Does Working Out Cause Hair Loss?

If you’re working out regularly and noticing increased hair shedding, you may be wondering if there’s a connection between exercise and hair loss. Here’s what you need to know.


When it comes to exercising and hair loss, it can be confusing to know whether or not there is an unequivocal answer. While there is never any definite answer when it comes to questions involving the body’s reaction to exercise, this article will attempt to address the possibility of exercise causing hair loss, as well as some tips for mitigating the chances of it occurring.

For starters, it is important to understand how hair growth works in relation to physical activity. The human body sheds between 50-100 hairs a day as part of a natural process of releasing dead or damaged hair so new hair can grow in its place. This shedding increases when we are more physically active than normal due to increased circulation and hormones that can alter the natural cycle of growth and replacement. In addition, strenuous physical activities such as resistance training with weights or running can increase hormone levels in the body which can push certain glands such as your sebaceous glands (located near the follicles where your hairs emerge) into overproduction mode, resulting in an increase in testosterone or sebum – both things that have been known to cause temporary hairloss.

Causes of Hair Loss

Hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors, but understanding the causes is the first step in managing or reversing hair loss. Genetics and hormones are two common causes of hair loss, but other factors such as diet, age, health conditions, and even lifestyle choices can also play a role. In particular, there has been some debate as to whether working out can cause hair loss. Let’s take a closer look at this potential cause of hair loss.


Genetics is a primary cause of hair loss for both men and women. In females this condition can typically start when the female reaches her twenties or thirties, around the same time many women become mothers, enter college or start climbing their professional career ladder. Male-pattern baldness is based on hormones and genetics and usually begins in men in their teens or twenties.

Male-pattern baldness is related to the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) circulating in the bloodstream, which causes shrinking and miniaturizing of hair follicles which, in turn, leads to shorter lifespan of each hair strand and thinner strands of hair over time. By age fifty two-thirds of American men will experience some degree of significant hair thinning, according to a survey conducted by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery.

In genetic hair loss conditions such as female pattern baldness or male pattern baldness the genetic predisposition to DHT sensitivity interacts with environmental factors such as stress or illness for greater progression during particular phases in life. It’s believed that DHT attaches itself to genetically modified areas on scalp follicles’ receptors causing shrinkage which effectively limits growth potential for each individual follicle leading gradually to noticeable thinning on scalp throughout specific areas/areas affected.


Stress is often linked to hair loss, as the body’s natural response to stress has an effect on physiology. The body produces the hormone cortisol in response to stress, which can affect the growth of hair follicles and potentially lead to hair loss. Physical, emotional, or severe mental stress can trigger a type or form of temporary or permanent alopecia. Temporary alopecia is also known as telogen effluvium, referring to hair follicles that are shifted prematurely into the resting phase as a result of elevated levels of cortisol. Prolonged periods of high stress may cause more permanent hair loss through a process known as chronic telogen effluvium. In this condition, the continuous shedding eventually causes thinning and balding patches around the scalp. Working out can place extreme physical strain on your body and contribute to excess levels of cortisol and other hormones that lead to hair loss if you neglect your recovery needs such as rest and proper nutrition. To prevent stress-induced hair loss caused by fitness activities, prioritize adequate sleep and rest days between training sessions and ensure that you’re consuming enough calories for your body’s demands.


Hormonal imbalance is a common cause of hair loss in both men and women. In men, the main hormone responsible for hair loss is dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone, which is a derivative of testosterone, binds to the body’s receptors and causes hair follicles to become thin. When this happens, hairs that once grew out of the scalp become brittle and break easily. DHT levels are highest during puberty due to natural fluctuations in hormones but can remain elevated for many years even after puberty has passed.

In women, hormonal imbalance can also cause thinning . However, one of the most common hormones that triggers female hair loss is estrogen as it regulates changes in a woman’s body including her menstrual cycle and menopause. High levels of stress can also lead to elevated levels of cortisol which later affects ovulation and other related hormones leading to increased shedding or thinning. Additionally, changes in someone’s iron intake and thyroid disease can influence hormones leading to hair loss.


Diet can play an important role in both the health and appearance of your hair. Nutrient deficiencies, especially those that lead to iron deficiency anemia, contribute to hair loss. Protein is necessary for healthy hair development and biotin supplementation has been shown to reduce hair loss in people with a biotin deficiency. Certain vitamins and minerals act as catalysts for healthy hair growth, including iron, copper, selenium, zinc and vitamins A, B6, B12 and C. A diet low in these vital nutrients can lead to increased shedding or telogen effluvium as well as other forms of alopecia such as traction or scarring alopecia. Additionally, nutritional imbalances can also lead to inflammation that may damage follicles and contribute to further hair loss or balding. It is important to speak with your healthcare provider about dietary modifications that may be beneficial for keeping your scalp and follicles healthy if you are noticing excess shedding or issue with your hair loss.


Certain medications can cause hair loss, especially when they are used over an extended period of time. Some common medications that can lead to temporary or permanent hair loss include:

-Beta blockers, used to treat high blood pressure and migraines
-Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
-Blood thinners, such as warfarin
-Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used to reduce pain and swelling
-Chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer
-Birth control pills
-Steroid hormones, such as testosterone used in bodybuilding and other activities
If you’re taking any of these medications and have noticed excessive hair loss for more than a few weeks or months, it’s best to contact your doctor to rule out any underlying cause. It may be necessary for the patient to switch medications or doses in order to reduce the risk of further hair loss.

Does Working Out Cause Hair Loss?

There is a lot of confusion in the fitness world about the effects of working out on hair loss. Some people believe that working out can cause hair loss, while others believe it is not the case. To settle this debate, let’s look at the evidence and discuss the pros and cons of working out and its effects on hair loss.

Intense Workouts

It is still possible to experience hair loss even with mild exercise but it is more likely to happen when your body undergoes intense workouts. The level and intensity of the workouts can result in hormonal changes in your body that trigger the hormone responsible for hair loss, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This can lead to thinning of the hair, bald patches and other abnormalities.

Intense exercise can also lead to extra stress, which can be a contributing factor in increased shedding. Stress has been linked to an increased rate of shedding and an increased likelihood of developing Androgenetic Alopecia or Male Pattern Baldness.

In addition, intense exercise like resistance training or weightlifting increases testosterone levels, which promotes DHT production leading to hair loss. Also, high-endurance exercises may result in reduced blood circulation and oxygen levels in certain parts of the scalp which inhibits proper nutrition for hair follicles resulting in weaker strands that ultimately fall out.

Overall, it is important for everyone who exercises regularly to pay attention to their body’s needs as any sudden significant psychological or physical changes accompanying intense workout routines may cause severe physical reactions including accelerated telogen effluvium or short-term hair shedding. Proper exercise habits such as warmups, cooldowns and stretching will help reduce the intensity on your body and minimize the chances of it negatively impacting your health including hair loss due to excessive strain on your scalp muscles.


Excessive physical activity, or over-training, can result in hair loss. Over-training is defined as exercising too frequently, for too long of durations, and higher-than-normal intensity levels. This type of physical activity can cause physiological stress on the body leading to a decrease in testosterone production, increased cortisol levels, inflammation and nutritional deficiencies – all factors which could effectively contribute to hair loss.

If you are a regular exerciser or are just beginning a workout routine, it is important to focus on quality over quantity. Aim to get quality exercise consistent with your goals without overdoing it. Take adequate rest days and give your body enough time to recover between sessions if you are strength training or participating in an endurance program. Additionally, ensure that you maintain healthy nutrient intake through proper balanced meals to help support your overall health and well being.

Tight Hairstyles

After a workout, tight plaited hairstyles or tight headbands may continue to put pressure on the scalp and hair follicles, especially when worn for a prolonged period of time. This can lead to traction alopecia which is an extremely common type of hair loss caused by excessive tension on the hair follicles as a result of pulling force being applied to the hair. This type of hair loss can occur wherever tension is applied to the scalp including ponytails, cornrows and buns.

Traction alopecia may not show results immediately but it can damage both your scalp and your hair follicles over time if not treated early. Some signs you may have traction alopecia include tenderness in the affected area, itching, burning sensation or feeling soreness around either side of your temples. To prevent this type of unintentional damage it’s important to keep hairstyles loose during workouts and avoid tight headbands or hard hat pulls like caps or turbans.

Sweat and Chlorine

Sweat and chlorine, both commonly encountered when working out, can lead to hair loss when present in excessive amounts. While some sweating is healthy and helps the body regulate its temperature, long periods of intense sweating can cause dehydration – one of the leading causes of hair loss. High levels of sweat can irritate the scalp, leading to premature shedding.

Chlorine, found in swimming pools and some workout machines, has been shown to damage hair if it’s not rinsed off soon after exposure. If left unrinsed for too long, it strips the moisture from the hair strands causing them to dry out and break more easily. It also strips natural oils from your scalp that help keep it healthy and balanced. When this happens too frequently – resulting in a dry scalp prone to infection or inflammation – you’re at risk for developing alopecia areata “spot baldness”.

It is important for those who are active and follow a workout routine to take extra care of their hair by regularly washing and conditioning it with mild shampoos after sweat-inducing workouts or pool swimming. Additionally, using lightweight creams and oils on the scalp frequently will help keep your scalp nourished while providing needed hydration. This can help reduce damage that might be caused by workouts or chlorine exposure.?


Exercise is well known for its positive effects on overall health and wellbeing. However, it is sometimes associated with increased hair loss in some people. To understand why exercise might increase hair loss, it is important to be aware of some of the factors that could contribute to this. In this article, we will cover the potential causes of hair loss due to exercise and how to prevent it.

Avoid Over-training

When exercising and working out, particularly with high-intensity exercise, it is important to avoid over-training or training too hard or too often. Overtraining can lead to increased levels of physical and emotional stress on the body which can then trigger hair loss as a result of the body adjusting to sustained high levels of cortisol (a hormone released during times of stress). This type of hair loss is a condition called telogen effluvium and is temporary, meaning the hair will grow back after normal functioning has resumed.

It is important to keep in mind that hair loss from over-training can easily be avoided by properly monitoring how challenging you exercise. To maximize results and minimize any risk of hair loss related to exercise, individuals should perform at an intensity in which recovery time between sessions is adequate for restoring energy for next workout sessions. Additionally, alternating between different activities (i.e., weight lifting one day and running the next) allows for both muscles and joints needed for these activities to properly recovery. Also, gradually increasing intensity over time allows for muscles and cardiovascular systems to adapt willingly instead of being subjected to an intense program from the start; this process increases chances that full recovery would occur between either sets or sessions. Finally, getting adequate rest throughout the week will give your body time it needs to recuperate while helping avoid any potential risks associated with overexertion.

Choose Loose Hairstyles

When working out, it’s important to choose hairstyles that are not too tight for long durations of time. Tight styles like ponytails, cornrows, and buns can cause traction alopecia, which is a form of hair loss due to constant pulling of the hair. When choosing loose hairstyles, the least amount of pressure will be put on your strands, thus reducing the risk for hair loss or breakage. It’s important to avoid any hairdos that have metal parts such as barrettes or clips because they can also cause traction alopecia.

In addition to choosing loose styles while working out, limiting washing your hair after a workout is also beneficial as sweat and dirt are harsher on strands than normal conditions. Worthy alternatives include braiding your hair with oils and spritzing it with a moisturizing spray so that you don’t have to over-wash your scalp. Therefore, when working out pre-emptively choose gentler hairstyles in order to protect your hair.

Use Hair Products

It is important to be mindful of the hair products used when trying to prevent hair loss in relation to working out. Working out can contribute to increased oil production, which can cause product buildup on the scalp and potentially irritate follicles. It is suggested to use gentle shampoos with minimal ingredients and specifically hydrating shampoos or hair creams that contain humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid for additional moisture. Additionally, it is important to avoid using shampoos with sulfates, a commonly added ingredient in many everyday personal care products that may be harsh on the scalp leading to irritation. It can be beneficial to incorporate styling products such as sprays or gels that contain antioxidants, which help fortify the hair shafts and increase tensile strength. Additionally, leave-in conditioners containing proteins are highly recommended as they infuse moisture into the scalp and reduce drying effects after a workout. Incorporating these products into your daily routine will help maintain healthy scalp conditions and reduce any potential irritants that may lead to further hair loss after exercising.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Hair health is a reflection of your overall health and has many contributing factors, one of which is diet. Eating a balanced nutrient-rich diet can help to ensure that your body has the essential vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy hair growth. Including a variety of whole, unprocessed foods in your daily diet — including lean proteins, legumes, nuts, dairy products, fruits and vegetables — is important for maintaining good health and potentially reducing hair loss. Additionally, adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet can provide essential nutrients that protect the hair from damage caused by environment factors or unhealthy lifestyle choices. Consult with a general practitioner or nutritionist to determine a proper dietary balance for optimal scalp health.


In conclusion, maximal effort exercise can certainly be a risk factor for hair loss in men and some women; however, with proper diet and supplementation as well as effective post-workout recovery protocols, the risk of exercise-induced hair loss can be minimized. While one should consider the risks associated with working out heavily and closely watch themselves for signs of stress-related hair thinning or shedding, it may still be possible to reap the physical benefits of exercise without having to sacrifice hair health. When done responsibly, regular physical activity is good for overall health and well-being; this should extend to one’s scalp and hair!

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