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by: Better Not Younger
September 20, 2021
Getting yourself into a healthy lifestyle is rewarding for so many reasons. Not only can diet and exercise improve your physical well-being, but it can also improve your mental wellness. However, there are some downsides that can come along with a healthy diet that you may never have realized—including putting a damper on hair growth.
Cleaning up your diet and exercising frequently can actually hinder your hair growth goals in a couple different ways, which you may have already noticed if you’re currently dieting. Even if you’re not actively pursuing weight loss, your healthy lifestyle can still potentially hurt your hair. This means that your already aging hair can sometimes really take a hit if you’re a healthy eater. Seems wrong, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s true, and we’ll give you all the details on how your diet could be causing hair loss and what you can do to counteract it.
There are a couple different ways that diet and exercise can affect your hair’s health. To start, let’s take a look at how a diet can negatively affect your hair. First of all, when you cut back on calories, you’re naturally cutting back on some valuable nutrients. If you aren’t careful, your diet can end up lacking in vitamins and minerals that your body needs, like vitamin D, zinc and iron, to name a few. All of these nutrients are crucial for healthy hair growth, which is why your hair could suffer if you don’t consume enough.
Add to this the fact that as you age, your body needs more nutrients than ever—this is because your body’s ability to absorb nutrients becomes less efficient over time—making it even more important to get all those vitamins in for overall health as well as hair health. Women who are post-menopausal, though, need fewer calories, so it’s important to balance the calories with nutrients to keep up your healthy diet while also maintaining body and hair health. If you’re eating fewer calories and taking in fewer nutrients, you could see some hair loss or slower hair growth.
If exercise is part of your healthy lifestyle—huge congrats here!—it can also negatively impact your hair. First of all, when you work up a sweat, you end up with buildup on your scalp. Now here’s where it gets tricky: If you wash your hair too frequently because of that, you’re at risk of drying out your aging hair too much and clearing away the good oils that are on your strands. But if you don’t wash that buildup away often enough, the sweat can lead to clogged hair follicles, an itchy scalp and even more dryness.
Sounds like a dilemma, right? First of all, you definitely don’t need to wash your hair every time you work up a sweat. In fact, if you braid your hair or tie it back, you can prevent a lot of sweat buildup throughout your locks.
And guess what? Dry shampoo is your best friend for making it through sweaty days. When you use dry shampoo properly—by spraying it on before your workout—it can absorb some of that excess sweat and oil before it settles onto your hair. Just make sure you reach for one that’s noncomedogenic so it won’t clog pores.
Don’t worry—you can still have a healthy lifestyle without damaging your hair, you just have to give your locks some extra love. The first thing to consider is getting all your nutrients in. This could be in the form of a multivitamin or our Significant Other Hair, Skin & Nails Supplement + Retinol Boost. These hair supplements support scalp and hair health and can help fill in the gaps your diet could be leaving. You can also tweak your healthy diet to include foods that have greater nutritional value without the extra calories. Foods like eggs, spinach, avocados and more are known to promote hair growth, especially as you age.
When it comes to your exercise, we already took a look at how dry shampoo can help combat too much sweat, but you can also consider changing up your exercise routine. Though more gentle workouts like yoga won’t necessarily burn a ton of calories, they’ll still help you shed some—without all the sweat. Plus, yoga is known to improve your mental wellness and decrease stress levels, which can absolutely promote better hair health.When you’re stressed, your scalp can also get stressed (yes, really), and when that happens, the follicles slow down the growth of new hair. So by doing yoga—or any other mindful low-impact practice, just take your pick!—as part of your workout routine, you can actually help counteract some of the healthy-hair-hindering effects of your cardio workouts.
If you’re in a calorie deficit for weight loss or just follow a healthy diet and are still seeing hair loss or diminished hair health, it’s also a good idea to check with your primary health care provider. They can pinpoint any concerns in your lifestyle that may be contributing to hair loss or general hair-care issues.
If you’ve shed some hair from dieting or exercise, be gentle with yourself and explore the many ways to boost your hair's health, from hair- and scalp-care products to supplements that focus on health from within. So after you’ve taken a close look at your diet and exercise routine and fixed it up so it promotes hair health consider adding some hair-friendly vitamins to your diet. You can also start using a scalp serum to strengthen your hair follicles. The caffeine and ginger in this serum stimulate the scalp, supporting healthier hair.
It’s also not a bad idea to lay off heat styling after a diet caused hair loss. Heat can cause breakage, especially with aging hair, so instead opt for some no-heat styling tricks to get beautiful hairstyles without any added temperature. These styles will give your hair a rest and allow it to start growing back without the heat hurting it.
We already touched on this, but since it’s an essential one, we’ll say it again: As you age, you need fewer calories. Even if weight loss isn’t your goal right now, you’re still going to consume fewer calories simply because it’s all your body needs. This process of aging will affect your hair, so it’s important to understand how and why a calorie deficit can affect hair growth, even if you don’t feel like you’re dieting. Take care of your hair by using hair-care products that will promote hair health as well as hair-friendly vitamins and always be aware of how your lifestyle affects your whole body—including your hair.
Tell Us: Have you ever experienced unwanted hair-related side effects from dieting? Share in the comments below!