Weight Loss has a direct impact on our skin and hair. Learn what you can do to prevent the pitfalls that come with weight loss.
Losing weight to get fitter and healthier is always a great decision. It brings you a host of benefits right from physical ones like improved blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar level to psychological ones like feeling good about yourself, improved confidence and happiness levels.
However, if not done correctly, it can also cause damage. An imbalanced or extreme diet plan can lead to serious vitamin or nutrition deficiency. Thus, it’s always advisable to consult a professional before embarking on any kind of diet.
Talking about the side-effects of a weight-loss diet, what people don’t realise is that it can affect their skin and hair as much as their waistline.
So here is a list of some major changes that can occur in your hair and skin because of weight loss and how you can avoid or fix them.
1. Dieting can trigger acne
More accurately, stress caused due to weight-loss diets can trigger acne at times. When you reduce and control your calorific intake, the body experiences stress which in turn causes hormonal changes. This leads to acne outbreaks or intensifies existing acne. Colloquially, it is called dieter’s acne.
However, this is no cause for worry, because it is temporary and as soon as your body adapts to your new chosen diet, the acne caused by it also starts to decline and eventually disappear.
What can you do?
In the eventuality that your dieter’s acne does not fade away on its own, you can seek the help of a qualified dermatologist. He or she will prescribe oral and topical medications that can help reduce acne outbreaks and in case the outbreak is severe then more advanced procedures like chemical peels etc. can be recommended.
2. Losing inches can add years to your face
When you lose weight, you lose fat too. This fat, more precisely, subcutaneous fat, collagen and elastin keeps your skin taut and gives it a youthful appearance. Thus, losing weight sometimes also leads to losing younger-looking skin.
It is quite common to see people lose weight and gain years on the face with equal speed.
As the excess fat starts disappearing, all the typical signs of ageing that it was hiding start becoming visible, this includes: Premature dropping of the jawline
These effects are more pronounced in middle-aged and old aged people because often, by that age the skin has lost a lot of collagen and hence its elasticity.
What can you do?
Firstly, aim at losing weight more gradually, rather than rapidly. To ensure this it is more prudent to plan your weight loss diet with a certified dietician or trainer.
For most individuals, a weight loss of about half a kg a week is deemed adequate and any more than that, you need to take extra care.
Next, follow a good skincare routine that includes using topical ointments which help boost the elasticity of the skin. You may also ask your dermatologist for a recommendation. Also, speak to him or her about adding more skin-friendly nutrients to your diet so that your skin doesn’t suffer while you take care of your body.
However, if you are already witnessing such premature ageing on your face, you can opt for procedures like High-Frequency Intense Ultrasound (HIFU – Non-Invasive Face Lift) which work wonders on ageing skin and are absolutely safe. Also for more pronounced cases, a dermatologist may recommend dermal fillers and BTX injections.
3. Departing weight leaves stretch marks in its wake
Another unwelcome side-effect of weight loss on the skin is stretch marks along with sagging skin. These are commonly seen on the stomach and arms. This happens when you lose fat under the skin in these areas but the skin is unable to go back to its original state (or shrink back).
What can you do?
There are some scar and stretch mark reduction topical applications that can be prescribed but have limited efficacy. Also, it is necessary to note that typical OTC creams have even further limited efficacy and may not be suitable for your condition.
On the contrary, you can go for treatments aimed at enhancing collagen levels in the skin. It has been observed that such treatments typically work best towards reducing stretch marks and also tightening the skin. One such therapy is micro-needling accompanied by PRP usage which helps stimulate collagen while resurfacing the skin on the area being treated.
4. With weight loss comes hair loss
Hair fall after weight loss is also quite common. It usually begins three months after undergoing weight loss and can continue up to 6 months or sometimes even longer. This occurs primarily due to lack of proteins and other nutrients like iron, zinc etc. and also the stress on your body that rapid weight loss can cause.
What can I do?
The first thing to do is avoid crash diets and diet fads that favour one food group over another. It is always better to choose a balanced diet and burn the required calories with exercise rather than consuming less food.
Also, when you undertake intense workouts and weight loss, make sure your protein intake is adequate. Proteins strengthen hair follicles and can help reduce hair loss.
A dermatologist can prescribe oral and topical medications which will aid in hair growth. Also in case, the hair fall is severe, you have the option to go for injectable procedures like meso-therapy and PRP therapy.
The bottom line is that a healthy body is a better goal to aim for than a slim body. It is important to keep a track of all your health parameters while undertaking a weight loss regimen. Your skin and hair are good indicators of your health and their health can mean all the difference to a younger-looking you.
Built on more than a decade of experience of Dr. Sejal Saheta, we are an honest and affordable skin and hair care clinic in Mumbai. Our goal is to make each patient comfortable and happy with their appearance with the least amount of intervention.
Our qualified and trained doctors, equipped with the latest technology, conduct and supervise all procedures in strict adherence to protocols developed by Dr. Sejal.
We are happy to be a part of your journey to reach your health goals. If you think we have been able to help you, please do review us:
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This article is one in a series of articles on skin conditions and procedures by Dr. Sejal Saheta – MD, DNB -Dermatology and Venereology. The objective of this series is to educate the reader and help them take precautions against various skin conditions they come across on an everyday basis. These articles are not meant to be used by patients for self-diagnosis or for avoiding proper medical treatment. The images used in the above blog are only for visual representation purposes. Actual procedure and results may vary from patient to patient.