Hair Health

Does Ozempic Cause Hair Loss?

Closeup of man holding Ozempic treatment in his hands.

Although Ozempic is primarily prescribed as a medication for diabetes, its effectiveness in weight loss and management has not gone unrecognized. With more and more people using semaglutide drugs, such as Ozempic, as a weight loss solution, there have been increasing reports of hair loss as a side effect.

It is known that sudden and significant weight loss has the potential to affect hair growth, but is the weight loss that comes with taking Ozempic solely to blame for hair loss? Join us as we explore this further and address other potential explanations for the relationship between Ozempic and hair loss.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is the brand name for a drug known as Semaglutide. It belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists, traditionally used to treat type II diabetes mellitus (DM-2). Those who suffer from DM-2 have poor natural control of their blood sugar levels due to a lack of sensitivity to insulin, a hormone that removes glucose from the blood.

Agonist drugs bind to receptors in the body in order to trigger a specific action, and this is exactly how Ozempic works. The drug binds to receptors that trigger processes helping to control blood sugar levels, including the control of insulin secretion.

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Does Ozempic work for weight loss?
More recently, the effectiveness of Ozempic in weight loss and management has been recognized. One study found a mean weight loss of 10.9% from participants’ baseline weight, after 6-months of once weekly semaglutide use (Ghusn et al, 2022). In another study observing longer-term weight loss with semaglutide drugs, participants achieved a 14.9% average weight loss after 68 weeks (Wilding et al, 2021).
Ozempic causes weight loss by slowing down the rate at which food passes through the digestive tract, leaving you feeling fuller for longer, as well as acting on the receptors that control your appetite. It also prevents large spikes in blood sugar which can cause swings of hunger. These effects can be life changing for people who have tried to manage their weight using lifestyle modifications, but haven't reached their weight loss goals.

Is hair loss a side effect of Ozempic?

Hair loss is not formally listed as a side effect by the manufacturer. Having said that, there have been many reports of people experiencing hair loss when taking Ozempic. Why is this the case?

It is likely that hair loss is not a direct result of the drug itself, but instead a result of the rapid weight loss that can come with taking a semaglutide. Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss that has been linked to certain stress triggers to the body, including sudden and rapid weight loss. It can lead to a disruption to the natural growth cycle of hair follicles, causing a higher-than-normal percentage of hair follicles to enter the telogen phase of the growth cycle. In this stage, the follicles are not actively growing and more hairs are pushed into the shedding phase.

Diabetes and hair loss: is there a link?
Another potential explanation for hair loss as a side effect of Ozempic could be owed to the underlying mechanisms of DM-2, rather than Ozempic itself. High blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) experienced by DM-2 patients can cause reduced blood circulation to the scalp, damaging the veins and arteries that supply the hair follicles with the oxygen and nutrients that they need to thrive (Miranda et al, 2016). Disruption to this blood flow can damage the hair follicles, resulting in alterations such as hair thinning, fragility and slowed hair growth.
The common feature of subclinical inflammation observed in both male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) and DM-2, offers another explanation for the link between hair loss and Ozempic. It is thought that inflammation could be a key process involved in the development of androgenetic alopecia (Peyravian et al, 2020). Similarly, increased inflammation caused by high blood sugar levels, is thought to be a major factor involved in the progression DM-2 (Nedosugova et al, 2022).
Nutritional deficiencies, poor diet and hair loss
A lack of appetite, coupled with feeling full for longer, could result in an imbalanced diet and may increase your risk of developing nutritional deficiencies. In fact, once weekly semaglutide treatment has been found to result in a decreased intake of proteins, vitamins and minerals (Kanai et al, 2024). These nutritional components of our diet are essential for the strength and growth of our hair and deficiencies can increase the risk of developing different types of hair loss, including telogen effluvium, alopecia areata and androgenetic alopecia (Guo & Katta, 2017). 

How to stop hair loss from Ozempic

Now that we have identified the possible causes of hair loss with Ozempic, how do we prevent it from happening? Different measures can be taken, depending on the root cause of the hair loss.

If your hair loss is a consequence of DM-2 itself, effective management and control of blood sugar levels through diet, exercise and medication where necessary, are key. Maximizing control of blood sugar levels may help reduce the damage caused to blood vessels that supply the scalp, which could help ensure that hair follicles continue to grow healthy, strong strands of hair. 

Being the most common form of hair loss, it’s likely that some people with DM-2 may also suffer from male pattern baldness, which can be effectively treated using DHT blockers, such as finasteride. We suggest you consult with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis and treatment of hair loss.

Hair loss due to telogen effluvium can often be reversed once the triggering stress has been relieved. When telogen effluvium is seen alongside Ozempic use, the stressor is likely to be rapid weight loss or nutritional deficiencies, so maintaining a balanced diet is essential.

Ozempic and hair loss: Takeaway

It is unlikely that you will experience hair loss as a direct result of taking Ozempic, but that doesn’t discount the risk of hair loss due to secondary factors associated with Ozempic and there are steps you can take to decrease your risk.

If you are experiencing hair loss with Ozempic, we recommend seeking professional medical advice as soon as possible. In the meantime, using products tailored towards hair health and growth, such as XYON Performance Shampoo and Conditioner may be beneficial to help maintain optimal scalp and hair health, especially if you are experiencing androgenetic hair loss.



References List
Guo, E., Rajani, K. (2017). Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatology Practical & Conceptual, 7(1), 1-10.

Ghusn, W., De la Rosa, A., Sacoto, D., Cifuentes, L., Campos, A., Feris, F., Hurtado, M.D., Acosta, A. (2022). Weight loss outcomes associated with semaglutide treatment for patients with overweight or obesity. JAMA Network Open, 5(9)

Kanai, R., Kinoshita, S., Kanbe, I., Sameda, M., Yamaoka, S., Horikawa, O., Watanabe, Y., Tatsuno, I., Shirai, K., Oshiro, T., Saiki, A. (2024). Once-weekly semaglutide administered after laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy: Effects on body weight, glycemic control, and measured nutritional metrics in Japanese patients having both obesity and type 2 diabetes. Obesity Pillars, 9.

Miranda, J.J., Taype-Rondan, A., Tapia, J.C., Gastanadui-Gonzalez, M.G., Roman-Carpio, R. (2016). Hair follicle characteristics as early markers of type 2 diabetes. Medical Hypotheses, 95, 39-44.

Nedosugova, L.V., Markina, Y.V., Bochkareva, L.A., Kuzina, I.A., Petunina, N.A., Yudina, I.Y., Kirichenko, T.V. (2022). Inflammatory mechanisms of diabetes and its vascular complications. Biomedicines, 10(5), 1168.

Peyravian, N., Deo, S., Daunert, S., Jimenez, J.J. (2020). The inflammatory aspect of male and female pattern hair loss. Journal of Inflammation Research, 879-881.

Wilding, J.P.h., Batterham, R.L., Calanna, S., Davies, M., Gaal, L.V., Lingavy, I., McGowan, B.M., Rosenstock, J., Tran, M., Wadden, T.A., Wharton, S., Yokote, K., Zeuthen, N., Kushner, R.F. (2021). Once weekly semaglutide in adults with overweight or obesity. The New England Journal of Medicine, 384(11), 989-1002. 

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