Can Losing Weight Cause Your Hair To Fall Out?

Dear lord, no.

Korin Miller |

Cue the celebration emoji — the scale is moving in the direction you want it to! But… then you start to notice that your hair is falling out. Like, a lot of it. WTH?

Before you panic and assume you’re going bald, know this: What you’re going through is completely normal. “We know that, clinically and anecdotally, hair loss is associated with rapid weight loss or weight loss associated with stress,” says Ken Williams Jr, a hair-restoration specialist, surgeon and author of Hair Transplant 360 – Follicular Unit Extraction.

In other not-fair news, the more weight you lose, the more likely you are to experience some form of hair loss, says Beth Warren, author of Living a Real Life with Real Food.

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It all comes down to nutrients, says obesity medicine physician Dr Fatima Cody Stanford. People often don’t take in enough protein when they lose weight, she explains. And, when you don’t get enough protein, your body has to decide where to send the protein it does have. Given that your hair isn’t crucial to your survival, it gets the leftovers, Stanford says — and that can lead to hair loss.

Ready for the good news? This is temporary. “When people stop losing weight, the hair loss usually resolves itself,” Warren says.

If you’re planning to lose a lot of weight and want to minimise the… er… fallout, try keeping tabs on how much protein you’re getting, and aim to get your recommended daily amount — that would be 46g.

It’s also a good idea to try to get some zinc in your diet, Stanford says, since it’s a key mineral for hair growth (as well as skin and nail growth). You can get it by eating: veggies like broccoli and spinach; fruits like avocado and fig; animal-based proteins like eggs and lean beef.

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You may also want to take a zinc supplement to be totally sure you’re getting enough, says Stanford. (Just check in with your doctor first, which is a must before taking any kind of supplement.)

If you do start to lose your hair, despite your best efforts, and it’s bothering you, Williams recommends taking a biotin supplement or even a prenatal vitamin, both of which have a lot of extra vitamins your body probably is probably craving right now.

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