Can Working Out Cause Hair Loss?

Working out at a gymnasium or performing exercises such as yoga, aerobics, swimming, sports and so forth are required to maintain good health of a person. They offer a number of benefits such as keeping the weight under control, provide more energy to the body, maintain good mood, allows one to sleep better, and boosts immunity. Thus, today working out or exercising is a necessity.

It is generally observed that some people have a tendency to overdo exercising than required. Consequently this shows its harmful effects on the body in form of sleep disorders, extreme tiredness, etc. It is also thought that workout can cause hair loss.

Can Working Out Really Cause Hair Loss?

Can Working Out Really Cause Hair Loss?

Although, it is contradictory to the proven fact that workout is good for overall health; it is true that excessive workout can cause hair loss. Excess of work causes hair loss due to a variety of direct and indirect factors.

Factors that Cause Hair Loss Due to Workouts

Although surprising, there are reports that excessive working out or exercise can cause temporary hair loss. The following are some of the factors:

  • Excessive Workout Can Cause Hair Loss: Excessive workout for over a prolonged duration leads to chronic stress on the body. This in turn causes Telogen effluvium (TE) a condition in which hair follicles go into an early resting (telogen) phase and leads to hair loss.
  • Intake of Powdered Protein Shakes Leading to Hair Loss: A number of men who work out to maintain their bodies, also take special diet such as a Protein shake. These shakes contain growth factors and hormones. It increases the hormone testosterone levels which in turn increases dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels and causes hair loss. This occurs mainly in men who are predisposed to baldness due to heredity. Thus it is necessary to restrict intake of protein shakes.
  • Intake of Steroids While Working Out Causing Hair Loss: Athletes and others use anabolic steroids to increase the effectiveness of workouts. Since steroids are like testosterone, in long term it leads to hair loss.
  • Type of Workouts That Can Lead to Hair Loss: Hair loss is prominently seen in case of the heavy weight lifters. Other workouts that can contribute to hair loss include swimming. The water in swimming pools contains high amount of chlorine and other chemicals which cause harm to the hair tresses. They make the hair dry and follicles brittle thus leading to hair loss.
  • Improper Diet Post Workout Can Cause Hair Loss: Diet which is not rich in proteins leads to protein malnutrition. Improper or insufficient diet post workout can cause serious hair loss problems. It affects all the body’s protein makeup along with the hair making proteins. This affects hair formation and growth.
  • Lack of Proper Hair Care Post Workout Causing Hair Loss: Work out and exercises lead to a lot of sweat. This in turn leads to accumulation of dirt in the hair. A dirty scalp affects the hair follicles and in turn leads to loss of hair.

Prevention of Hair Loss Due to Workout

The condition of the hair is often a reflection of one’s overall health. Thus, it is important to know the ways to prevent hair loss occurring due to working out as follows:

  • Hair is made of protein. Hair growth requires Vitamins A, B, iron, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Thus, consuming a good nutrient rich diet full of proteins, vitamins and minerals is essential to prevent loss of hair due to workout.
  • Taking good care of your hair is important to avoid sweat and dirt getting accumulated on the scalp. After working out, one should wash hair regularly with mild shampoo and gentle scrubbing to ensure that the scalp is kept clean. In addition tight hairstyles such as ponytail or plait should be avoided and looser hairstyles should be opted. It is necessary that one is gentle while brushing and styling the hair.
  • To avoid physical stress, one should not overwork in the gymnasiums or perform excesses of exercises. It is recommended that the weight lifters should also perform aerobic exercises and should perform weight lifting in moderation. Further, it is advised that one should have a fixed schedule of exercising for five days a week for one hour per session. Performing mild exercises like jogging or aerobics can help to reduce DHT levels and prevent hair loss.
  • Instead of consuming protein shakes, people who work out should eat natural protein containing food such as milk, eggs, fish and chicken. This diet is healthy and will not have deleterious effects such as the hair loss.
  • To prevent hair loss due to swimming, one can avoid it by wearing a swim cap. After getting out of the pool, one should take a head bath.


Exercise helps to keep both body and hair healthy only when exercise is not overdone. Overall, a healthy fitness regime, proper sleep and rest along with consumption of nutritious food help to reduce stress and to promote a healthy scalp.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 29, 2017

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