Hair Restoration Blog

Obesity and Hair Loss - Is There a Connection?
January 24 2018

Obesity and Hair Loss - Is There a Connection?

Being overweight or obese can cause all kinds of problems - but can it cause hair loss?

There is no direct connection – being overweight does not cause you to lose hair. What is more likely is that there is a root cause behind both your difficulty losing weight and your hair problems. Here are some possible things to check:

  1. Underactive thyroid. The two most common symptoms of an underactive thyroid are weight gain and hair loss. If you are in your thirties, especially if a woman, and are also experiencing fatigue, dry skin, low quality nails or depression you should get your thyroid levels checked.
  2. Stress. Stress raises cortisol levels. This stress can cause both (usually temporary) hair loss and weight gain. Chronic stress can be caused by mental health disorders or life circumstances (or both). Dealing with stress may involve lifestyle changes, therapy and stress management techniques. We often know, at least subconsciously, if we're too stressed out.
  3. Excess estrogen. In both men and women, excess estrogen causes both weight gain and hair loss. In women this can be a symptom of problems with the reproductive system, such as ovarian cysts. It can also be caused by overexposure to estrogen-like compounds. Excess estrogen can also be caused by obesity, resulting in a vicious cycle.
  4. Menopause. Menopause causes all kinds of imbalances to happen in the body, and can start as early as 40 years old. Declines in estrogen, progesterone and testosterone cause excessively dry hair which then becomes brittle and breaks, which causes thinning. And this also causes weight gain for many women. (Sadly, HRT can also cause hair loss - you need to work with your doctor on the right dosage).
  5. Testosterone decline. Which can be caused by obesity, just like excess estrogen. This is the real reason why many people think obesity "causes" male pattern baldness. The truth is that a large man has less testosterone to go around, resulting in spikes in DHT. It doesn't cause baldness, but it does cause the baldness you were going to get anyway to show up sooner.
  6. Pre-diabetes. Hair loss can be one of the signs that your blood sugar is not under control. As overweight people are at higher risk of an insulin imbalance and type 2 diabetes (type 1 is genetic), this may also look like obesity is causing the hair loss.
  7. Poor nutrition. If you are eating too much fast food whether from lack of time, lack of money, or both, then you are likely to be putting on weight...which means malnourishment in key areas. Deficiency in Vitamin E can affect both hair and skin, and certain B vitamins, especially biotin, are also needed for healthy hair. This can also hit people attempting to lose weight - if you lose your hair after you start your diet then you should go to a nutritionist as it is a good sign that you are crash dieting, which will not help in the long run.

In short no - obesity does not cause hair loss. But many things which cause, or are caused by, obesity do have an impact on your hair. The combination can be a red flag that something serious is going on with your health and you should talk to your doctor. For a FREE hair loss analysis contact New Look Institute. Our trained experts will help determine the root cause of your hair loss and the best way to regain a healthy, full scalp.