Thinning Hair - Prevention

There’s no doubt that hair is a complex structure of human anatomy. Hair follicles are sturdy and can stand up to a lot, but they can be susceptible to certain lifestyle and behavioral changes too. Weight loss is one of the factors that can affect hair health.

Thinning hair after weight loss is a very common problem and while it’s certainly not a myth, it’s important to understand the whole truth before taking action. Let’s explore.

Temporary Hair Loss and Losing Weight

Hair thinning after weight loss is usually associated with a condition called telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium effectively throws your normal hair cycle out of whack.

Normally, hair grows at a rate of about ½-inch per month for about two years, before it goes into the resting phase known as telogen. All of your hairs are at a different stage, so normally you see constant growth and regrowth, with old hairs falling out to make room for new ones during telogen. With a regular cycle, about 10% of your hairs will be in the resting phase at any given time.

Telogen effluvium occurs when this 10% starts to increase, and the hair cycle phases are out of balance. More hairs than usual are going into the resting phase, so hair falls out faster than it grows back in. It’s one of the most common forms of hair loss among both men and women. Although it’s normally limited to the scalp, more serious cases can affect eyebrows and body hair.

Hair Loss After Weight Loss Surgery

Hair loss due to weight loss is fairly common, even more so when surgery is involved. Such a drastic change in your body can cause physical stress, which gives a signal to hair follicles to go into a resting phase. Your hormones can be very reactive.

Since weight loss surgery can mean a big change in body composition, sometimes your hormones need time to catch up. This temporary hair loss is most noticeable one to two months after the weight loss, and can be exacerbated by any vitamin deficiencies you may have if there are drastic changes in your diet. However, this change is usually only temporary. Most can expect their hair to start growing normally again after about six months.

Even if you lost a lot of weight and changed your body without surgery, the change in hormone levels and your diet can still cause telogen effluvium.

How to Fight Hair Loss from Weight Loss

Although hair loss from losing weight is often temporary, there are steps you can take to help your hair growth cycle go back to normal.

Many people who lose weight do so with a restricted calorie intake. Just like your body, your hair needs calories to grow properly. At a basic level, understand your calorie limits to have an idea of how much you should be eating, and how many calories your hair is used to getting from your diet.

Protein makes up almost the entire hair structure, and luckily for us, it’s also one of the most readily available nutrients in everyday food. Increase your protein intake with foods like red meat, beans, and seafood. Other key hair growth vitamins and nutrients to supplement include vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, and zinc. These vitamins and minerals have all been shown to contribute to regular hair growth and can be found in almost any standard weight-loss diet.

If you’re experiencing some hair thinning after weight loss, it’s not the end of the world. Just relax and understand that it’s a normal process. Your hair follicles aren’t damaged, they’re simply adjusting to the changes.

Make an effort to watch your diet and feed your body with the nutrients it needs to effectively grow hair. If you’re having trouble getting all of the nutrients you need for your best hair growth, we recommend looking into a daily vitamin for hair growth that contains everything you need.