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Dramatic Weight Loss

REGAINE® should only be used for the treatment of hereditary hair loss. Do not use REGAINE® to treat hair loss that has been caused purely by dramatic weight loss. Remember to always seek advice from a healthcare professional first, before treating any hair loss.

Dramatic Weight Loss

Could Dramatic Weight Loss Be Causing My Hair Shedding?

Picture the scene: you’ve been piling on the pounds for a few years now, and you’ve decided to do something about it. Great! But after a few months of hard dieting, you’ve started to notice that your hair is falling out – you’re thinning on the top and shedding more than ever. Not the greatest of starts to your new healthy lifestyle.

In 2012, a study was published which tracked the side-effects of low-calorie diets and weight management. All participants in the study lost weight and kept it off, which is usually a real positive – but one of the most common complaints of the participants was hair loss. In the study, this was cited as a ‘minor but bothersome’ side-effect of a strict low-calorie diet. So why exactly does dramatic weight loss affect your follicles?


The root cause

When you lose a lot of weight in a short period of time, your body automatically goes into a kind of survival mode, where it predicts total starvation might not be too far behind. Whether you’ve been eating less or exercising more, fast weight loss can convince your body to stop allocating its resources to less essential tasks – like keeping your hair on your head. Instead, the energy and the vitamins are redirected, going towards preserving muscle and keeping you active.


Can losing weight trigger hereditary hair loss?

While there is no direct link between hereditary hair loss and the type of hair loss that occurs after losing a significant amount of weight, the crash diets or fasting involved with dramatic weight loss can have a knock-on effect on hormones.

Take insulin, for example. Too much of this hormone can affect the way we store fat and gain weight – and losing weight can help regulate our body’s insulin levels more effectively. Scientists have also found a link between insulin sensitivity and the body’s ability to regulate the hormone testosterone1 – a key factor in hereditary hair loss. So while the dramatic weight loss might not act as a direct trigger for any kind of hair shedding, the subsequent hormone fluctuations may just have an effect. 


The solution?

If you’re overweight, taking action to slim down is a great move – but it’s important to make sure you do so in a sustainable and sensible way. If you find that your weight loss seems to have had an effect on your hair health, it’s important to speak to a professional and rule out any other health issues.

If you are looking for medicinal hair loss treatment options, remember to always talk to your pharmacist or healthcare professional first.