Can diabetes affect your hair growth?


Can type 1 diabetes can affect your hair growth? The answer: yes. On a daily basis, our bodies undergo an enormous amount of physical stress to keep up with our daily life of eating, exercise and emotional processing. Because of this the hair growth cycle can be affected by the combination of stress, poor blood glucose management and hormonal imbalances. The disruption of the cycle can then lead to hair loss or lack of hair growth. Here is a quick breakdown of how diabetes can affect your hair.

High Blood Sugars

High blood glucose levels cause sugar to build up in your blood. The excess sugar can damage organs all over your body, including your blood vessels. Your blood vessels carry oxygen and nutrients through your body to nourish organs and tissues. These damaged blood vessels may not properly deliver oxygen to your hair follicles, thus affecting your hair growth cycle.

Stress & Hormones

The impact of diabetes is exhausting for your body. The physical and emotional stress can directly impact the hair growth cycle.  These fluctuating hormone levels affect the regeneration process of hair follicles.

Other Triggers

If you have balanced out your blood glucose levels and reduced stress in your life and still suffer from hair loss, see your doctor about a further explanation. Type 1s have a higher risk for developing thyroid complications and celiac disease, which also affect the hair growth cycle.

How to Prevent Hair Loss

  1. Stay on top of your blood glucose levels! Check your blood sugar, be aware of your levels with your continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and be prepared.
  2. Exercise! You can naturally reduce your blood sugar levels through breaking a sweat! Exercise improves the delivery of oxygen to your body’s cells, including hair follicles.
  3. De-stress! Diabetes is stressful and can be a burden, but you can be in control of how you control and manage your blood glucose levels every day. Take charge of your health!
  4. Yoga and meditation are great ways to calm your stress. Take 10 minutes every morning or before bedtime to set an intention for the day or to reflect.

If you are suffering from diabetic-related hair loss, EXHALE.  Your hair loss is probably a temporary problem that can be fixed with a combination of reducing stress and keeping your blood sugars manageable!

Read more on how Type 1 affects birth control and sleep.

WRITTEN BY BT1 Editorial Team, POSTED 07/19/16, UPDATED 12/22/22

This piece was authored collaboratively by the Beyond Type 1 Editorial Team.