If you notice hair loss on keto, just know that it’s pretty common. So, before worrying about it, here’s what to expect and some tips to help prevent the damage.
While the keto diet touts several benefits, like better blood sugar regulation, weight loss, greater energy, and more, it can come with a few side effects, and hair loss is one of them. So, if you notice your hair shedding more than usual or getting sparse, you are experiencing hair loss on keto, which can certainly make you panic.
Is it temporary? How much will you lose? And will it grow back? These are all questions that can get you worrying real fast. But first, relax. Yes, it is temporary, and you should see hair growth once your metabolism adjusts to its new way of burning fat and creating energy for use. Here’s why you might be having hair loss on keto and what to do about it.
Reasons Why You’re Losing Your Hair on Keto
Of course, hair loss doesn’t just happen randomly. There are several reasons why you might be balding in areas or have hair falling out too fast, all due to changes that can come when you start restricting carb intake and eating more fats instead. Here are a few to note.
While you are eating more high-fat foods, like avocado, cheese, red meat, nut butter, and supplementation like MCT oil, all of which are more caloric dense, you are filling up faster with these meals and snacks, so you’ll be less hungry during the day, 1. If you feel that you are losing hair on keto, think of how many calories you are getting at each meal and for snacks. Give yourself a total you should mark and work with a dietitian or design a plan that gives you the right set of calories you need.
Lack of protein
While you don’t need to cut back on protein, as you do with carbs, you are increasing fat intake to make it the bulk of your calories. So, protein is more moderate, and if you are too low in protein, you could be nutritionally deficient and might find hair loss. You shouldn’t really have a problem getting enough, which should be at least 15 percent of your daily calories from protein, but if you aren’t then see a doctor for help or just add more, 2. Make sure to eat a protein with each meal and snack. Add more fat on top! Try chicken salad in a halved avocado or eggs with smoked salmon and butter or olive oil.
You’re losing weight too fast
According to a study published in January 2017 in the publication Dermatology Practical & Conceptual, losing weight too fast and not eating enough protein can cause telogen effluvium (TE), a process where hair changes from the growing phase to a resting phase, and so you might experience temporary hair loss, 3.
You’re not getting enough biotin
Biotin is also great for promoting healthy and strong hair, so if you aren’t eating enough of those foods, you might be deficient and find hair loss on keto, 1. Biotin is found in eggs and fish, for instance, and those happen to have good protein and healthy fats. To give the eggs more fat, cook with oil or butter and pair with fish, avocado, or sour cream.
You are stressed
While you are beginning a new diet, such as keto, you are getting used to a new way of eating and have restrictions in place. These restrictions may cause stress on your body, and the transition can be tricky. The same TE process as with lack of protein takes over. If you are too stressed, you might experience hair loss, 4. Luckily, once it is eased you will notice hair to return.
How to Minimize Hair Loss on Keto
If you are looking to prevent or minimize the loss, here are some tips.
Eat enough protein
Focus on eating enough protein, as long as those healthy fats. Make sure to make 15 percent of your daily calories come from protein, and go for sources that have fat in them and where you can add extra fat too, such as eggs, meat, fish, nuts and seeds.
Keep stress low
Since stress can be a factor in leading to hair loss on keto, find ways to decrease levels and avoid chronic stress. A great way to do this is by focusing on self-care. Take time to spend 10 minutes meditating or doing yoga, or unwind with a soothing bath. Exercise while on keto to boost endorphins.
Take biotin supplements
Since biotin might be low, take supplements to maintain adequate levels and decrease hair loss. You should consult with a doctor first to make sure you’re free to take them and discuss how many to take based on your needs. In addition, eat biotin-rich foods, like fish and eggs. The same goes with zinc, another great mineral for hair growth, which is found in oysters, for example.
Avoid heat damage
If your hair is prone to damage from keto, avoid further loss and thinning by reducing your use of hot tools, like blow dryers and flat irons. These cause strands to break and thin at the ends, which can also create extra hair loss. Let hair air dry when you can with some product.
Take collagen supplements
Collagen can improve hair, since collagen is a type of protein that can strengthen and repair broken strands and stimulate growth of new ones, 5. Plus, it can also slow graying of hair and reduce damage. Consult with your doctor about which supplements to take, and you can also always enjoy collagen in the form of powder (collagen powder), beverages (collagen water), and more. Plus, it’s found in the bones and skin of food, like beef, chicken, pork and fish.
Use product with nourishing ingredients
Instead of basic shampoo and conditioner, use ones that have ingredients that promote hair growth, such as almond oil and avocado oil. These have biotin and zinc and can help soothe strands. Coconut oil is another great one, since it can also increase hair growth and boost moisture and hydration, as well as good fats for your hair. Plus, you can get ones designed for hair growth, as recommended by dermatologists and hair stylists, too.
Drink bone broth
A type of collagen, bone broth is great for increasing collagen intake and boosting immunity. Plus, its high protein helps keep you fuller longer, so it’s a great addition to a snack or meal. You can have it from beef or chicken for example, and you can make your own from scratch with those bones, or you can pre-made ones from the store.
If you notice hair loss on keto, don’t worry. You can reverse it with these handy tips. And then you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of keto with a great head of hair! If you don’t see improvement, see your doctor for further advice.