Studies are suggesting that crash diets can lead to premature hair loss, the old “does this outfit make me look fat,” question could be replaced with “does this diet make me look bald?” Crash diets are just what they sound like: these extreme diets where you lose weight at a sudden and rapid (often times, unhealthy) rate. While sometimes these diets are implemented and executed with the sole purpose of reaching a certain goal weight for specific occasion (sports weigh-in, wedding day, public appearance, etc.), the results aren’t necessarily meant to be long lasting. However, there are those out there that will do anything to shed those pounds as fast they can. But this crash diet may be doing more damage than good, and specifically to your hair. In a study conducted by Dr. Detlef Goette and Dr. Richard Odom, two California based dermatologists, it was discovered that significant hair loss was associated with rapid weight loss. The study observing nine patients saw that a 25 to 55 pound weight loss over the short span of two to five months resulted in a rate of hair loss of 25 to 50%. The good news is that, in most cases, the hair will regrow. Connecting The Dots What is it about losing weight that would cause hair loss? When the body begins to lose weight at a fast rate, weather it be from crash diets, excessive exercise, or even weight loss surgeries, the body anticipates that starvation is fast approaching. The body then goes into lock down mode to protect itself and begins to conserve energy. The body shifts it’s focus to preserving things like muscles, and energy that would go towards hair regrowth is directed elsewhere. If the hair growth cells and membrane have no energy to their job, they go on strike and shut down. Stress and hormonal changes can accompany drastic weight loss, both of which can be responsible for hair loss. The sudden change in lifestyle, plus the sudden subtraction of certain foods during a crash diet can play a role in throwing the body out of balance and become apart of the hair loss problem. Keeping The Hair While Losing The Weight If you’re beginning an ambitious weight loss program, it’s important to not neglect the essential nutrients and vitamins your body needs to fire on all cylinders. Often times, a lack of protein and vitamins during a crash diet will play a role in the hair loss. Be sure to get on a good regimen of protein and supplements that will help the body function and not shock the body as the weight loss occurs. Also, stay hydrated. Not only is water good for the body, but our body’s organs need the water to function properly. When dehydrated, the body starts pulling energy from various and stores the fat that we’re trying to lose. Keep up with this and you’ll keep the hair as you lose the weight.