Keto and Hair Loss
Gimme a Head With Hair, Long Beautiful Hair!
Not so fast! For some people keto means hair loss. But it doesn't have to be permanent!
Low carb diets: they help you lose weight, and experience mental clarity, elevated mood, and heightened focus. And yet, for some people, a side effect of keto is hair loss. OH NO! On the one hand, hair loss, but on the other hand, euch, really?! These are our choices?! WHAT GOOD IS BEING FIT IF YOU EXPERIENCE HAIR LOSS?! Have no fear, beauty is a social construct; you can be beautiful no matter… WHO AM I KIDDING?! I LOVE MY HAIR! Luckily, hair loss experienced during keto is temporary and can be easily reversed with supplementation, dietary tweaks, and even aided with some home remedies. Although, it’s also hair loss, so all options are on the table. I’d be using Rogaine daily just to play it safe!
Keto can cause temporary hair loss.
There’s a number of reasons why you may be losing hair during the keto diet (or any diet, really). A caloric deficit might mean you end up consuming less amino acids and nutrients than necessary, both of which undermine hair growth. A caloric deficit also means your body has less fuel to spend. Bottom of the priority list? Hair! Although, for me, I’d say, “appendix.” No one knows what an appendix does and it’s a potential ticking time bomb! I’d give that thing less fuel before I start depriving hair of energy!
Also, remember that when you’re doing the ketogenic diet in particular your kidneys end up doing a lot of heavy lifting in the process of depleting your glycogen stores (the backup sugar your body keeps in case of emergencies). That means you go pee-pee a lot! And when you wee-wee as much as you do on keto, that means you have to replenish electrolytes (sodium, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and iodine). Without those electrolytes you’re going to risk your precious hair follicles.
Keep in mind, dieting entails putting your body under stress. As does doing cardio. If, on top of that, you’re also not getting enough sleep then you’ve got a triple threat of stress making your hair thin or fall out, which is stressful in and of itself. I NEED A DRINK, AND THEN SOME SLEEP! Luckily, stress from being on a diet ought to pass after a couple months as your body becomes adjusted to your new lifestyle. And it better be a lifestyle because, you guessed it, yo-yo dieting is just more stress!
It’s possible that the culprit behind your hair loss is your thyroid rather than your diet. So, head to your doctor’s and get blood work done to rule out the possibility of thyroid troubles. A thyroid disorder can be a big deal since the hormones released by the thyroid play a large role in regulating your metabolism, protein synthesis, cardiovascular functions, sexual function, sleep, and even thought patterns.
There are three main types of hair loss.
You can experience alopecia areata, which is when large swathes of hair just disappear around your head. Then there's telogen effluvium, which entails an increase in the number of hairs that fall out. Lastly, there's trichotillomania, which is when you pull your hair out because you're so stressed out (and you might not even notice that you're doing it!). Given the amount of stress that you might be under as you lose weight, any one of these conditions may occur (even more than one at a time!).
Fixing your hair with supplements.
You can wait out your hair loss, drink more fluids, add more calories to your meal plan, up the amounts of protein you consume (yum, grass fed beef!), and replenish your electrolytes. You may also try to reduce stress by eating keto friendly foods that can reduce anxiety. Those are all things to do in direct response to what may broadly trigger your follicles to fall on their sword in the name of weight loss. A biotin deficiency may be responsible since biotin helps skin, hair, and nails grow. Iron deficiencies may also be to blame, so get blood work done to check your levels.
What you really wanna do, though, is start taking collagen peptides. One reason why you should take collagen peptides is that they can restore some of your hair’s strength and thickness. And if you want to make it a double whammy, combine your collagen peptides with MSM (methylsulfonylmethane).
MSM is a naturally occurring sulfur rich macronutrient. It’s found, albeit in small amounts, in some fruits, vegetables, animal products, and algae. MSM, like collagen peptides, aids in the growth of connective tissue, skin, and keratin, the latter being essential for the growth of hair and nails. MSM absorption is increased when it’s partnered with vitamin C, so make sure to combine the two in your morning supplement cocktail (MSM also makes your energy levels go up, so it can be a part of your morning pick-me-up). Most importantly, MSM binds keratin and collagen, further improving your hair growth.
There are several at home remedies for hair loss.
A mixture of coconut oil, castor oil, and rosemary oil rubbed into your hairline can help improve hair growth and strength. Other oils you can use include almond, argan, cedar wood, and lavender. In general, the internet is littered with recipes of stuff to rub into your hair with the hopes of reversing hair loss. Stylecrazy brags about having 20 effective home remedies and tips to control hair fall.
Scalp massage and scalp microdermabrasion may help as well. In fact, at home microdermabrasion has gotten easier than ever thanks to derma rollers, which are cylinders covered with small needles that you rub over your face or head with the intention of removing the outer layer of skin to encourage the growth of new skin or healthy hair. Yes, a derma roller sounds a little bit like a nightmare, but Amazon has several derma rollers that have received four and a half out of five star reviews from nearly 1,000 people. Several! That’s a healthy marketplace!
Lastly, there are two popular drugs used to treat hair loss: minoxidil, most commonly known as Rogaine, and finasteride, which you may know as Propecia. Rogaine doesn't restore hair loss, but it does slow it if used for six to nine months as recommended, which means rubbing it into your scalp once or twice a day. Yes, that's a lot of hair rubs, but, come on, it's your hair!
Propecia, meanwhile, is a pill you take daily, which used to require a prescription but now can be purchased online through sites like Hims, Keeps, and Lemonaid. Propecia works by inhibiting the release of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), the hormone that disrupts the hair growth cycle. Propecia has been said to work in two thirds of the people who use it. Those odd aren’t bad, and they only get better if you use both Propecia and Rogaine at the same time, while rubbing all sorts of oil in your hair, taking biotin, and doing anything else within your power to protect your hair! You can also just wear a hat, or, you know, not make a big deal out of it like the millions of bald people out there who are just fine being bald.