Does Diabetes Cause Hair Loss?

11/26/2019 9:02:32 PM

Diabetes is an illness that inhibits the production of insulin in the body, which causes the blood sugar level to rise. Insulin is a hormone that moves the sugar from the foods we eat into cells to be stored or used as energy. Diabetes is one of the most common ailments; most attribute this condition to fast food, but can this ailment be responsible for hair loss? Keep reading. 

Hair Growth Cycle and Diabetes

There are three phases to a hair follicles life cycle, which are the anagen (growth) phase, catagen (transitional) phase, and the telogen (resting) phase. Diabetes can disrupt the process by slowing down the hair-growth of hair follicles. 

Individuals with diabetes are more likely to experience alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition that causes the body's immune system to attack hair follicles- this condition is known to cause spot baldness or patchy hair loss. 

Does Diabetes Cause Hair Loss

Diabetes itself does not cause androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss), but certain medications such as metformin may cause hair loss as a side effect. The hormone called DHT is the main culprit for triggering hereditary hair loss. The hormone called DHT binds to vulnerable androgen receptors and shrinks the hair follicles gradually until they no longer grow. 

How To Diagnose Genetic Hair Loss

Different forms of hair loss require different treatments and need to be diagnosed by a dermatologist or hair transplant surgeon. Hereditary hair loss is the most common form of hair loss and is responsible for causing the distinct horseshoe pattern in men and the Christmas tree hair loss pattern in women.

Two FDA-approved medications treat genetic hair loss, which is Rogaine (minoxidil) and Propecia (finasteride). Minoxidil is an over-the-counter treatment that can be purchased online or at any convenience store without a prescription. However, finasteride is a DHT-blocker which requires an order from a licensed physician. 


The leading cause of hair loss is a genetic vulnerability to DHT. To date, the most effective treatment for androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss) is surgical hair restoration. Hair transplant surgery is the only treatment that can restore hair on a completely bald scalp. Not all hair transplant surgeons are created equal. The skill, talent, and experience vary widely, as do their results. Be careful before selecting a surgeon, and the surgeon should have a strong reputation based on the quality of their achievements and not promotion and hype. 


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    All Articles by Melvin Lopez

    Melvin is an Associate Publisher and Forum Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network and the Hair Loss Learning Center. He is a 3-time hair transplant patient, having received over 5,000 grafts via FUE. He has thousands of helpful posts on the popular hair restoration network discussion forum. Melvin writes articles, moderates the hair loss forum, and creates YouTube videos for the Hair Transplant Network YouTube channel. View Melvin's impressive hair transplant journey HERE.