Losing weight can be a challenging yet rewarding process. However, many people notice increased shedding or thinning of their hair when losing weight quickly. This is referred to as telogen effluvium - a temporary hair loss condition caused by stress on the body. Fortunately, with the right strategy, it is possible to reverse hair loss from weight loss and regain a full head of hair.
How to reverse hair loss from weight loss
Hair loss from weight loss is generally due to the stress of a very low calorie diet, nutrient deficiencies, or hormonal fluctuations. The good news is that in most cases the hair loss is temporary and reversible. Here are some effective tips to help reverse hair loss from weight loss:
Gradually increase calorie intake
Cutting calories too quickly and severely stresses the body, prompting hair follicles to enter the resting phase prematurely. Gradually increasing calorie intake to a maintenance level allows the body to recover and hair to regrow. Aim for an additional 100-200 calories per week until weight stabilizes.
Eat more protein
Low protein intake is a common trigger for hair loss when losing weight. Protein provides the amino acids needed to construct new hair. Aim for 0.6g to 1g of protein per pound of body weight daily from sources like poultry, fish, eggs, lean meat, dairy, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Load up on vitamins and minerals
Nutrient deficiencies from calorie restriction sabotage hair growth. Boost intake of iron, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B complex, and omega-3s from dietary sources and supplements. A daily multivitamin can help fill gaps.
Treat hormonal imbalances
Weight loss can throw hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid out of balance, leading to hair thinning. See a doctor to test for hormonal abnormalities, and take prescribed medications or supplements to correct them.
Reduce exercise intensity
Over-exercising raises cortisol and exacerbates hair loss. moderate your workouts to 3-4 times a week for 30-60 minutes. Focus on stress-reducing exercise like yoga, walking, or swimming.
Practice stress management
High stress from restrictive dieting causes inflammation and follicle shutdown. Combat stress with relaxation techniques like meditation, massage, nature sounds, or counseling. Getting enough sleep is also vital.
Massage scalp regularly
A 5-minute scalp massage 2-3 times per week boosts circulation around hair follicles, providing nutrients for growth. Use fingertips to apply gentle pressure around the scalp and temples.
Try hair-stimulating products
Serums with peptides, antioxidants, biotin, ginseng, saw palmetto, and caffeine can energize follicles and encourage regrowth. Use leave-in treatments 1-2 times per day after shampooing.
Correct damaging hair habits
Avoid tight hairstyles that pull on hair and cause traction alopecia. Let hair air dry instead of overusing hot tools. Use conditioning treatments to add moisture. Handle hair gently when washing, combing and styling.
Get regular trims
Schedule trims every 6-8 weeks to remove split ends and encourage new growth. This helps hair look and feel healthier as it regrows.
Consider laser therapy
Low-level laser devices use light energy to stimulate follicles and increase growth factors. Clinical trials show laser hair therapy can effectively treat hair loss. Treatments are fast, non-invasive and can be done at home.
Discuss medications with your doctor
If hair loss persists beyond 6 months, consult a dermatologist. They may prescribe medications like minoxidil, finasteride, or spironolactone to regulate hair growth cycles and block DHT hormones.
Get hormone replacement therapy
For post-menopausal women, hormone therapy containing estrogen or progesterone can offset hair thinning from dropping levels after menopause. This helps normalize hair growth cycles.
Try PRP injections
Platelet-rich plasma injected into the scalp provides growth factors that stimulate dormant follicles. Multiple treatments are required but PRP can effectively treat hair loss by strengthening existing hair.
Consider hair transplant
For significant bald spots, a hair transplant takes follicles from thicker areas and implants them where hair is needed. Transplants offer a permanent solution for restoring hair.
Losing weight places physical stress on the body that can prompt extra hair shedding. While alarming, hair loss from weight loss is usually temporary. Allow the body to recover, provide extra nourishment, correct hormonal imbalances, reduce stress, and stimulate the scalp. With a little time and TLC, your hair should regain its thickness and fullness after significant weight loss.
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