There is a common belief out there that losing weight can make you more hairy, but is there any truth to this claim? Is it something you actually have to be worried about?
In reality, losing weight does not make you more hairy. In fact, it can lead to less body hair due to hormonal changes that occur with weight loss.
Read on to learn more about how hormone changes with weight loss can affect body hair.
Does Losing Weight Make You Hairier?
Losing weight will not make you more hairy or increase your current amount of body hair. In fact, the opposite is likely to occur.
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that losing weight makes you more hairy, and this is actually contrary to what actually happens to our bodies hormone levels when we lose weight.
However, it’s possible that the perception of increased hairiness is due to the fact that losing weight can change the body’s proportions and make existing hair more noticeable.
Yes, this means that losing weight might actually be causing an optical illusion and making you appear to have more body hair, even though you do not.
Additionally, some people may mistake a coarser or darker hair texture for an increase in hair density.
For example, individuals of African descent tend to have thicker and more coarse body hair compared to individuals of European or East Asian descent.
This is thought to be due to differences in hair follicle size and shape, as well as differences in the thickness and density of hair fibers.
How Hormones Affect Body Hair With Weight Loss
As I mentioned above, hormones within our body are responsible for how much body hair we have. This is true for both men and women.
It is true that obesity has a direct impact on androgens and obesity can be responsible for excess levels in women.
Weight loss can be good for improving your overall health, but did you know that losing weight can actually potentially cause a decrease in unwanted body hair?
Let’s break down these important hormones and how losing weight actually affects them.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, but it also has an impact on other hormones in the body, including androgens.
High insulin levels can increase androgen levels, which can lead to increased body hair growth.
Losing weight can help decrease insulin levels in your body, which can in turn decrease androgen levels and reduce body hair growth.
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Testosterone is a male sex hormone (androgen) that is also present in smaller amounts in women.
Higher levels of testosterone can lead to increased body hair growth in both men and women.
While this may not be as much of a concern to men, it is usually worrisome for women and can cause them to be self-conscious.
Losing weight can help decrease testosterone levels, particularly in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS.)
PCOS is a condition that is often associated with high testosterone levels in women that can cause increased and unwanted body hair as well as irregular periods, weight gain, and even infertility.
DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate) is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands.
DHEA-S is present in both men and women and is responsible for making the male sex hormone testosterone and the female sex hormone estrogen.
Like testosterone, higher levels of DHEA-S can lead to increased body hair growth.
Losing weight can help decrease DHEA-S levels and reduce body hair growth.
Estrogen is a female sex hormone that is important for regulating the menstrual cycle and maintaining bone health, among other things.
However, high estrogen levels can also lead to increased body hair growth.
Losing weight can help decrease estrogen levels, particularly in postmenopausal women who may have higher estrogen levels due to the loss of ovarian function.
Overall, losing weight can help decrease hormone levels that contribute to body hair growth, particularly androgens like testosterone and DHEA-S.
This can lead to a reduction in unwanted body hair over time.
However, it’s important to note that individual results may vary and that other factors, such as genetics, can also play a role in body hair growth.
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Does Losing Weight Make You Less Hairy?
If you have a problem with unwanted body hair, there is the potential that losing weight can cause a decrease in this unwanted hair, not an increase.
Hormones play a significant role in hair growth and distribution, specifically androgens such as testosterone in males.
Losing weight can lead to changes in hormone levels, but these changes typically result in a decrease in androgen levels as well as other hormones, which can actually lead to less body hair.
For example, excess androgen levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can lead to excess hair growth on the face, chest, and back. This can actually get better with weight loss.
Losing weight can help restore hormonal balance and reduce excess hair growth in most cases.
It is important to remember that this decrease in body hair has a higher chance of occurring in women, as men are naturally usually more hairy than women.
If you are a woman who has unwanted body hair in places it should not be, there is a good chance losing weight can make it better if you are someone who is overweight.
Does Losing Weight Make Body Hair Thicker?
Hair thickness is determined by the size of the hair follicles, which do not change with weight loss.
Losing weight does not make body hair thicker.
In fact, as mentioned earlier, losing weight can lead to a decrease in androgen levels and other hormones within the body, which can result in thinner, less visible body hair.
The main factors that determine thickness of body hair are your genetics and gender.
The thickness of your body hair is largely determined by your genes, and you may have inherited a predisposition for thick or thin body hair from your parents.
Also, androgens such as testosterone can stimulate hair follicles to produce thicker and more coarse hair.
This is why men tend to have thicker and more coarse body hair than women do.
How To Prevent Hormonal Deficiencies When Losing Weight
It is still important when losing weight to make sure you are eating energy balanced foods, so that you can preserve hormonal balance as well.
Losing weight can lead to unwanted changes in hormone levels if you do not consume healthy foods, so it’s important to take steps to prevent hormonal deficiencies too.
One way to do this is to make sure you are getting enough essential nutrients in your diet.
For example, studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D can lead to hormonal imbalances in both men and women.
Good food sources of vitamin D include:
- Fatty fish such as salmon or tuna
- Egg yolks
- Fortified dairy products such as milk, yogurt, or cheese
- Plant based milks such as almond milk
Similarly, low levels of zinc have been linked to decreased testosterone levels in men.
You want to be sure to consume foods that are zinc rich if possible.
Zinc can be found in foods like:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dark chocolate
Other important nutrients for hormone regulation include magnesium, vitamin B6, and omega-3 fatty acids.
You can find plenty of healthy sources of Omega-3’s such as fish, many nuts, soybeans, or even spinach.
In addition to eating a nutrient-dense diet, it’s important to exercise regularly, manage stress, and get enough sleep to support healthy hormone levels.
While losing weight can decrease certain high hormone levels and potentially decrease unwanted body hair, you still want to make sure you are also consuming foods that will protect and preserve hormones as well and keep them at correct levels.
While losing weight always requires a calorie deficit, you must also make sure that the QUALITY of the foods you are eating is top notch as well so that you can be sure to not develop nutritional deficiencies or imbalances in your body’s hormones.
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There you have it. There is no need to worry at all about getting hairier when you lose weight. Losing weight does not make you more hairy. In fact, it can potentially make you less hairy if this is a problem you are suffering from.
Losing weight can lead to less body hair due to hormonal changes that occur with weight loss if these levels are too high.
To support healthy hormone levels while losing weight, make sure you are getting enough essential nutrients in your diet, exercising regularly if you can, managing stress, and getting enough sleep.
While losing weight can help decrease unwanted excess levels of hormones within the body, this is never a guarantee.
If you are concerned about hormonal imbalances or excess hair growth, always talk to your doctor for personalized advice and treatment options that may help you if losing weight is not working.
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