Information and Solutions for Men and Women

Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin Resistance May Cause Hair Loss


When the digestive system breaks down food into glucose and releases it into the bloodstream, the pancreas releases insulin to help our cells process this blood sugar efficiently. Insulin resistance prevents the muscle, fat, and liver cells from interacting with this insulin properly. 112

In turn, the cells don't take in and use all the glucose in the blood. The pancreas keeps producing more insulin in response to this excess blood sugar. Thus, insulin resistance sets the stage for type 2 diabetes112

The effect of this vicious cycle of excess insulin because of excess blood glucose forces that glucose to convert to stored fat. It can also cause hair loss, amongst other undesirable physical effects. 113

Symptoms of Diabetes

In fact, one of the symptoms doctors consider as a sign of diabetes is otherwise unexplained hair loss. Other symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include: 102113

  • Acanthosis nigricans
  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections or slow-healing wounds
  • Increased hunger
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Weight loss, despite increased hunger

Diabetes directly and indirectly causes the thinner hair shafts and diffuse hair loss common in those suffering from it in a number of ways: 1576114

Diabetes Factor

Effect on Hair

Blood Circulation Problems

Question: How can damage to blood vessels cause thinning hair?

Answer: Capillary damage inhibits the growth cycle of hair follicles.


Question: Can dehydration cause thinning hair?

Answer: When combined with stress, dehydrationcan cause hair loss.


Question: How can hormonal changes in diabetes cause thinning hair?

Answer: As a hormonal disease, diabetes affects other hormonal functions (e.g., increases serum insulin and androgen levels). In turn, these hormonal changes can cause androgenetic hair loss.

Increased Risk of Infection

Question: Can changes in the immune system cause thinning hair?

Answer: Diabetics have lowered immunity and are more susceptible to bacterial, yeast, and fungal infections, including those of the scalp that can cause hair loss.


Question: Can stress from diabetes cause thinning hair?

Answer: Having and dealing with diabetes is stressful; stress and anxiety can cause or exacerbate hair loss.

Treatment Drugs

Question: Can diabetes drugs cause thinning hair?

Answer: Medications used to treat diabetes can cause telogen effluvium type of hair loss.

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In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces little or no insulin. 112
A skin disorder in which dark patches of skin (sometimes with a ‘velvety’ thickness), especially in the neck, groin and under the arms; common in people with disorders such as obesity, PCOS, and diabetes. 102