How has Diabetes Affected Your Hair ? (Growth or Loss)

By MAYS Latest Reply 2016-02-05 16:47:03 -0600
Started 2010-08-05 12:48:23 -0500

Has any one noticed any changes in their hair (or lack of hair) since they have been diagnosed as being diabetic ?

Or since they have either been taking medication of any sort to control their diabetes, or managing it with diet and exercise ?

Changes such as increased or rapid hair growth, loss of hair, change of color, texture, hair thinning etc,.

Since the Endocrine System controls cell growth as well as glandular functions, I am just curious as to the effects of diabetes on the hair of individuals.


160 replies

taxmom 2016-02-05 16:47:03 -0600 Report

I have this same horrible problem, I talked to my Dr. and he changed me to Farxiga for a 2 wk trial, said that should do the trick…we'll see…I'll let the group know.

msann 2014-04-13 09:50:13 -0500 Report

hey guys I take insulin I wear curl my hair didn't hold to well had to start taking hair vitamins better now

Young1s 2011-11-25 16:18:39 -0600 Report

I had never really given it any thought because I am newly diagnosed. But as I was reading through some of the other replies I started seeing my situation in both sides of the spectrum. My hair had been starting to get thinner more and more since about the beginning of this year. My ponytail went from semi-long to why bother in a matter of a few months. But recently it has been the reverse. Even my daughters (including my oldest who just came home for the holiday) have been complimenting me on how nice and full my hair is starting to look again. I can there is only one explanation that I can think of. It's the vitamins that I have been taking since I was diagnosed. Sure my diet has been changed but not by much so it has to be the vitamins.

ElleJ 2013-08-14 21:12:57 -0500 Report

Hello. Just joined the site today. Your situation sounds just like what I'm experiencing. If I may ask, what vitamins are you taking?

meowbat 2011-11-26 03:42:58 -0600 Report

Heads UP Ladies!! First it was the BG messing with your hormones. then it was the "D" meds. Read the list of possible side effects, they explain a lot!!!!!

Jeannie Holmes
Jeannie Holmes 2011-05-01 13:34:51 -0500 Report

My hair has thined somewhat, but I still have plenty! My nails on the other hand have always been really good. Now they won't grow and are very thin, they also have ridges on them that wasn't there before. My skin is terrible dry and I can put all the lotion I want on it , ti dosent seem to matter. My scalp is dry also. I' have been trying all kinds of stuff and haven't found anything that works except the vicks on my heels. What is everyone else using?

Cait87 2014-01-02 08:04:26 -0600 Report

I have used dove winter care body wash. It seems to help with the dry skin. Though when I was being treated with type 2 diabetes my skin was super dry till I found out that I was actually a type 1.
Also with my nails I usually repaint them once a week and put a calcium clear polish as a bottom coat. This I found at Walmart.

shorty31 2011-05-01 06:46:41 -0500 Report

yes mines has been fallen out buy the hand full and my scalp itch more than it use to. i thought it was from stress. but i'm glad you mention this i will have a talk with my doctor and see if we can change my meds.

BandonBob 2011-04-30 10:44:16 -0500 Report

Oh how I wish I could blame the diabetes for my lack of hair. The problem is that I have not had more than a sprinkling of hair my whole life. Forty years before getting diagnosed with T2 I was called "baldy" in grade school.

eristar 2011-04-30 07:44:15 -0500 Report

I'm losing so much hair, and asked my doctor about it - he ran all sorts of tests (thyroid, vitamin and iron deficiency, etc.) and all came back normal…Never thought to ask whether it could be related to my diabetes. Recently, my nails have started cracking and splitting, as well. This is just not normal for me!

tj101 2011-04-30 08:12:48 -0500 Report

i am going through the same thing except my dr will say its because of my a1c.on my last test it was a 5.8 my dr advise me not to go any lower because it would do more harm than good. i see her tomorrow for my a1c and talk more about my dry brittle hair but im sure she will have a say on my a1c .hope you have a great day

eristar 2011-04-30 15:30:15 -0500 Report

My last a1c was also 5.8, up from 5.4 the time before - doc never said anything about that potentially being a cause…those figures are down from 12.5 the first time I had one last year. I can't remember when my hair loss became so noticable, though - before or after the high numbers.

tj101 2011-05-01 08:28:48 -0500 Report

my a1c was a 17.6 now 5.8 monday we will find out how im doing new a1c testmy hair is comming back in but its dry and dull breaks off easy im thinking about cutting it i really dont want to,its really frustrating how much diabetes dose to a person, what about youre skin , mine gets really dry no matter what i use for lotion , hope you have a great day,

eristar 2011-05-02 06:13:14 -0500 Report

My skin also gets dry - especially on my legs. Seems I'm always applying cream or lotion - you'd think my jeans would slide right off! :D Good luck on your test results - I always get nervous when it's "that time", even if my day to day numbers are stable. This month marks my one-year anniversary of my diagnosis of t2…think we should throw a party?

MrsCDogg 2011-04-30 04:39:22 -0500 Report

When I was first diagnosed 10 years ago I lost a bunch of hair. Still from time to time I will lose a good amount. Then it will grow back in for a while. I still have what is a normal amount of hair for most people. I've also lost body hair. Almost no hair on my legs and hair on my arms is thin and very fine. Also have hair on my face that I'd love to have fall out! I was dealing with that a long time before I was diagnosed with diabetes tho.

dietcherry 2011-04-30 15:56:14 -0500 Report

Aesthetically, losing body hair may be good but both my Endo and my Dermatologist told me that as long as hair is growing on the extremities, than your circulation is good. If your Dr. is not already aware please mention to him!

ethansmimi 2011-04-30 01:36:13 -0500 Report

I had to cut my hair shorter because it has started getting so thin on top. I don't know if that's age related or diabetes related. My endo keeps checking my thyroid but so far it's normal. It's very disturbing to lose so much hair.

vgarrison 2011-02-03 13:01:13 -0600 Report

I too have been having issues with my hair…I am not sure if its the diabetes or the insulin…when I was first diagnosed my hair was falling out like mad then seemed to be better for awhile…well now I am back on my insulin and low and behold my hair is starting to fall out again…I've had to unclog my shower twice this week alone…if this keeps up ill have enough to donate to locks of love without having to get my hair cut!!!

AnnaBelle02 2011-02-02 20:52:11 -0600 Report

I find I shed more hair at most during the winter times or summer months. and have noticed losing more rapidly these past few days than ever before. I've been having bs highs lately and I feel my hair getting brittle as well as my skin and nails drying up so much that I tend to put on as much lotion as I can to keep from dehydrating. The suggestions of vitamins I'm finding to be helpful in maintaining hair growth as best we can. Anything else?

AnnaBelle02 2011-02-02 20:47:15 -0600 Report

I find this to be one of the best topic of discussions and am amazed how I realize that I'm not the only one who's going through this. this is very much informative as much as supportive to know issues of hair loss.

peace13 2010-12-26 18:02:04 -0600 Report

my hair is really thick and curly and since I was diagnosed my hair sheds a lot more and isn't as thick as it once was.
I used to use shampoo and conditioner that had no sulfates in them to help
which seemed to work

MrsCDogg 2011-04-30 05:17:19 -0500 Report

I used to have super thick hair before I was diagnosed. Still from time to time I will have episodes of losing hair and then it will grow back for a while. My hair right now is pretty healthy and at least as thick as a normal person's is.

akearl 2011-02-02 21:42:17 -0600 Report

i have the same kind of hair and problem. it started shedding about a month before i was diagnosed and now I feel like my hair looks like a thin curly mess :[

peace13 2011-02-04 23:46:58 -0600 Report

maybe try the sulfate free shampoo and conditioner that has helpedme a lot
my hair isnt thin but i can tell a difference

ram63 2010-12-25 01:50:08 -0600 Report

I've been on Lantus for 3 years now and ever since I started on it, my hair is flat and dull. I used to have thick, shiny hair that had to be cut every month. I keep my hair short anyway, but don't need to cut it that often anymore. Every 2 to 3 months between haircuts now. It has gotten much more grey than it was before and has darkened what isn't grey yet.

melissa5786 2010-12-24 18:16:18 -0600 Report

In the summer of 2009 I was losing drastic clumps of hair whenever I showered. My doctors told me it had nothing to do with the diabetes, but all the stress my body was going through because I was so sick. And they were giving some sort of medication they give cancer patients when I was in a coma. So, that explained my hair loss. I cut it all off on purpose because I couldn't bare losing clumps of it every time I bathed. Especially since it was down to my waist.

It's been over a year and my hair has grown back. It's almost to the middle of my back again, but slightly thinner than it used to be.

Pynetree 2010-12-25 19:53:01 -0600 Report

Melissa…that's my story, only it was in the summer of 2005. Spent 4 mos. between 2 hospitals and a nursing home for Physical rehab. Lots of physical and mental stress, infections and organ failures…about a year later my hair was back, although much thinner, and more grey. And my face has fine fuzz all over!

melissa5786 2010-12-26 10:54:02 -0600 Report

Yeah, I went into renal failure and had a breathing tube and feeding tube.. I went between 2 hospitals as well. One here in RI and Mass. General. Mass. General saved my life. PT was rough. I broke down crying when they asked me to climb some stairs and I couldn't make it up one. It's amazing how the body can heal itself. Those 5 months I felt like I'd never be the same and now I'm happy and healthier than ever.

I'm so happy to hear you're doing well, also! I hope it stays that way!

Pynetree 2010-12-26 11:55:15 -0600 Report

Wow, such similar story! I have been trying to stay on a healthier track since then. Have lost about 150 lbs. Need to lose a lot more, but it's slow going.
PT was rough…had great therapist though. They get a lot of the credit.
But, Smartalecs post about the endocrine system is of great interest to me, as I am sure that mine was way out of wack..still is. And the knowledge to wrest control of that is a battle.

Lymy 2010-12-24 14:38:18 -0600 Report

I really have not noticed a significant change in my hair. Except to say around my hairline and by my left temple where it has started to reveal some graying, that hair has become very coarse whereas it used to be as soft as the bulk of my hair.

I have to perm my hair otherwise I would have no control over it. To is regard I have noticed that a permanent wave does not last as long as it used to. Otherwise I'm still aging old me.

Smar Talic
Smar Talic 2010-09-22 11:06:04 -0500 Report

I was in Minneapolis, and met a guy named Rick. He didn't have diabetes untill 1 night 99% of his hair fell out all at once. He called his doctor, stated what happened, and also stated how he felt thick and sick. Ouwahlah, diabetes. His hair folicles wouldn't produce any more hair. I met him back in 1987, and since I was able to see the end result, and talk with him, I started doing studies of molecular biology (not wanting the degree, but the knowledge).
With that, I state here and now, that diabetes has a strong influence within the Lymph system. Cell waste removal is but 1 of 6 defined things that Lymph does, but I've been stating that Lymph is actually performing 7 or 8 things within our bodies, but will not be proven until the science gained within the military is allowed to be practiced in public medicine. The lymph is a big part of hormone regulation, and thought to be managed by our mid-brain, thyroid, glands, etc… (and I mean ETC…). The Lymph system is just as extensive as the nervous system, and is now proven to be much more than just a waste removal system. I believe that there a Myalin strands that interconnect the nervous and lymph systems (Myalin is a sheath membrane that can be used by the nervous system for signal delivery, and I believe a few other things).
What I've been able to theorize about what happened with Rick, is that what caused his diabetes was damage from excess glucose, temporarily caused the Lymph delivery to shred specific cells within the hair folicle, if not the delivery strands Lymph uses to feed the hair folicles (get rid of cell parts that are no longer of use for the rest of the body).
IF I'M WRONG, please state SPECIFICALLY HOW I'm wrong, and what data you have to prove it. Otherwise you'll be just talking out your wrong orafice.
How's that for some knowledge at you? I hope this helps to interpret fully, diabetes issues with hair.
Success to you.

lildixie 2010-09-15 14:33:20 -0500 Report

I noticed my hair falling out soon after I started on Insulin. Everytime I wash my hair, Brush my hair, or just run my fingers through it. My hair has always been thin and now it is thinner and looks very unhealthy. I was diagnosed with Type 1 only a few months ago. I take 35 units on Lantus a day and that is the only medicine I take for Diabetes. I am also taking Synthroid for my thyroid. I am very worried because my eye sight is bad and I never had a problem with my eyes until now. Had my eyes checked just this morning and they said I needed glasses. Which I already knew because I bought reading glasses but, they aren't doing good for me. I stay very stressed out. I try hard not to be but, with 3 kids & the fact that I'm not able to drive, I can't work.

speak up
speak up 2010-09-11 07:04:29 -0500 Report

I have noticed that for the past two weeks my hair has been coming out more, I noticed it back in 2002 when I was told I CHF that I needed to lose weight and when I started shedding the pounds (158 in a year) my hair came out each time I washed it or combed it, after a while it stopped falling out, I was told that my body was reacting to the diet, I kept the pounds off for 8 years but now since I have been told I am a diabetic and the doctor put me on a diet (diabetic diet and exercise) I have seens hair shedding again, I was told I need to lose another 20 pounds (I am 145 pounds now after getting rid of the 158 back in 2002/2003).

angelalock 2010-09-11 12:43:17 -0500 Report

wow!!!! good work, not only in taking all that weight off, but in keeping it off!!!! sometimes it seems harder to keep it off than it is to lose it in the first place.

AuntieBear 2010-09-11 03:50:12 -0500 Report

since becoming a diabetic I found out my thyroid went wonky too. The thyroid med and diabetes meds and blood pressure meds all reek havoc with my hair. PArt of it is from the meds themselves, part from the diseases they are controling and the rest is from the binders that are used to hold meds in pill form. My hair still falls out, is thin and just not as healthy looking as it was before I got sick. Some days I just want to shave my head and invest in lots of hats.

Cheryl*G 2010-09-07 16:08:45 -0500 Report

My hair was reddish brown then it started falling out in large amounts. Went to dr. had tests done found out my thyroid was not working. He put me on meds for my thyroid, my hair is no longer falling out but it is turning dark brown to almost black!

angelalock 2010-09-08 10:40:50 -0500 Report

off the subject of hair loss, but rather hair changes. my sister had an anyrysum when she was 14. they had to shave her head in order to operate. she had always had light blonde, straight hair. it grew back wavy and light brown. that's so weird!

Faygel 2010-08-28 15:31:45 -0500 Report

Try Nioxin 2. I had a massive problem of hair coming out about a year ago. Drain was full of hair every day when I showered/washed hair brush was full of hair when I brushed. A friend of mine, who is not diabetic bought me the Nioxin 2 Shampoo and Conditioner. My hair grew back and I still use this product. You can either buy it on line or get it through beautician who cuts or does whatever, to your hair.
Hope this helps.
Faygel small

cbmorton42 2010-08-28 14:44:36 -0500 Report

My hair got better once I quit taking estrogen and started taking metformin. It is still very fine but is now thick and wavy not straight. Like it much better but I do want white hair but my genes don't seem to allow that.

Mair 2010-08-23 22:36:37 -0500 Report

I have very wavey thick hair and never had problems with it. When I was on Byetta my hair was actually falling out, just alot of strands but enough to leave me very concerned. i called the company and was told that they would document it but declined to comment if other people called in with the same issue. The co. rep asked if I was on insulin at the time and i said yes. Byetta was not studied in clinical trials with insulin, yet many doctors are combining the two. Surprise surprise I go off the byetta and no more hair falling out.

0tina0 2010-08-23 09:48:41 -0500 Report

I am a natural blonde…fine very straight hair. I had 3 surgeries in 2 years and I am now diabetic because they removed my pancreas. I don't know which of these factors is the culprit…but my blonde(slightly grey) hair is now super curly and turning dark…I don't mind the curly, but I really hate the dark roots.

nascarnurse68 2010-08-21 20:16:08 -0500 Report

My hair was thin already and about a month after I was diagnosed and started meds I really noticed it in the tub after a shower. Big concern cause it was thin already. I am taking metformin actos and fenofibrate. My doctor suggested vitamins and fish oil(im already taking it) He also felt some of it might be the stress of the diagnosis. I did add a multi vit and a B complex and it is better.

Beerlilly 2010-08-21 16:33:39 -0500 Report

Since being diagnosed I have not really seen a change in my hair (rather losing or gaining). Though some of my hair does fall out with stress, but I didn't think about contributing my hair loss with diabetes.

Guardianstone 2010-08-19 20:08:22 -0500 Report

I was sure that I posted a reply last night, but none of late last nights posts are there. Trying again.
My hair was always thick. Now I loose fistfull of hair each time I comb or brush. the silver hair framing my face is now white, silver and grey still frames my face, but the frame is bigger. I am watching my hair turn to straw. Of course if it keeps falling out, I'll have to wear a hat. (See photos).

Princess2003 2010-08-19 12:40:30 -0500 Report

My hair has been thinning and falling out too…does anyone have a recommendation besides keeping it short. I have too much of a round face to have short hair.

angelalock 2010-08-20 12:56:20 -0500 Report

hi, princess. my mother is a retired beautician and they swore by a product called fermodyl 07. it's intended use is to volumize, condition and moisturize fine, limp hair, but an added bonus is that it actually causes the growth of new hair. they even used it on cancer patients. i can attest to the fact that it really works. once a week, i shake a vial onto my hair. how much you will need depends on how thick your hair still is and how long it is. your hair should be quite wet, i put on enough that my hair is slowly dripping. then for a few minutes massage your scalp. don't rinse it out. then style as usual…which in my case, isn't much. lol. after a bit i could feel new growth all over my head, especially on top. it feels like a buzz cut under your longer hair. the only problem i had was when the new growth became, oh, i'd say about half an inch long, it caused a cowlick on the back of my head and that left a part in my hair. honey, i did not care. i just arranged my hair around that part and sprayed and sprayed hairspray on it. i'm not sure where you live, but here there is a sally's beauty supply store. there are alot of things in there that you don't have to be licensed to buy and that's one of them. now, i don't have a thick head of hair, again. far far from it. but if i wasn't using the fermodyl i guess i'd be just about bald by now. oh, and the re-growth comes in cycles. every few months i have that little buzz cut of new hair.

marla3300 2010-12-25 02:13:25 -0600 Report

Fermodyl is a great product, but don't use daily, it can cause your hair to become to brittle and have breakage.

sjean 2010-08-19 12:03:21 -0500 Report

I've had diabetes since i was 9 but it wasnt until a couple of years ago that my hair started thinning out.

Brother Raoul
Brother Raoul 2011-10-20 20:13:24 -0500 Report

I'm sorry to hear that. Its always something. Theres a part that says that I wonder what God is thinking. Stay strong.

jaclyncrystal 2010-08-16 14:18:17 -0500 Report

until I came across this question today, I never thought too much about it, having been an "assisted" blonde for too many years to count, in the begining of taking the meds, my hair was sheding everywhere, figured it was just too long and coloured, now I am thinking it might have been all the meds. By the way I now have natural (or as close as I can remember) brown short hair and it does not fall out at all. thanks for answering yet another question I had. This site is amazing as are all of you. hugs jackie

angelalock 2010-08-16 12:42:23 -0500 Report

i have noticed several changes in my hair. first it started falling out. i always had hair so thick that a ponytail holder would only wrap around my ponytail once and wearing it up gave me a killer headache. many clips and the good old banana clips (anyone remember those. lol) wouldn't even close when i tried to use them. now, the ponytail holder wraps around 4 times and no headache in sight. my hair was ridiculously curly all my life. like a very tight perm. people accused me of lying when i told them it was natural. it slowly began to straighten, starting with the new growth at the scalp and eventually going down the strands. i always wished the curls away, not to mention actually 'thinning' my hair using a particular haircut. well, after styling super curly hair for 35 years it's a challange to do anything with poker straight hair. but, of course, even though i lost all the curls it still gets frizzy as all get out just as soon as i step into any kind of heat. i've always had hair a shade lighter than black, so i haven't noticed alot of color change other than my natural highlights disappearing. white scalp showing through dark hair is VERY noticeable!!!! and as an added bonus it is now dull, dull, dull. well, all of it other than the shiny silver strands that are popping up on a regular basis. those just shine and shine, especially when i'm under a bright light. just peachy. lol

newbie51 2010-08-16 11:42:38 -0500 Report

come to think of it, my hair has been coming out alot whenever I brush or comb it. It even falls out on its own. I had never paid any attention to it until I got on here. It is thinning more and more every day.

imsuzie2 2010-08-15 04:05:22 -0500 Report

Isn't it amazing that the majority of the responders are women!

I have always had baby fine hair…when I was in a child development class, they voted that I still had the fine hair a baby is born with…ha, ha, ha, not. Think it got thinner when I started on the meds for ulcerative colitis in '82. Had hand surgery in '97, way before being diagnosed, and bought a wig since I knew my husband would not have the time or patience to blow dry my hair in such a way as to cover the very thin hair over my scalp. Tried that stuff you shake on the head, and it covers well, but when you lay your head down…like at the dentist's office, it leaves the head to the chair back. I just bought my 6th wig and don't worry about it any more. The hair I have has become curly when as a child and teen it was straight, and does seem to grow quickly.

(The guy I dated in high school was balding before 20. His mother once said if we had kids, they would all be bald. Nice…I was 17 when I started dating him)

Lady Taz10
Lady Taz10 2010-08-15 00:04:28 -0500 Report

I have noticed the hair loss in my head. All my edges are almost gone. But the funny thing for me, now Ive noticed the hair growth on my legs. I've never had hair on my legs (only the fuzz to let you know that their is some there.) I'm 33 now and just starting to see long thick strands on my legs. Its tripping me out too.
Now, if I can find a way to glue it onto my head then I'm good. :-)

sugarsugar7 2010-08-12 14:02:57 -0500 Report

I have found diabetes has affected my once thick hiar. Now its thin and sometimes I feel its getting thinner. What I have done is took lots of vitamns. If anyone out there is on insulin, you may want to watch it how it affects the hair and how it depeletes certain vitamins and minerals in your system. I have noticed the change since I have been taking Vitamin C, D, and E. And the B's, B-12 shot, Omega 3's along with Potasium, Maganesium, Folic Acid,

If you go to this site, it will help you to discover products and vitamins to enrich your hair. There is phone number on the site to help you get more information.

Eat lots of good vegetables and fresh fruits. You will see the shine and difference in your hiar. Try to use natural shampoos and conditioners too.

Good luck…

d1956 2010-08-25 14:01:47 -0500 Report

My THICK hair, used to take all day to mostly dry, now is thinning. Confused why but now I wonder if Diabetes is the culpret! Dang, another frustration to deal with.

ann type 2
ann type 2 2010-08-12 12:07:48 -0500 Report

I use to have long thick hair that started to slowly get thinner and thinner to the point where I ended up cutting it neck length to try to make it look thicker. I now have such thinning that a bald spot is present on teh front and back of my head. I also get little sores on my scalp every now and then. I feel so uncomfortable with my appearence that I don't want to leave my house. I went to a Sally's Beauty Salon and bought a powder the color of my hair that I can shake on my head to cover the bald spot.

LauraS 2010-08-12 14:49:00 -0500 Report

I was coloring my hair for years and it started breaking off and falling out. I stopped coloring and I started taking iodine supplements, it made a difference. I also use OJON shampoo and conditioner. It's not cheap but it also makes a big difference. You can get the OJON at ULTA stores if there's one by you. I got the iodine supplements online. I used to get those sores on my head, I think it was from stress, haven't had them in a long time. My hair is very fine and thin, always has been, I use gel and spray and you can see right through to my scalp but it's always been that way so I don't care. Try some good scalp conditioners and hair thickeners. Don't worry about thin spots, I see so many women with that today it's almost common place.

angelalock 2010-08-16 12:01:29 -0500 Report

i, too, have the sores on my head…at the neck line in the back. sometimes they are horrible and itch like crazy!!! sometimes they…dry up, i guess you'd say…but they still itch, itch, itch. my daughter is planning on being a doctor and learned in her diagnostics class in 9th grade that the condition is common in diabetics, but i don't remember what it is called. i have used creams, which leave my hair so greasy, i'd just rather deal with the sores. i have noticed that the better i control my diabetes, the less i have.

bace 2010-08-11 15:34:51 -0500 Report

yes! i pushed some of it off as 'getting older' but yes! since being diagnosed, i am on pills and insulin…my hair has gotten a little thinner, duller…just not the same as it used to be..

sugarsugar7 2010-08-12 14:30:24 -0500 Report

Hi Brace
you are only as old as you feel. Try to look at it in another perspective. Try to take some TLC, and give your body what it needs. Take good amount of fresh vegetables and fruits daily, and take good vitamins. Also check out the site for loosing hair there may be something for you to take…and your hair will return to its natural state. Some times medications can affect the natural protiens and oils we have in our hair.


Hope this helps.

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