Are you losing weight, but with the next kilograms, your hair is also losing? Don’t let yourself be told that this is the normal price of losing weight. Hair loss during weight loss or just after it can be associated with too restrictive diet, but sometimes it can also indicate more serious problems. Trichologist Anna Mackojć explains what can lead to this and when – and how – to react.
We make the decision to lose weight for various reasons. Sometimes they are recommended by a doctor, but most often we want to take care of our health or appearance ourselves. Some people drastically change their diet for this purpose, others additionally increase their physical activity. For many people, losing weight has become much easier today thanks to pharmacology.
The global boom for drugs from the group of GLP1 analogues, whose “side effect” is radical weight loss, has also reached Poland. And although in our country most drugs from this group are registered for the treatment of diabetes, many doctors prescribe them to people who want or need to lose weight.
On the Internet, however, there are more and more opinions that those who, regardless of the method, managed to quickly lose unnecessary kilograms, also lose a lot of hair. Why? And how to lose weight so that the hair does not suffer?
Hair is the first to feel the effects of weight loss
There is no exaggeration in saying that beautiful hair is a sign of health, because it shows the condition of our body quite well. Since hair is last in line when “separating” vitamins, minerals or other nutrients, its healthy appearance tells us that everything is fine. Strong, thick hair is a sign that we provide the body with enough substances it needs.
However, a lot changes during weight loss. Trichologist Anna Mackojć explains that hair loss associated with weight loss is classified as so-called. telogen alopecia – the body introduces the hair into the telogen phase (resting phase) so as not to waste unnecessarily energy and valuable minerals on the hair, which are evolutionarily not necessary for life.
– Slimming, i.e. weight loss itself, even slow and controlled, is a kind of stress for the body. And our body does not like to be under stress. Stress can cause hair loss, it is also one of the factors of telogen effluvium. It doesn’t matter if it’s stress caused by trauma, or it’s related to weight loss – in this case, the body is stressed that we don’t provide the right number of calories, the right amount of nutrients, to put it simply – the diet may be too restrictive or poorly balanced . Such stress is also the exclusion of a certain group of products from the diet, for example those containing wheat, even if we do it on the express recommendation of a doctor. Then homeostasis, i.e. the balance of the body, is disturbed, the expert explains.
What is the hair missing? It’s not always easy to judge
What nutrients can hair lack during weight loss? It is always an individual matter, and determining which vitamins, macro or microelements we have too little is not that easy.
In the case of a rigorous, poorly balanced diet, many products rich in valuable nutrients disappear from the menu. On the other hand, people who use drugs supporting weight loss (including the above-mentioned GLP1 analogues) sometimes experience an almost complete loss of appetite.
For this reason, these deficiencies can be very large. If we limit or give up meat during weight loss, the hair may lack amino acids, e.g. cysteine, which are part of keratin, the basic building block of hair, as well as B vitamins, especially vitamin B12.
Limiting meat, dairy or eggs also leads to a deficiency of zinc, which is important for hair, but also to iron deficiency, i.e. anemia, which also affects the condition of the hair. – Reducing the supply of fiber will also have a destructive effect on the hair – reminds Anna Mackojć.
It is worth remembering that hair after weight loss can fall out for a very long time – until the body completes all the missing nutrients and is in a stable form.
Is your hair falling out? Seek help from a trichologist
Many people who lost their hair due to weight loss invest in expensive cosmetics, treatments at the hairdresser or pharmacy treatments against hair loss. Some people go to a doctor, usually their family doctor, but also to a dermatologist or a specialist who recommended weight loss for health reasons: usually an endocrinologist or diabetologist.
– Each visit and advice is valuable, because each specialist can add his brick due to a different approach to the problem. So it’s worth using every help – says Anna Mackojć.
– It should be emphasized that there is no list of tests that should be performed by everyone who loses hair after losing weight, because the causes of hair loss related to weight loss can be different: it can be deficiencies, oxidative stress, which has a negative impact on the thyroid gland, fluctuations in glucose or insulin, etc. But it can be confirmed by completely different tests, sometimes very specialized. he adds.
– Of course, any test results ordered by a doctor can be a suggestion for a trichologist. However, recommending someone to do all the research does not make sense, it is very expensive, and their results may be correct. During the visit, the trichologist conducts a specialized trichoscopy examination, which often allows to indicate the direction of searching for the cause of the problem. Therefore, it is worth waiting and going to a specialist who will comprehensively deal with the problem of hair loss. – emphasizes the expert.
How to lose weight without losing hair?
And what can you do while losing weight? – Contrary to appearances, a lot – says Anna Mackojć. – The thing about hair is that the more hair is left on the head during the hair loss process, the easier it is to work with it, because you do not need to stimulate its regrowth. It’s best to start acting as soon as we hear from the doctor that we need to lose weight, or we make such a decision ourselves. If someone is thinking about slimming, also with the help of medications, they should start trichological activities at this stage to prevent large hair loss, which will certainly occur as a result of losing weight. – explains the expert.
– We have many procedures, both in-office and at home, that stimulate the hair follicles. There is a solution for everyone, it just needs to be adapted and implemented at the right time. Once we lose our hair, we must stimulate its growth, which is extremely difficult during weight loss, because the body, figuratively speaking, does not want to give nutrients to the hair – it has other, more important needs. Hair for the body is at the very end of the list, if there is no hair, nothing bad happens from the point of view of health. – emphasizes the expert.
Already at this stage, it is also worth consulting a dietitian, because the entire slimming process should take place under his watchful eye – especially in the case of severe overweight or obesity.
Is it worth taking supplements? – It is best to leave the decision to a dietitian and a trichologist, because each of these specialists will look at supplementation with their own eyes, and not always both will recommend the same. – explains Anna Mackojć. – A dietician preparing a nutritional plan should give a suggestion that the diet may lack specific nutrients, because diets are also arranged according to food preferences. Someone who doesn’t like groats will not have it on their menu, but the ingredients contained in groats must be supplemented, and if this cannot be done with a diet, they must be supplemented – sums up Anna Mackojć.