Hair Loss with Weight Loss is Preventable!

Hair Loss

Hair Loss with Weight Loss is Preventable!
When you subject yourself to a rigorous weight loss regimen, it may also affect your hair growth. If this happens, it may take up to 5 months to notice, and it will usually correct itself within a year, but there are ways to lessen its effect or avoid it entirely.

Nutritionally, hair loss with weight loss is triggered by at least 2 main factors. First off, restricting calories can potentially lead to a deficiency in essential micronutrients (minerals and vitamins) like biotin, folic acid, vitamin C, and zinc as well as the macronutrient protein which are needed for proper hair growth. Weight loss can also, especially when rapid, can cause a stress effect on the body, triggering hormonal changes, which in turn can also lead to hair loss.

Avoid Fad and Very Low Calorie Diets
Fad diets and those that place your daily caloric intake under 1000cal (VLCD’s) will almost always trigger both unwanted responses outlined above, some listed below and should be always be avoided. Instead, look for more reasonable, sustainable, portable, and lifelong changes in your eating and lifestyle. Including sufficient amount of foods that are rich in nutrients but low in carbohydrate with sufficient amounts of protein is a good place to start. Instead of taking one big meal, eat 3 meals and a couple of protein rich snacks throughout the day. If you’ve had bariatric surgery, you may need to eat 6-8 small meals each day. Either way, do NOT exclude any of the vital macronutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrate), they are ALL important! Remember to accomplish this along with proper exercise (300+ minutes per week), hydration (8+ glasses of water per day) and rest (6-8 hours of sleep each night). This will allow your body to function in a more normal manner and will help prevent the diversion of the much needed building blocks required for hair growth. The philosophy and program that we promote at Lehigh Valley Weight Loss includes all of these points (on purpose!).

Eat Food
The best way to obtain the nutrients you require for all your bodily functions is first and foremost from the food you eat. However, the more processed that food is, the less nutrition it is likely to have. The nutritional value of our food has also been compromised a bit over the past few decades as it has been selected out more for transport and storage than nutritional content. So, in a perfect world, farm to table would be the best, but it simply isn’t practical for most of us and certainly not most of the time. Food supplements or ‘vitamins’ may be required to fill in the gaps for some micronutrients for many people. Protein is the main macronutrient required and is found primarily in meat, eggs, dairy and less optimally in some vegetables and legumes. Biotin is the most essential micronutrient and its main sources are meats, eggs, salmon, nuts, dairy, cauliflower and avocados. Zinc is the next most important with a daily requirement being necessary because we can’t store it in our bodies. It’s found in meats, shellfish, nuts, dairy, and eggs. Folic acid is best found in legumes, nuts, eggs, avocado, leafy green’s including broccoli and asparagus, beets, and citrus fruits. Vitamin C is primarily in the citrus fruits and some leafy green vegetables like broccoli and kale ... noticing any overlaps yet??

Opt For Food Supplements
In case you are not able to consistently maintain a diet rich in meats, eggs, dairy and / or vegetables as above, you can use food supplements aka ‘vitamins’. Lehigh Valley Weight Loss has its own proprietary hair supplement, “Hair Skin & Nail” that has a more robust formula than any other over the counter product of its kind. As you can guess, it also helps with skin and nail growth as well.

Weathering
Your body goes through an adjustment period whenever the weather changes that can throw off your hair growth cycle. Since hair grows faster in the warmer climates or summer, it’s only natural to experience more shedding at the end of summer or when the weather gets a bit chillier. Luckily, eating as described above can encourage steady growth and help ease the transition.

Pulling Ponytails
Elastic bands keep your pony intact during those intense sweat sessions, but wearing it more than four times a week (even if it’s only when you’re in bed at night) means your hair is undergoing constant concentrated pressure which can cause accelerated breakage leading to more shedding. Try being a bit less brutal with the pulling and look for alternatives.

Severe Styling
When you do anything severe to your strands, like using hot tools or doing a keratin treatment, you’re affecting the health of your hair. Putting that extra stress on the follicle can deplete the hydrogen bonds in your hair that keep the moisture in, causing tiny little cracks. That makes it more likely to break instead of stretch, like healthy hair should. Translation: Step away from the straightener, blow dryer, and chemicals as much as possible. And if you can’t, always use a heat protector first.

Slightly Sudsing
If you notice larger-than-normal amounts of hair at the bottom of your shower drain, you may be not be sudsing up enough. You typically lose 50 to 100 hairs a day, so when you don’t shampoo, which would shed naturally as you wash, it means that the hair is just sitting on the scalp. Mix that with the overuse of style-extending products, and you’ll see the accumulation when you do go to wash your hair. The answer doesn’t have to mean showering more often; just make sure you don’t clog the hair follicles by limiting your use of dry shampoo and exfoliating your scalp at least once a week.

Stress
Any type of physical or emotional strain, whether from your late-night work shifts, relationships, or even the flu, can trigger a cascade of hormones that disrupt your hair cycle. The best way to offset any shed-inducing tension: Eat right, sleep well, exercise and try some meditation techniques.

Cool Down with Conditioner
Conditioning your hair is like moisturizing your face: if you don’t do it, you could cause the skin to dry, flake, and become inflamed. The scalp is the same way. Inflammation around the hair follicle can cause the hair to shed before the end of its growth cycle. If you’re skipping it to avoid weighing your fine hair down, massage in a lightweight conditioner for 30 seconds only, then rinse.

Pinching Pillowcases
Anything that causes friction for your hair can weaken the follicle, making strands look thin and brittle. Since you spend several hours each night with your hair against a pillowcase, and cotton’s coarse texture can absorb moisture, creating friction, cotton pillowcases are not good for hair health. Swap them out for ones with a higher thread count, satin, or silk ones to cut down on breakage.

Restorative Results
Since hair is slow growing, even in the best of circumstances, once any corrective measures are put into place, results cannot be gauged for at least 2-3 months, so please be patient!

 

 

Author
John Scaffidi, MD, FACOG, FABOM Dr. Scaffidi is the founder and Chief of Medical Bariatrics, Aesthetics, and Gynecology at Total Women's Healthcare and Lehigh Valley Weight Loss. He maintains board certifications in both Bariatric Medicine and Gynecology while actively training residents, medical students and the community in cutting edge technologies, medical and surgical techniques.

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