Keto Hair Loss: 7 Reasons it’s Happening and How to Stop It

ketogenic diet foods

You have heard how great the keto diet is at helping you lose weight, and you may have even decided to try it out. Everything is going well, but then you notice strands of hair fall into the sink while in the middle of washing, combing or styling it.

This happens suddenly and months after starting the keto diet. Now you are wondering if this is a case of keto hair loss or if there is something else happening behind the scenes.

The good news is that you don’t have to worry if your hair loss is keto-related, as it is temporary. And to top it all off, the hair loss can be stopped and you can return to growing a thick mane after a few months.

Once you are able to identify the reason for the keto hair loss, you can take the necessary nutritional steps to get your follicles growing again. No need to give it up, along with the weight loss benefits that it provides. And the best part is that the solutions provided can all be done at home.

Seven reasons why keto hair loss is happening

woman thinking about keto diet hair loss illustration

Can going on a keto diet lead to hair loss? In short, yes; it can. However, it is important to note that hair loss is not directly related to the diet itself. Rather, it is either a consequence of the side effects of going on a low-carb diet (keto is a popular carb exclusion diet) or several other things that coincide with it.

Here are seven things that can lead to hair loss while on a keto diet:

Rapid weight loss

rapid weight loss

Rapid weight loss when doing a ketogenic diet can cause a form of hair loss known as Telogen Effluvium. This is where hair falls out when it is in the resting phase of the growth cycle. Since the diet is for weight loss, a sudden drop in pounds can occur.

This sends a shock to the system, causing your head to shed up to 70% of its foliage over time.

Biotin deficiency

Hair loss is a common side effect of biotin deficiency, which is a side effect of keto. Biotin is a vitamin that is important for hair growth. Researchers conducted a study that looked into biotin deficiency in women experiencing hair thinning.

They found that 38% of the women that complained about hair thinning had a biotin deficiency.

Lack of protein

Hair is made up of protein, so it makes sense that a protein deficiency can cause it to fall out. Since protein is also needed by other parts of the body, particularly in the muscles to prevent muscle loss, the body limits the amount the hair receives when it starts running low.

And since a keto diet restricts protein consumption, a deficiency is one of its symptoms.

Low-calorie consumption

green apple and measuring tape

If you aren’t eating enough calories due to the keto diet, you can experience a low carb diet hair loss. Calories are a unit of energy, and when the body doesn’t have enough of them, it diverts them to vital functions only. Unfortunately, hair growth is not one of those functions.

Calories come from carbohydrates we eat daily, coupled with protein and healthy fats, all of which the keto diet restricts.


Hypothyroidism causes hair loss, and low-carb diets have been known to exacerbate the condition. Hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid stops producing enough thyroid hormone, which is responsible for regulating metabolism and numerous other vital bodily functions. If one is suffering from hypothyroidism, going on a low-carb diet is exceptionally ill-advised.

Gut health

gut illustration made of vegetables

Keeping our gut microbes well-fed with healthy fibers is often overlooked when on keto, and this can have a negative impact on our gut health. When you don’t pay attention to gut health in this manner, you can develop the leaky gut syndrome.

This condition can cause numerous problems inside your body and can trigger hair loss by inducing stress.


Your lifestyle choice when while you are on keto also matters, which is why it is important to minimize stress or anxiety. When stressed, your body produces a stress hormone known as cortisol. Once it is released, it can disrupt other hormones in the body, including the ones needed for the hair growth cycle to take place undisturbed.

Now that we have discussed the reasons why keto hair loss can happen, you are well on your way to being able to narrow down why your hair is falling off. The important thing to remember is that a keto diet doesn’t cause hair loss in and of itself.

How to stop temporary hair loss

word solutions typed on paper

As mentioned earlier, the hair loss you will experience is not permanent. In society, hair is a significant concern, considering that it is intricately linked to one’s outward appearance. And no one wants to lose their hair.

Hopefully, hearing that keto hair loss is temporary will bring some relief. And it will motivate you to look into the following things that can help get rid of the problems.

Biotin-rich foods

If biotin deficiency is the problem, then consuming more biotin-rich foods is the sensible choice. You can increase your biotin intake by eating foods like dairy products, avocados, spinach, mushrooms, eggs, salmon and almonds. You can even take biotin supplements to stop the keto hair loss.


collagen powder in a wooden spoon

To stop your hair from thinning, you might want to consume collagen-rich foods, such as fish, berries, dark green vegetables and citrus fruits or start micro-needling treatment with a dermaroller which stimulates the production of collagen in the skin.

Researchers conducted a study where they orally applied collagen to women with thinning hair. They wanted to know if this will increase hair growth. After 180 days of application, all the women (15 of them) experienced increased hair growth and thickness.


Zinc deficiency has been associated with hypothyroidism, which, as you know, leads to hair loss. This is because zinc is one of the main elements required in the synthesizing of thyroid hormone.

Interestingly enough, the thyroid hormone is also necessary for proper zinc absorption, meaning the two are closely linked. Zinc-rich foods that are keto-friendly include chicken, mushrooms, cashews, pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef, and lamb.

Peppermint oil

peppermint oil

Essential oils have been used for centuries to treat a number of conditions, and hair loss is one of them. More specifically, peppermint oil has been shown to promote hair growth (and it didn’t even leave behind any toxic effects).

This is because peppermint oil can stimulate blood circulation in the scalp. With increased blood circulation, more hair growth nutrients can reach the follicles.


We talked about stress-induced by leaky gut syndrome as being one of the causes of hair loss. And preventing leaky gut syndrome boils down to keeping the gut flora healthy. This is where probiotics come in since they have been known to improve and restore your gut microbes, keeping the gut healthy in the process.


As you can see, it is possible to start losing your hair while on a keto diet, even though the diet is not directly to blame. But there is no need to panic as it is only a temporary set back and your hair can be restored by pinpointing the problem and taking the necessary steps to stop it.

  • Betsy, A., Binitha, M. P., & Sarita, S. (2013). Zinc deficiency associated with hypothyroidism: an overlooked cause of severe alopecia. International journal of trichology, 5(1), 40. DOI:
  • Glynis, A. (2012). A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the efficacy of an oral supplement in women with self-perceived thinning hair. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 5(11), 28. PMID:
  • Oh, J. Y., Park, M. A., & Kim, Y. C. (2014). Peppermint oil promotes hair growth without toxic signs. Toxicological research, 30(4), 297. DOI:
  • TELOGEN EFFLUVIUM HAIR LOSS. The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology.
    Telogen Effluvium
  • Trüeb, R. M. (2016). Serum biotin levels in women complaining of hair loss. International journal of trichology, 8(2), 73. DOI:

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