Gaining weight when you don’t necessarily want to can be pretty stressful. Not only does it change your image and make you feel self-conscious, but it also increases your risk for chronic diseases. So, the last thing you also want to worry about is your extra pounds also causing hair loss. You may have heard that weight gain and obesity can cause hair loss, so we are here to help you sort out fact from fiction. Fortunately, if you have recently gained weight, your hair is likely not directly affected by the increase on your scale.
Obesity and Hair Loss
Obesity is not a risk factor for hair loss. Indeed, adding extra pounds to your waistline, hips, abdomen, and thighs will likely not be the catalyst that causes you to lose hair. However, with that said, we do know that some of the habits and lifestyle choices that can lead to obesity may compromise your hair health and growth. For example:
- Poor physical activity - Not getting enough exercise not only makes your muscles weaker and encourages the body to store more energy as fat, but it may also decrease the amount of blood flow to your scalp. Getting daily exercise can help circulate your blood to peripheral areas that generally may not see as much blood flow if you are sedentary. These peripheral areas include your scalp and hair follicles.
- Diet - A poor diet can certainly lead to hair loss. Why? Because your hair needs specific nutrients to help it grow. Make sure your diet is rich in protein, iron, and all the healthy vitamins found in fruits, vegetables, fish, and legumes.
- Stress - We all have stress, but when it comes to adding extra pounds to your frame, it can place a new kind of physical stress on your body. Excess weight means your heart has to pump harder, your muscles and joints take more strain, and your digestive system may slow from extra pressure on your abdomen. Not to mention, the additional fat content may alter your hormones, including insulin, which can lead to metabolic problems and high blood sugar.
So, no, obesity is not a direct cause of hair loss. But, many of the things that may lead to obesity can contribute to hair loss.
What About Obesity-Related Diseases?
Like the lifestyle factors above, obesity-related diseases may also lead to hair loss. For example, cardiovascular disease can affect the blood flow to your scalp. Likewise, type 2 diabetes can affect your arteries, veins, and capillaries, making it more challenging to direct blood flow to the peripheral areas of your body. For example, many people with type 2 diabetes lose the hair on their feet and legs. This hair loss occurs because there is not sufficient blood flow to the vessels that provide oxygen and nutrients to the surface of your skin.
What To Do if You Have Gained Weight and Are Noticing Hair Loss?
If you have gained weight recently, it is important to check with your doctor. Again, extra weight is not a direct cause of hair loss, but it can lead to some complications that may lead to hair loss. Not only that, excess weight puts you at risk for a lot of health problems and may also be a sign that something else is amiss in your body. Hormonal changes, in particular, may lead to hair loss. For example, people with an underactive thyroid gland may notice more weight gain and also hair loss. Again, the weight gain is not a cause of the hair loss, but the low thyroid hormone is, so it needs to be addressed and treated with medication and other lifestyle changes.
What About the Opposite Problem: Does Weight Loss Cause Hair Loss?
Weight loss may be more related to hair loss. Losing weight gradually likely will not cause hair loss, but more sudden weight loss may indeed cause hair loss. For example, people that do crash diets and intense workouts may notice thinning hair because they are not getting enough nutrients to support hair growth, and their bodies are under stress.
Also, people who undergo weight loss surgery like gastric bypass or gastric sleeve may have hair loss. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, people have to severely restrict their food intake before and after weight loss surgery. This restriction can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Secondly, the surgery itself is a form of physical stress (or trauma) that can cause a condition called telogen effluvium, which is a temporary form of hair loss.
Finally, your doctor should always address unintended weight loss, as it may mean that something is not quite right in your body. For example, you may have a nutritional deficiency, an overactive thyroid, or you may have something more concerning that should be evaluated by a medical professional.
How To Treat Hair Loss
If you are struggling with hair loss, you will first want to rule out whatever may be causing it. For example, it may be high-stress levels or a poorly managed thyroid condition. If you can’t rule anything out, it may be related to your genes, as many people struggle with androgenic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern hair loss. Also, many autoimmune disorders cause hair loss, so if you can’t pinpoint what may be behind your hair loss, you should visit your doctor.
Next, don’t hesitate to start using a topical hair regrowth solution that contains 5% Nanoxidil. This proprietary formula is similar to the older, well-known minoxidil but is far more effective at targeting your hair follicles, opening ion channels, and prolonging the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle.
Along with Nanoxidil, you will also want to make sure you use the right shampooing products on your hair. If you suffer from dandruff, make sure to use a product that treats dandruff, as it can lead to inflammation, irritation, and eventual hair thinning.
If hair loss is new to you, talk with one of our product advisors about where to start on your path to regrowing your hair.