Does Obesity Cause Hair Loss? (The Most Important Signs)

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Obesity is an issue faced by many. So too is hair loss. But can these two issues be related? And does obesity cause hair loss? This article will explore any link between the two.

Does Obesity Cause Hair Loss

Being overweight, in itself, is unlikely to lead to hair loss. However, obesity could cause a person to be more at risk of certain health issues, and these issues can result in hair loss. Conditions such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease are all connected to obesity.

A side effect of some of these conditions can be hair loss. In some cases, the medication used to treat or alleviate these conditions can also cause hair thinning which can lead to hair loss.

What Causes Obesity?

Obesity is the abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that can put your health at risk. If a person’s body mass index (BMI) is over 30 this is considered obese.

Obesity is generally a result of eating too much and not getting enough exercise.

If high amounts of energy are consumed, in particular fat and sugars, and this energy is not used through exercise and physical activity, then much of the surplus energy will be stored as fat in the body.

Obesity is not something that just develops overnight. It is a result of poor diet and lifestyle choices developed over a period of time.

These could include eating a lot of processed or fast food and eating larger portions than you need. It could also be caused by drinking too much alcohol, comfort eating and drinking a lot of sugary drinks.

Lack of physical activity is also a contributing factor to obesity. Many of us have quite sedentary jobs which involve sitting at a desk for much of the day.

When not working, the lure of technology is often too great. This often ends up taking too much of our time.  

In some cases, underlying medical conditions such as underactive thyroid gland or Cushing’s syndrome, result in obesity.

Certain medications such as those used to treat diabetes, epilepsy, and depression can also cause weight gain.

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Causes Of Hair Loss

There are a few reasons your hair might start to fall out. They can often be related to one or more of the following reasons.

Family History

Androgenic alopecia is a common hereditary condition that happens as you age. It is also known as male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness.

It tends to be a gradual process that is characterized by predictable patterns.

Medical Conditions

Medical conditions such as alopecia areata which is an autoimmune disease that attacks follicles of hair, scalp infections such as ringworm, thyroid disease and a hair-pulling disorder called trichotillomania are all direct causes of hair loss.

Hormonal Changes

Hair loss, either permanent or temporary, can be caused by hormonal changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and thyroid problems.

Medications and Supplements

An unfortunate side effect of certain treatment drugs is hair loss. Medication used for cancer, depression, arthritis, heart problems and high blood pressure can all result in losing hair.


Temporary hair loss can occur as a result of extreme stress. Physical or emotional shock can cause people to experience hair thinning. This is usually temporary.

Hairstyles and Treatments

Excessive hairstyling that pulls hair tight, such as pigtails or cornrows, can cause traction alopecia which is a type of hair loss. The overuse of products that are not washed from the scalp can also cause blockages to hair follicles.

How Is Obesity Linked To Hair Loss?

Does Obesity Cause Hair Loss?

Whilst obesity itself is unlikely to cause hair loss, it can lead to a higher risk of developing significant health issues -many of which are known to cause hair thinning.

This can be either as a direct result of the illness or indirectly as a side-effect caused by the medications used to treat the illness.

Some of these illnesses include coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, and certain types of cancer such as breast cancer.

Other conditions include:


Stress can be a major cause of weight gain and hair loss. Combatting this may involve therapy, treatment, and lifestyle adjustments.

Underactive Thyroid

Two common symptoms of underactive thyroid are weight gain and hair loss. You should consider getting your thyroid levels checked if you are in your thirties and experiencing extreme tiredness, dry skin, hair loss, or weight gain.


A decline in the presence of hormones can lead to hair becoming dry and brittle which makes it more susceptible to breaking. This causes hair to thin. Weight gain is also a side effect of menopause.

Excess Oestrogen

This condition can be a symptom of problems within the reproductive system and can lead to hair loss and weight gain.

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How To Combat Habits That Can Lead To Hair Loss

If you are experiencing hair loss and weight gain, it might be time to examine your lifestyle and the factors which can contribute to obesity such as diet and exercise.

Eating a balanced nutritious diet and getting regular exercise is important to stay at a healthy weight. This can also help to keep your hair healthy and avoid hair loss.


  1. Try to do some sort of physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day every day or most days.
  2. Try to include plenty of fruit and vegetables kin your diet.
  3. Opt for wholegrains and lean sources of protein and dairy products.
  4. Choose foods that are low in added sugar, salt and saturated fats.
  5. Cut back on alcohol and make sure you are drinking plenty of water.

If, however, you feel that your lifestyle is healthy then perhaps it is time to consult a medical professional to see if they can advise you and get the help you need.

So, to round it all up- obesity does not directly tend to cause hair loss. However, obesity can result in certain conditions and the use of certain medications which can result in hair loss.

Making a few changes to your lifestyle can help get rid of excess weight which can, ultimately, get you back to having healthy hair full of vitality.

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