Are you planning to follow fad diets or crash diets to promote quick weight loss? Before you embark on a weight loss journey, also know the consequences it might bring to your hair.
“Weight loss with extreme diets can lead to ghastly repercussions on your hair due to depleted levels of nutrients necessary for normal functioning of your body,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
Let’s delve deep to understand the connection between weight loss and hair loss and the different hair regrowth treatments.
How Hair Loss And Weight Loss Are Related As Per Ayurveda?
As per Ayurvedic science, your hair health is governed by three vital life energies: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas. When any of these doshas are in imbalanced levels, it reflects on your scalp and hair, leading to hair fall and hair loss. Your diet has a significant impact on the equilibrium of the tridoshas.
A sudden or rapid weight loss causes an imbalance in Vata dosha predominantly, which can also eventually lead to the derangement of Pitta and Kapha levels. This takes a toll on your hair follicles, eventually leading to shedding of your hair in lumps.
In scientific terms, the hair loss caused by weight loss is termed as ‘telogen effluvium’. This happens when your hair enters the telogen phase  prematurely due to physical stress caused by sudden weight fluctuations.
Factors Causing Hair Loss During Weight Loss
Poor dieting plans meant for rapid or sudden weight loss may affect your body in the following ways, which causes hair fall and hair loss.
Your body needs vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, minerals such as iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, etc. along with plenty of protein or amino acids in certain levels to grow healthy hair. If your diet lacks these vital nutrients then the functioning of your follicles and hair growth cycle is disrupted, causing extreme hair fall. As per Ayurveda, we can correlate this condition to the derangement of Vata dosha in your body.
2. Hormonal Imbalance
The nutrients absorbed by your body through your food is what enables the proper functioning of various endocrine and exocrine glands in your body. Rapid weight loss diets affect the functioning of glands, which leads to drastic fluctuations in various hormone levels  in your body. This in turn imbalances your metabolism which causes the nutrient absorption capacity of your body to decline more and further leading to follicle weakening and hair loss. Ayurveda describes it as a condition caused by the derangement of Pitta dosha.
Your hair growth is controlled by various endocrine hormones such as androgens, estrogens, melanocyte-stimulating hormone, melatonin, prolactin, etc.
3. Extreme Calorie Deprivation
Crash diets with very low-calorie intake can deprive your body of the necessary energy it needs to function properly. While your body prioritizes and allots the available energy for various vital organ functions such as heart pumping, blood circulation, etc. your hair follicles' functioning gets sidelined. This will eventually result in severe hair loss.
4. Excessive Stress
An imbalanced diet for your Ayurvedic Prakriti can lead to an increase in anxiety and stress. To counterbalance the stress, your body releases certain hormones that impact the functioning of your hair follicles. As per Ayurveda, stress can cause vitiation in all the three doshas in your body.
5. Extreme Physical Exhaustion
When you combine extreme physical exercise with an unbalanced diet to reduce your weight rapidly, it does more harm to your body. As a result of extreme exhaustion, a shock reaction can be triggered by your body, which in turn results in alopecia areata (hair loss).
6. Sweat Build Up
Excessive sweat is generated during extreme physical exertion for weight loss. If you do not wash your hair post workout, the sweat builds up blending with dirt. This blocks your follicle pores and cause hair loss.
“Sometimes, chronic medical conditions such as cancer, thyroid problems, HIV Aids and certain viral infections cause unintentional weight loss in your body. This results in dramatic hair loss,” says Dr. Zeel.
Symptoms Of Hair Loss Due To Weight Loss
A. Increased hair fall for 2-4 months after you begin to lose weight
B. Hair thinning all over the scalp
C. Bi-temporal hair recession
Will Hair Loss From Weight Loss Grow Back?
Yes, your hair loss due to weight loss starts to regrow 3-6 months after you begin to adopt the necessary hair regrowth treatments, lifestyle, and preventive measures.
How To Regrow Hair After Weight Loss?
1. Ayurvedic Ways
“You need to incorporate a deep nourishing Ayurvedic hair care regimen simultaneously as you proceed with your weight loss plans. This helps you compensate for any lack of nutrient supply to your follicles,” says Dr. Zeel.
Also, you need to understand the doshas in your body before opting for the right herbs in your Ayurvedic hair care that specifically works to balance your elevated doshas.
A. Regular Ayurvedic Oil Treatments
Here are some of the potential herbs your hair oil can have to nourish as well as rejuvenate your follicle and hair tissues as per your aggravated doshas.
- Vetiver(khas-khas grass), shatavari(wild asparagus), yashtimadhu(licorice), etc. for elevated Vata and Pitta doshas.
- Nimba(neem), japa(hibiscus), musta(nutgrass), kamala(lotus), karpoora(camphor), daruharidra(Indian berberi), etc. for elevated Pitta and Kapha doshas.
- Sariyaka(barleria prionitis), karanja(pongamia pinnata), gunja(rosepea), bakuchi(psoralea corylifolia), ashwagandha(withania somnifera), etc. for elevated Kapha and Vata doshas.
Give the roots as well as the shaft portion of your hair a gentle oil massage for at least 5 minutes at bedtime and wash your hair the next morning. Repeat this at least twice a week.
B. Ayurvedic Hair Cleansers
You can use any of the following herbs as natural cleansing agents for your hair. While these herbal ingredients have a very gentle action on your scalp, they also contribute to nourish and condition your hair.
- Triphala (haritaki+bibhitaki+amalaki)
- Amla (Indian gooseberry)
- Kumari (aloe vera)
- Shikakai (soap Pod)
- Reetha (soap Nut)
- Japa (hibiscus)
- Methi (Fenugreek)
Vedix Tip: You can add 4-5 drops of any herbal essential oils such as lavender, tea-tree, chamomile, rosemary, thyme, peppermint, cedarwood, etc. into your shampoos for better results.
C. Rejuvenation Therapies
Below are some of the hair strengthening therapies of Ayurveda. These therapies with the right herbal medicated liquids based on your doshas help you to bring them to balance. They also help you restore your emotional balance by relieving you from stress.
D. Ayurvedic Oral Medicines
Here are the most common Ayurvedic medications prescribed for hair regrowth:
- Narasimha Rasayanam
- Chyavana prasam
- Thikthakam kashayam/ghritham
Your Ayurvedic doctor recommends you the right formulation and dosage based on your doshas and severity of hair loss.
2. Home Remedies
A. Onion Juice
Apply freshly extracted onion juice  across your scalp with a cotton ball. Wash your scalp and hair after half an hour with normal water. Repeat this process once a week.
B. Egg Mask
Mix an egg white, a spoonful of olive oil, and honey each. Beat the mixture into a smooth paste and apply it to your hair from root to tips. Wash your hair with an Ayurvedic shampoo after half an hour.
C. Beetroot Mask
Boil 7-10 beetroot leaves for 5 minutes. Add 5-6 leaves henna leaves to the boiled beetroot leaves and grind them into a fine paste. Apply it thoroughly to your scalp and wash it off with warm water after half an hour.
D. Coconut Milk Mask
Boil a grated coconut for five minutes on low flame. Strain the coconut milk and set it aside for cooling. Then, add a spoon of fenugreek seeds and fine black pepper powder into the milk. Leave it for another 15 minutes and apply the milk to your hair and scalp. Wash it off with an Ayurvedic shampoo after half an hour.
E. Green Tea Rinse
Put 3-4 green tea bags in 1-2 cups of hot water depending on your hair length. Let the tea soak in the water and let it cool down. Now, pour the solution over your scalp and hair while giving it a gentle massage. Wait for another half an hour and then rinse your hair again with normal water.
A. While non-vegetarians can opt for red meat and fish for protein, vegetarians can have ample lentils, beans, soya, curd, and sprouts to have adequate plant-based protein
B. You can also incorporate citrus fruits, spinach, eggs, carrots, beetroots, tomatoes, green and leafy vegetables, nuts, and whole grains in your everyday meals to get a wide variety of nutrients from your diet
“Ayurveda recommends specific foods to balance specific types of elevated doshas in your body. Understanding your doshas enables you to choose the right foods for well-balanced meals,” says Dr. Zeel.
4. Other Treatments
Rogaine(minoxidil) and spironolactone are known to be effective OTC medications to regrow your hair after weight loss. In severe hair loss cases, you can prefer surgical treatments such as laser and hair transplantation methods.
Tips To Prevent Hair Loss Due To Weight Loss
A. Keep your weight loss process at a slow and gradual pace
B. Avoid severe calorie restricting diets. Rather, focus on regular and controlled physical activity that can help you achieve a desirable calorie deficit
C. Ensure you supply ample protein, vitamins, and minerals from your diet while you have your meals timely every day
D. You can take a high-quality multivitamin supplement every day to compensate for nutrient deficiencies in your diet. However, do not over-consume vitamin A
E. Drink adequate water
F. Sleep adequately for at least 6 hours while you follow a regular sleep schedule
Consult your doctor before taking nutrient supplements. Your doctor evaluates the root cause of your hair loss before prescribing the right dosage of the supplements.
The Last Word
If you are overweight, your decision to slim down is much appreciated. However, make sure that you do it with sensible and sustainable plans which do not affect your Ayurvedic doshas and your body functions. At Vedix, we evaluate your current dosha levels and customize an Ayurvedic hair care regimen for your unique hair needs.Know Your Dosha Now
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