Q: Does exercise cause hair loss in men or women?

A: On average, hair loss occurs at a rate of 50 to 100 strands per day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. On days when hair is washed, up to 250 strands can be lost! Abnormal hair loss in men tends to begin at the forehead or crown of the head. In contrast, hair loss in women often spares the hair line and begins as thinning in the top third to one half of the scalp states Dr. Nicole Rogers of Old Metairie Dermatology in Metairie, LA.

Surprisingly, there isn’t much information about regarding whether or not exercise causes hair loss. Maybe it’s because designing a study would be difficult because there are so many factors that can contribute to hair loss, including nutritional status, genetics and stress level. In addition, the hair cycle can be between two to eight years; therefore,  hair loss at a particular point in time would reflect factors many years back.

Your body’s hormone balance does have an affect on hair loss. Particularly, research has indicated that increases in testosterone can thin your hair over time.

Hmmmm… Weight lifting and exercise also causes an increase in testosterone…. So, therefore???

Thankfully, Dr. Jeffrey Rawnsley in a CNN Health Expert Question and Answer Article was able to clarify this relationship for us:

 It is unlikely that exercise causes hair loss would be seen soon after starting a weight lifting program. In addition, weight lifting causes a transient increase in testosterone after each weight lifting session, which is not likely to have a long term effect on hair loss.

On the other hand, weight lifters taking anabolic steroids or supplements designed to increase testosterone levels could see an acceleration of normal male pattern hair loss if they are genetically predisposed. In addition, supplements containing too much vitamin A could contribute to hair loss.

Although not impossible, it is highly unlikely that your exercise causes hair loss. However, if your are training for a marathon or other extreme sport, you may consider that the stress of intense exercise may be a contributing factor. In any case, if you are concerned, you should not hesitate to see a dermatologist or hair loss specialist.

Do you notice that exercise causes hair loss? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!