Hair follicle is a complex structure. It is strong and can dutifully withstand a lot. However, when it becomes too much, the follicles simply go dormant. This usually happens in extreme physiological and psychological stressful conditions.
Rapid weight loss triggers such a condition. That’s why doctors advise to lose weight slowly and steadily. They strictly advise against crash diets or any drastic change in the diet. This directly affects follicle function.
So, if you are wondering “can rapid weight loss cause hair loss,” then, yes, it’s does.
It’s a common phenomenon. People are happy to lose weight, only to realize that they are losing bunches of hair. What a spoilsport!
Hair loss that happens after weight loss is generally Telogen Effluvium. It signifies the lengthening of the resting phase of the hair growth cycle.
To put it in the simplest words, your follicles cannot take it anymore and have gone to “sleep.”
Usually, a hair strand grows about half an inch every month for a couple of years. Then, it enters the telogen phase or the resting phase. Then, it falls off. Its cycle is complete. It is replaced by another hair strand that the follicle produces meanwhile.
Not all strands are in the same stage. If this were, then you would turn bald every two years when all hair went into the resting phase and then dropped off!
So, Mother Nature has been kind. She has put only a limited number of hair at the resting phase at a time. The rest are either growing (in the active phase) or are falling off naturally, making room for newer ones.
A normal hair growth cycle features around 10 per cent of the hair in the resting or telogen phase.
Telogen Effluvium happens when this 10 per cent increases and your entire hair growth cycle goes haywire. That’s why you see locks of hair on the comb, when, instead, they should be on your scalp!
Thankfully, this hair loss condition is limited to the scalp. However, severe cases can even affect hair of the body, including eyebrows.
Relax. This type of hair loss is temporary. Your body is under stress due to the abrupt weight loss and those diets. Once it recovers, follicles may become active again.
However, if you have starved yourselves or have developed some nutritional deficiency, your hair loss may continue.
So, the first thing to do is check your diet. Pump your body with nutrition.
Your hair need nourishment AND calories. People restrict their calorie intake during weight loss. This is one of the reasons they experience hair loss, say dermatologists.
Increase consumption of protein-rich food. Take enough Vitamin A and C and minerals like iron and zinc. Eat healthy. Don’t starve.
Enjoy your newly achieved body weight. Your follicles are not damaged. They are simply “sleeping off” to adjust to the change in your diet and lifestyle. They will come back to normal in a month or two. If they don’t, you must consult a hair expert.