There are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding hair loss.
Some people say that wearing a hat will cause your hair to stop growing.
Some people believe putting mayonnaise in your hair will promote faster growth.
Some even believe that all hair loss is permanent.
These wild ideas are flat-out falsehoods to keep you stressed about keeping your hair in shape.
But there is a new accusation that has people questioning the balance between maintaining healthy hair and maintaining a healthy physique.
Is my exercise routine responsible for my hair loss?
You wouldn’t expect exercise and hair loss to be connected now, would you?
Believe it or not, the answer is not actually a simple yay or nay.
All depending on the way you like to get your gains, you may be losing your hair in the process.
Does Workout Sweat Cause Hair Loss?
Yes. In fact, all sweat can cause hair loss.
There are numerous biological reactions taking place when you exercise.
We’ll start with the most common factor that affects your head’s ability to pump out hair when you’re pumping weights.
Sweat. Your body is always slowly perspiring, it simply occurs more when you exercise.
Burning off extreme amounts of energy feels good and your body cools itself by sweat.
Although, the trade-off for busting a sweat at the gym and looking great is clogging your pores with your body’s natural oils.
Excessive sweating is a common yet completely preventable cause of hair loss.
Don’t let it stop you from getting in shape and living a more healthy lifestyle though.
The reason why excessive sweating causes hair loss is because of what your body is releasing when you sweat.
A few of the elements you find in sweat are salt and lactic acid.
As you probably already know, salt is an important fuel for your body when you’re burning energy but it is also a dehydrator.
Which means it dries out the area it remains in.
You may feel it dripping down your face before you wipe it away, but just because you felt it falling down your forehead doesn’t mean it completely removed itself from your hair and wiping your forehead does nothing to get it out of your follicles.
Salt coagulates with oils around the skin surface of your hair and compounds itself around the sebum of your roots.
The sebum is prevented from producing a sufficient amount of protective coating for your skin and your hair growth suffers.
Effectively drying out the follicles and starving your hair of hydration it needs to stay smooth and healthy.
The other natural element released with sweat that affects hair growth is lactic acid.
It is a byproduct of anaerobic respiration being released from your red blood cells through your pores as you strain your muscles.
It’s not bad for you until it binds with the keratin in your hair and damages your follicles.
The acidity breaks down the chemical bases that preserve your ability to grow thick healthy hair.
As the first round of protection is broken down, the sebaceous glands (responsible for producing and transferring essential nutrition to your hair follicles) become vulnerable to chemical burns.
The acids and salt become compacted into the root and steadily breaks down the natural channels that protect and grow your hair.
This is why your hair might feel thin after a good sweat, but not treating it after your workout guarantees your hair to thin and fall out.
When soil is too acidic, crops don’t grow, and the same concept applies to your scalp.
Salt and lactic acid don’t cause your hair to fall out mid-rep.
But going prolonged periods of time without cleaning your scalp will effectively lead to exercise hair loss.
The most obvious solution for removing these harmful elements from your hair after your intense physical training session is to use a high-quality cleansing shampoo.
If you exercise regularly, you should feel inclined to wash your hair regularly and massage your scalp thoroughly.
That way you can keep your hair and your routine healthy and consistent.
Strong Muscles & Weak Hair
Cardio training and weightlifting increase blood flow and build muscle. It releases hormones and promotes positive health benefits.
You don’t need me to tell you that.
You want me to tell you if weightlifting and cardio cause baldness.
Yes but not exactly.
While building muscle increases blood circulation and stimulates hair growth, another chemical factor is actively working against your progress to build hair.
That chemical is Dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
DHT is a hormone created when certain enzymes convert testosterone in men and women.
It is a more powerful hormone than testosterone that is actually essential for most hair growth… except on the head.
It shrinks the hair follicles and interferes with the growth and development of thick hair.
This does not affect all males and females equally. In fact, some people can carry high or excessive levels of DHT after exercising and never experience any of the side effects.
It largely comes down to individuals with hair follicles that are highly DHT sensitive.
Unfortunately, guys are genetically pre-disposed to the genes responsible for hair follicles with high DHT sensitivity.
DHT HIITS Hair Growth
One of the causes for an increased imbalance of DHT is from High-Intensity Interval Training exercises that release large amounts of testosterone.
I hate to tell you this, but weightlifting is one of these H.I.I.T.s.
I know it’s satisfying to be able to lift the big weights and have all eyes on you at the gym.
But if you’re concerned about your hair growth, you may want to mix some cardio into your routine as well, or else those eyes will shift from your bulk to your baldness.
Workout routines based on aerobic/anaerobic and cardio endurance training have been shown to decrease DHT levels while having no negative effect on other androgens (masculine-trait hormones).
How to Prevent Hair Loss from Exercise
Unlike resistance training (weightlifting), endurance training (long-distance running) lowers DHT levels and reduces the probability of thinning hair and permanent hair loss.
And as an added bonus, the improved cardiovascular health and circulation will promote a healthier head of hair due to your body being able to get the vitamins and minerals to where it needs to be to feed a healthy head of hair.
Using conditioners and shampoos with herbal DHT-blockers will also disrupt the hormone from attaching itself to your hair before it has the chance to sink in.
One more reason to wash your hair after a hardcore workout.
If you'd like the best hair products to help block DHT from your hair, click here to check out the best shampoo and conditioner set now!
Supplemental Hair Loss
There is a reason why vitamin and supplement bottles insist you talk with a physician or doctor before taking them.
The chemical imbalance caused by workout supplements counteracting the natural reactions occurring from exercise can drastically imbalance your DHT levels.
It may sound like a good idea to take supplements to raise your testosterone just so you can push yourself to get that extra pump in.
But, taking supplements that increase your testosterone levels causes your DHT levels to skyrocket.
This is a large problem for athletes who abuse anabolic steroids. The unnatural boosting of testosterone levels causes an adverse reaction of irregular enzyme conversion.
The body recognizes the additional supply of foreign testosterone as an imbalance from what it is able to have naturally produced and overcompensates the conversion process of DHT as a result.
Your hair growth doesn’t have to take a hit just because you exercise.
You’re already making the effort to improve your health and physical appearance and your hair shouldn’t be penalized as a result.
In general, exercise may pose some negative risks to your hair.
But you shouldn’t give up and let yourself go because of the possible off-chance you’ll lose some hair.
Number one: your health is much more important than your haircut.
Number two: there are a plethora of simple and easy ways to protect your hair while you still burn calories.
Keep in mind, your hair needs to be cleaned after you exercise.
Why wouldn’t you shower anyways?
People want to admire the look of your post-workout glow, not smell it. So after your routine, pop in the shower and use a protective shampoo and conditioner to keep your hair as great looking as you are.
Use high-quality shampoos to get the salty, acidic, sweat out and if it has herbal DHT blockers in it as well then you are ahead of the game.
If you are one of the gym rats who sticks to the same repetitive weightlifting routine, don’t be afraid to mix it up.
Incorporate some endurance training into your resistance training and keep the hormones that want to choke your hair out at bay.
Variety is the spice of life anyways.
You’re already making the effort to improve yourself, what’s the worst that can come out of washing your hair and going for a run once, and a while while you’re at it?
If your body is aching in a good way afterward, then consider that as a way of your body and your hair thanking you!