Regular exercise is essential to maintaining good health, but can working out cause hair loss?
It’s no secret that exercise is good for you. It helps to improve cardiovascular health, strengthen bones and muscles, and can even help to improve your mental health. However, some people worry that their workout routine may be causing them to lose hair.
Should You Stop Your Gym Workout?
Although there is no definitive answer to if working out causes hair loss, there are a few things to consider if you’re worried about your hair health.
First, it’s important to understand that hair loss can be caused by several things, including genetics, aging, stress, and certain medical conditions. If you are concerned that working out is causing your hair loss, it’s important to speak with a doctor to rule out other potential causes.
Connection Between Exercise and Hair Loss
As mentioned, there has been no proven link between exercise and hair loss. However, there are a few theories as to why some people may believe or experience that working out causes their hair to fall out.
One theory is that people who exercise regularly may be more likely to notice their hair loss because they are washing their hair more frequently. This can lead to the false belief that working out is causing hair loss when it is actually just the increased frequency of harsh washing that is contributing.
Another theory is that people who sweat heavily during their workouts may be more likely to experience hair loss. This is because sweating can cause the scalp to become irritated and inflamed which can potentially contribute to hair loss.
What Is Considered Excessive Exercise?
While there are people who are exercise enthusiasts and work out multiple times per day, this isn’t necessarily the norm. Most people should be able to get the exercise they need by working out for 30 minutes to an hour most days of the week.
If you find that you are working out more than this on a regular basis, it’s important to make sure that you are doing so in a healthy way. This means making sure that you are staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet including enough protein, and getting enough rest.
Exercise is a vital part of maintaining good health, but it’s important to do so in a way that is healthy for both your body and your mind. If you are concerned that working out is causing hair loss, speak with a doctor to discuss your individual case and what factors may be contributing.
How Can Exercise Have an Impact on Hair Loss?
There is no definitive answer, as hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, hormones, certain medical conditions, and even stress. However, there is some evidence to suggest that exercise may be associated with hair loss. One survey-based study by Choi et al. found an association between exercise and hair loss.
Here are some ways exercise can potentially impact or relate to hair loss:
Nutrient deficiencies are a known cause of hair loss. Working out can lead to increased sweating, water loss, and the use of many nutrients. Make sure you are hydrating and nourishing your body appropriately. One macronutrient that should be considered in those exercising frequently is protein. Both your muscles and hair need protein, so you want to ensure that you work with a medical professional to ensure your diet has adequate protein to support your hair (and the rest of your body) given your exercise regimen.
We recommend having your individual nutritional needs evaluated by your doctor, nutritionist, and/or dietitian to make sure your diet is rich in the nutrients it needs. Additionally, if you are experiencing hair loss, make sure to see a doctor. Depending on your case, they may recommend testing certain nutrient levels to evaluate if you have any nutritional deficiencies.
Any type of stressor on the body can contribute to hair loss. An extreme caloric deficit where you are not consuming enough calories to fuel your exercise, daily activities, and metabolism can potentially contribute to hair loss. We again recommend working with your doctor, nutritionist, and/or dietitian to determine your caloric need for your exercise regimen and fitness goals.
Another reason for potential hair loss with extreme workout programs especially high-intensity exercise programs is potentially increased androgen hormones. Increased testosterone can be converted to dihydrotestosterone which is known to worsen patterned hair loss also known as androgenetic alopecia.
Excessive exercise can also lead to stress, both physical and mental. This added stress on the body can again potentially increase hair fall.
Sweat Build-up on the Scalp
If you don’t wash your hair after a heavy workout session, the sweat and oils on your scalp can block the pores. Certain microorganisms such as yeast can also begin to feed off of the sweat. This can increase inflammation on the scalp by triggering conditions such as dandruff (known as seborrheic dermatitis), and this inflammation of the scalp can temporarily cause increased hair shedding.
People who love to swim often experience hair thinning or breakage. This is due to the fact that chlorine present in water can potentially damage the hair shaft and lead to increased hair breakage.
If you are experiencing hair loss and think that it may be due to exercise, it’s important to speak with a doctor. They will be able to help you determine the cause of your hair loss and offer treatment options.
How to Prevent Hair Loss While Exercising
Hair loss can be prevented without having to give up on your workout regimen. First and foremost, it is important that you eat a balanced diet and get enough nutrients and calories to support your hair health.
It is also important to make sure that you are staying hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day especially during and after exercise.
Finally, be sure to wash your hair regularly after exercise, particularly if you are sweating a lot during your workouts. Use mild shampoo and conditioner to avoid irritating your scalp.
Take Care of Your Scalp Today!
Exercise is an important part of maintaining good health, but it’s important to do so in a way that is healthy for both your body and your mind. If you are concerned that working out is causing hair loss, speak with a doctor for more information.
We at Root Hair Institute have doctors that can help you with your hair and scalp. We offer a variety of services that are designed to improve the health of your hair and scalp. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve the healthy hair you desire!
- Jaewoong Choi, Myungsoo Jun, Solam Lee, Sung-Soo Oh,1 and Won-Soo Lee. The Association between Exercise and Androgenetic Alopecia: A Survey-Based Study