Can hair loss be affected by weight gain or weight loss? If you become Angelina Jolie-skinny, could your hair suddenly fall out, and if it does, will it come back? And does being overweight put you at greater risk for losing your hair?
When I first noticed my hair was thinning, it was about ten years ago, and my body was at the thinnest it had ever been. In the past I’ve always been at a normal weight for my height (around the middle of the BMI – body mass index), but in my mid 20s I had dropped down to the low end of normal on the scale. I was initially ecstatic because I could finally wear whatever I wanted to without worrying about cellulite and muffin tops. At the time I had given up trying to lose weight because diets never worked for me - but I started eating a little less when I moved from one city to another because I couldn’t afford to eat out anymore, and after a few months I lost ten pounds.
After a few years at my “perfect” weight, I also noticed my part was wider, and my hair didn’t have the same volume it used to. More than one doctor told me I was too skinny, even though I was within the healthy range of the BMI scale, and I was still ten pounds heavier than any Hollywood celebrity. Telogen Effluvium (temporary increased hair shedding) can be caused by weight loss and nutritional deficiencies, so I then made it a point to try to eat as healthy as possible, even if that meant I would have to gain weight. Every time I felt a hunger pain I would worry my body was starving to death and my hair would flee my head, so I would constantly snack. For the next few years I didn’t gain too much weight, nor did I regrow any hair. And even though I felt like I had a low thyroid problem, doctors wouldn’t listen to me because I wasn’t overweight.
During the last few years I’ve gained about twenty pounds, despite eating relatively healthy foods, and I finally have the answer to whether or not gaining weight and not being too skinny would solve my hair problems. My hair, of course, is worse than ever, yet I’m definitely not too skinny anymore! I am totally average, yet my hair is anything but that. So in my case gaining weight didn’t do a damn thing, despite a few doctors telling me that was my answer. I guess being thin and not eating that well could have taxed my body and spurred my genetic hair loss faster than if I had been eating perfectly…
Now I’m currently trying to lose weight because I have a closet full of clothes that don’t fit and I have massive cellulite, varicose veins, and jiggly arms, and I feel really unattractive. I know I’m not supposed to hate so many things about my body but I do. I still associate hunger pains with my hair falling out – I know I’m nuts. Now I’m in a constant struggle between my weight and hair issues (but I doubt my hair will ever come back, which is why I’m back to focusing on losing weight). And now I also think my thyroid problem is back, but that’s a whole other story.
• Weight Loss And Hair Loss
I do believe if you’re too skinny that it can affect your hair negatively because when you’re trying to stay thin and only eat 1200 calories a day, it’s hard to get enough nutrients in those limited calories. So you must be vigilant about your diet if you’re prone to hair loss. There are so many super thin celebrities that don’t have any hair loss, so maybe they have excellent eating habits, they’re just genetically lucky, or they wear fake hair and we just don’t know about it. I have noticed a lot of the models in magazines seem to have thin hair and wide parts, so it does make me wonder if being super skinny puts you at risk for hair loss (these models probably fall below the healthy range on the BMI). When I was in New York City, there were a lot of skinny women with hair loss but I don’t know how much their weight affected their hair. On the other hand, I’ve seen many anorexic women without obvious hair loss, so I think if you’re not prone to hair loss you can do just about anything to your body and your hair will stay put.
Rapid weight loss can definitely cause temporary hair loss. Gastric Bypass Surgery can also cause extensive hair loss (which I will write about at another time). Hyperthyroid (overactive thyroid) can cause both weight loss and hair loss!
In theory if you lose weight slowly it shouldn’t be a problem for your hair, and if you eat really well, your weight shouldn’t have that much to do with your hair if you stay within a normal weight range. However there are other health factors that can contribute to hair loss (poor absorption of nutrients, low stomach acid, etc.) that I haven’t talked much about yet, and it is definitely challenging to stay slim while getting a perfect balance of nutrients to support your hair. Back when I was young, thin, and I had lots of hair, I used to drink Frappuccinos every day (and when you’re using up 400 calories on sugar, there’s not enough calories left for healthy foods).
• Weight Gain And Hair Loss
There are many medical conditions that can contribute to both weight gain and hair loss. PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), Diabetes, the pill, hormone imbalances, Depression, Hypothyroid (low thyroid), and side effects from medications are just a few issues that can affect both your weight and your hair. Or, of course, weight gain on its own can cause or worsen many of those same diseases, thus possibly making hair loss worse.
Overall I don’t know if overweight women have less of a chance, more of a chance, or the same chance, of having hair loss than women who aren’t overweight. This is a topic that’s interested me for several years now, but I don’t know the answer.
This post is my way of expressing my frustration with not only my hair loss but my weight issues too. I am not trying to show off by saying I was once really happy with my figure and my weight – I’m just frustrated that when one thing is going well in your life, something else comes along to overshadow the positive. Now that I can’t lose weight to save my life, it does make me wonder if my thyroid is acting up again. And I do think a big issue in today’s society is the difficulty in getting the proper nutrients absorbed into our bodies. Between the expense of organic foods, the pesticides that taint fruits and vegetables, the hormones given to animals, the genetically modified foods, the tap water that is questionably safe, and the omnipresence of unhealthy foods everywhere – I do wonder if this is having a huge impact on female hair loss. What do you think?