Ozempic has become a household name that has gained attention due to its reported weight loss effects. TikTok, celebrities, and influencers alike have openly endorsed this new *miracle* weight loss drug for its quick fix. However, it is important to understand the medication's intended use, potential risks short and long term, and the rise of off-label prescriptions.
Understandably, with all the buzz surrounding it, there is also a rise of questions regarding the seemingly magic bullet. There’s no denying how exciting it is to hear that you can finally have something to shed those extra pounds that no matter what you do, you just can’t get rid of, but what happens to your body long term? How sustainable is it really?
People who are taking medications like Ozempic recreationally have reported experiencing drastic hair loss alongside their weight loss journey. While it may seem like these medications are to blame, there is no direct evidence linking Ozempic to hair loss. Health experts say that it’s important to note that permanent and temporary hair loss is more likely a result of significantly rapid weight loss, which is a side effect of the drug, rather than a direct side effect of the drug itself.
What Does Ozempic Do:
Ozempic, an FDA-approved medication commonly prescribed for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes is a weekly injection that helps the body release more insulin after eating and stops the liver from making more sugar. It mimics the effects of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which plays a role in suppressing appetite, slowing digestion, which can make people feel fuller longer, and affecting how much fat our bodies store. Because of this, those who take the diabetic drug consume less food, and because you’re eating a lot less, you may not be getting the ideal balance of nutrients needed to promote healthy hair growth.
Risks of Off-Label Usage:
Experts caution against seeking out Ozempic for off-label weight loss purposes. There is insufficient evidence to determine their safety and efficacy outside the FDA-approved criteria. Those who obtain these medications without a cause for diabetic treatment run the risk of inadequate monitoring and potential harm to their long-term health. It is crucial to comprehend the unknown risks associated with unauthorized usage.
Understanding Hair Growth Phases:
Hair grows in a cycle of four phases: Anagen, Catagen, Telogen, and Exogen. Anagen, the “active” stage is when the hair is actively growing, during which your hair grows around half an inch a month.
Following the Anagen Phase, your hair cycle enters a short transitional phase known as the Catagen phase. This phase signals the end of active hair growth and cuts individual hairs off from the blood supply and from the cells that produce new hair, ceasing new hair growth in those particular strands.
Telogen is the resting phase, strands will stay in the follicle, but not continue to grow. The last phase is called Exogen, and this is where we shed the hair that enters the resting stage.
An estimated 10-15% of your hairs are in the Telogen Phase at any given moment, and this is where we shed those 100 to 150 strands daily from. Sudden weight loss can lead to an influx of hair entering the telogen stage simultaneously, causing excessive shedding without the presence of immediate new hair growth.
The Link Between Weight Loss and Hair Loss:
Drastic weight loss can trigger temporary hair loss in some individuals. This condition, known as telogen effluvium (TE), is a diffuse shedding of hair that occurs approximately three months after a major stressor. While we typically associate stressors with emotional events, such as grief or trauma, weight loss can also act as a physical stressor on the body. When the body goes into any form of shock, hair is the last thing that your body will prioritize to put energy into maintaining. As a result, hair follicles may enter a resting phase, leading to excess shedding of hair.
Temporary Nature of Hair Loss:
Experts emphasize that hair loss caused by weight loss is usually temporary and that telogen effluvium doesn’t damage the hair follicle. Once weight stabilizes, hair typically returns to its usual growth pattern. However, the timeline for hair regrowth varies from person to person, depending on how long it takes for their weight to stabilize, thus taking Ozempic long term will continue to keep hair in a dormant stage.
How To Promote Hair Growth Naturally:
Practicing gentle hair care such as being mindful during washing, for our top picks we recommend using TO112 Biotin shampoo and Oribe Hair Alchemy shampoo. Both of these shampoos are great when it comes to strengthening fragile, weak hair, and protecting your strands from the cortex out.
TO112 Biotin shampoo repairs weak and thinning hair growth. Formulated to support growth at the follicle and reduce inflammation at the scalp for optimal growth, this shampoo is packed with growth factors such as caffeine, keratin, and collagen.
Oribe Hair Alchemy is an ultra-nourishing cleanser that helps to lengthen locks by strengthening hair from the root and fortifying brittle ends using plant-based extracts.
Post wash, use Oribe Hair Alchemy Fortifying Serum. A fast-absorbing serum that creates a protective veil around each hair fibre to improve tensile strength and elasticity while preventing breakage by strengthening from within to encourage length.
Always use a wide-toothed comb and detangling spray to brush your hair post washing to get rid of knots. Switching to a satin pillowcase instead of cotton can also minimize further hair loss and breakage, as cotton is a rough fabric that can snag your hair’s cuticles.
While there is no foolproof method for preventing hair loss during weight loss of any kind, ensuring a sufficient intake of essential nutrients like iron and B vitamins will help mitigate the issue. Take heart that the best solution to your hair loss is to be kind to yourself, and practice good hair care, this is reversible and can take some time.